This past Sunday, in the message of the morning, the Pastor was in the book of I Kings, looking at the story of Elijah when he’s in the wilderness. What stuck with me, when looking at this passage again, was the whole part of the passage where God tells Elijah just how many people He had for himself:
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. – I Kings 19:18
I had two very different thoughts about this one verse.
7,000 People? What Was God up to?
Elijah had just come off Mount Caramel. He had called down fire from Heaven. He had called forth rain after three years of drought. He must have thought he was pretty big stuff. He thought he was the only one that was taking a stand for God—the previous verses say so.
Often we get caught up in wanting to see the big stuff. It’s the skeptic’s constant call, ‘Show me the miracle!” And yet the Lord’s comment to Elijah was, “There are 7,000 out there that I’m using as a testimony to Ahab. My ways are not your ways, and though I used you mightily, I’m using them as well.”
We may think that we’re nothing big or important. That we are small and not some big miracle, and yet we’re involved in His master plan (if we’re willing) to bring souls to Himself. That’s a pretty big thing. Any time a sinner comes to Christ it’s a big miracle!
God’s Plans Are Bigger Than Ours
We would all like to have the power of Elijah. I, for one, would love to be able to call down fire when a skeptic complained that there was no God. But the lesson from Elijah is that we are all part of a master plan—the 7,000 were no less important than the guy that brought down fire and ate food from ravens.
God has a plan and is at work in His world in His ways. They’re not always our ways. We’d like God to convince people—to write out “I’m here” in the sky, and to make the whole witnessing thing easier for us.
And yet He called us to deliver His Gospel. He chose people that were weak to show Himself strong. He wants people to choose Him, rather than be compelled to follow Him. And He chooses to use whom He wants, when He wants, in the way that He wants.
It’s like me and the President of the United States. I’ve never seen the man, I didn’t go to his Inauguration, so for all intents and purposes I could live in denial that he really is the President1. I could say that he should actually appear at my house, and show me the real Presidential seal—because all of the things I see on the television could be faked.
It’d be absurd, and President Obama would be right to ignore me. But somehow, when it comes to skepticism, and to the Bible, it’s a great logical point to consider that the God of the Universe should spend His time proving to His creation that He exists.
And yet, His works and His people provide testimony according to His plan—His plan, not ours.
- Much like some deny 9-11 was a Muslim fundamentalist plot or the lunar landing.