There are times when reason escapes me while Bible reading. Elijah’s experience after Mount Carmel is one of those times. Why the repititive question and answer? God’s acceptance of the offering after priests of Ba’al failed to elicit any response from their God has the country responding:
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. (1 Kings 18:39 KJV)
Elijah returned rain to the land, and Ahab continued as king. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, until Jezebel made her commitment to see to Elijah’s death. Believing her, he ran.
Do we do the same thing? We have a ‘mountain top’ experience, feel so close to God – then a bit of hatefulness drops us into a valley of despair as we watch those who wish to harm us continue happily on their way – often, interfering in ours.
There is only a difference in location in verses 1 King 19:9 and 13 where God asks: What doest thou here, Elijah?
His answers in verses 10 and 14 are virtually the same: And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.(1 Kings 19:10 KJV)
I don’t think that was the right answer. That was an explanation of what he had done, a complaint about how things were going, an excuse for being away from his job, but Elijah did not explain what he was doing. He couldn’t, for he was not doing anything. I’ve been there – oh, no one was seeking my life to take it away, but they took pieces of it. A bit of time here for work, a bit of time there for a child’s activity, a bit of time over here for an obligation. They sought my time, they took it away – and I allowed it. Why is it that church activities are the first to go?
Elijah was wrong, too, when he said I, even I only, am left. Wrong!
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18 KJV)
We’re told in the next chapter just who these seven thousand people were: Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. (1 Kings 20:15 KJV)
Nope. Elijah was not alone. And, neither am I.