4 But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
4 But [strong contrast] what does the divine response say to him?
God made it abundantly clear to Elijah that he was not the last man standing in Israel. Paul quoted 1 Kings 19:18 in the next phrase to prove the point.
The words “divine response” refer to a judicial, decisive decision for Elijah. God warned him with a special oracle.
The situation of Elijah’s day was similar to Paul’s day. The nation in Elijah’s day had turned en masse from God to idols. Most Israelites in Paul’s day also had rejected their Messiah. In both cases there were those who embraced God’s message for them.
“I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who [such as] have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
God’s saying “I have reserved for Myself” is a reference to remnant thinking. These are people God reserved for Himself. This must have been a shock to Elijah, who was under the delusion that he was the only person left in Israel who believed in the true God.
God’s point is that He was not limited to one finite prophet but that He had 7,000 men who did not bow to false doctrine (1 Kg 19:16). By analogy the 7,000 men were a godly remnant, to which He refers later in the chapter. Preservation of the remnant was God’s work.
To bow the knee is to submit to Baal (Canaanite deities). Baal worship was unashamed sex worship. The belief was that participation in sexual prostitution of Baal worship insured materialistic success. Sex with a Baal prostitute ensured prosperous harvests just as sex produces babies.
Christians are not a majority of one.
There are times we think that we are all alone when we take a stand for what is right. Although that may be what our emotions tell us, it is not true from God’s viewpoint. We can sulk and feel sorry for ourselves but that does no good; it has no practical benefit to ourselves or anyone else.
Does God have to ask us the question, “What are you doing here?” Whenever we put ourselves into a funk, we need to ask ourselves what God thinks of this attitude. An attitude of occupation with calamity does not please God. It does not trust Him to work in the situation.
There are many Christians who are true to God and His Word. Often these believers are not known to the general Christian populace. There are times when we think that nothing is happening for God in the world, but He has unsung believers of whom the media is unaware. This happened during the cold war when most of us thought there were not many Christians in the Soviet Union and China. But, lo and behold, God was at work in those areas of the world, winning many to Himself.
Despite theological erosion of evangelicals in Europe and North America, God has believers in those countries and other parts of the world who are true to Scriptures. As Baal religion grew like a cancer in Israel, so there are cancerous elements in the evangelical community today—but God has not relinquished His sovereign control in the situation. He always preserves for Himself a remnant of people who hold to the integrity of Scripture.