Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Seven Thousand Unbending Knees

And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." (Romans 11:4).

Jezebel. Her name lives on in infamy through the ages. During her reign with Ahab, her week-kneed husband, the nation of Israel turned far from God and became filled with unimaginable decadence. Jezebel herself led the campaign to murder all the prophets of God, seeking to silence their voices and dismiss their moral mandates. She instituted idol worship throughout the land, and celebrated every form of sexual perversion.

Elijah. His name stands eternal in the halls of honor -- on earth, and in heaven. He was a fearless reformer who was mighty in prayer . He rebuked kings, shut the heavens from giving rain, befriended Gentiles, and called fire from heaven to fall upon the false prophets of Baal.

These two polar figures live at the same time in history, and their embattled relationship with each other was the stuff of daily news. It was the epic struggle between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. The wicked Queen held political power; Elijah carried moral authority, and walked in spiritual power. And when the smoke cleared in the aftermath of their tumultuous years, Jezebel was eaten by wild dogs and passed as dung in the open fields; while Elijah was spirited to heaven in a chariot of fire.

But he did have some bad days. Days when doubts assailed him, and loneliness overtook him. Days when it seemed as if no one else even cared. Elijah was a man familiar with the depression that often follows successful ministry.

We find him alone in a cave, where he has fled from Jezebel in a moment of weakness and fear. We hear his honest complaint to the Lord, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." (vs.14).

Then, in a still small voice, God answered the wavering prophet, "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal."

Seven thousand! Any way you look at it, that's a mighty host. Especially to a man who thought that he was the only one. Elijah had no idea how much his courage, faithfulness and public action had influenced a multitude, who even now were standing their ground, ready to turn the tide back to truth and goodness.

And is it not even the same today? Despite the wholesale cave-in to immorality, greed, perversion, hatred and deceit -- the Lord has yet reserved unto Himself "seven thousand" unbending knees!

Truth will win the battle, and when the smoke clears -- will we see you as one who is still standing? One who did not bend the knee to Baal? Surely your answer is a resounding, "YES!!!"

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