Unlimited: The Faithful Seven Thousand
May 10, 2023 285
Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (Romans 11:2b–4).
Paul is pointing out that the rejection of the Jewish nation of God in this present day was but a magnification of their rejection that had been evident throughout their history. Yet God has always had his faithful people among the Jews.
To illustrate this, the apostle Paul draws on the experience of Elijah. After his great victory on Mt Carmel, Queen Jezebel set out to hunt Elijah down to kill him, and the prophet ran in fear for his life (1 Kings 19:3.) Eventually he went to a cave, and there the Lord appeared to him.
He still had seven thousand people in Israel who were still faithful to him.
There, Elijah argued with God that there was no more point in persisting with Israel. Elijah told God that he was the only one left, and that he had no more will to go on (v.14.)
But God’s answer to Elijah was that he still had seven thousand people in Israel who were still faithful to him. The number seven in Scripture represents God’s perfect and completed work. The number 1,000 represents a large number. These are the ones who, in Paul’s argument, are the remnant who are not rejected, and who are saved. They could be a very large number. However, they are, as in the story of Elijah, a “hidden” or “spiritual” people, not directly evident in human reckoning.
As Elijah considered the state of Israel, and his own ministry, he was depressed and asked the Lord to take away his life (1 Kings 19:4.) Have you ever been discouraged as you considered the church and your role in it? What encouragement can you find in the story of Elijah?