Elijah Flees Before Jezebel

1 Kings

Elijah Flees Before Jezebel

October 22nd, 1961 @ 7:30 PM

1 Kings 19:1-18

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 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. And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because 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. And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 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.
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ELIJAH FLEES BEFORE JEZEBEL

Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Kings 19:1-18

10-22-61    7:30 p.m.

 

 

In your Bible turn to 1 Kings chapter 19.  We shall read together the first eight verses, and the title of the sermon is Elijah Flees Before Jezebel.  First Kings 19, and we shall read together the first eight verses.  All of us sharing our Bibles together, all of us reading together, 1 Kings chapter 19, the first eight verses, now reading together from the Book:

 

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.

Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.

And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baking on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head.  And he did eat and drink, and laid down again.

And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

 

The sermon shall follow through the story and the admonition of God in the whole chapter.

In a drenching rain, in the storm that was God’s answer to Elijah’s prayer, Ahab, in his chariot and Elijah with the Spirit of the Lord upon him entered through the gates of Jezreel.  And Elijah went somewhere to lodge in some humble place, and Ahab went into the palace and was greeted by his queen and wife, Jezebel.  As he entered, I suppose some kind of a colloquy like this occurred between them.  When Jezebel looks upon Ahab, he is drenched with the rain and the storm. 

And she says, "The drought is ended.  Surely, Baal has answered the prayer of his prophets."   And Ahab, knowing what had happened on the top of Mount Carmel, demurs.  "Oh," he said, "the rain has come, and the drought has ended, but I don’t know about those prophets of Baal."

"What do you mean," says Jezebel, "you don’t know about my prophets? Why, look at this rain.  Is it not an answer to their prayers?"

"No," said Ahab, "I am afraid not."  And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and withal how he had slain her prophets with the edge of the sword.  And as he related that story that happened on the top of Mount Carmel Jezebel began to burn with an implacable fury, like a tigress robbed of her whelps.

Isn’t that an amazing thing?  Why, one of the most startling, miraculous things that ever happened in the story of God’s dealing with mankind is the answer by fire on the top of Mount Carmel.  You would have thought that Jezebel would have been impressed with that demonstration of the power and presence of Jehovah God.  And if not impressed with the fire that fell from glory and from heaven and consumed the very wood and the stones and the ground and the dust and the trenches filled with water, you would have thought if she was not impressed with those things, then surely she would have been impressed with the answer of Elijah’s prayer, that it rained on the earth.

But, that’s a strange thing.  Miracles have nothing to do with a man’s belief in God.  Miracles were wrought in the presence of the Pharisees, and they didn’t believe, and in the presence of the Sadducees, and they were just hardened.  Any time you think that an unbelieving man would be converted by some great demonstration of the miraculous power and presence of God, you are mistaken!  For faith is a thing of the soul and of the heart, and not of a miraculous demonstration!  And if a man is not going to believe, he is not going to believe, no matter what God does!

Do you remember the story of the rich man, Dives, down there burning in hell?  And he said: "O Father Abraham, I would not believe in my lifetime and I would not repent in my lifetime, but if you would raise Lazarus from the dead and send him back to my father’s house, they would believe" [Luke 16:27-28].  Do you know that great miracle of a man being raised from the dead and testifying to them of that terrible place?  Remember what Father Abraham said. He said, "They have the Book.  They have Moses and the prophets.  They have the testimony of God."  And if a man won’t believe and be converted by the testimony of God, "neither would a man believe though one was raised from the dead" [Luke 16:29-31].  That is an astonishing thing, isn’t it?

And when Ahab told Jezebel all the things that happened on the top of Mount Carmel, you would have thought that Jezebel would have said, "Well, Ahab, my husband and my king, we’ve been mistaken.  God is not Baal and Baal is no god. Jehovah is God!  And let us adore Him and worship Him!"  Instead of that, what happened on the top of Mount Carmel made that furious woman burn in indignation and anger, and she called one of her servants and said, "You go find Elijah in the dead of the night wherever he is, and you tell him, ‘God slay me, if by this time tomorrow, you are not dead, like those prophets of Baal.’"  

Then we come to Elijah.  What will Elijah do in the presence of this ferocious lioness?  What will he do in the presence of this furious woman?  Well, I know what he’ll do.  Elijah stood in the presence of Ahab, fearless and unafraid, and Elijah stood in the presence of the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal, fearless and unafraid.  That is what he did yesterday on the top of Mount Carmel.  I know what Elijah will do.  I know what he did on a tomorrow when Ahaziah – Jezebel’s son, the new king, in the first chapter of 2 Kings – when Ahaziah the king sent to take Elijah; Elijah called fire down from heaven on the messengers and burned them to a cinder, to a crisp [2 Kings 1:10].

I know what Elijah will do.  He will stand up there to her face, and he will say, "You old hussy, you!  You low down child of the devil, you!  You female blasphemer, you!"   I know what Elijah will do; that is what he will do.  No woman’s going to scare Elijah, no, sir!  Elijah’s not afraid of all the devils in hell.  He is not afraid of all that Satan himself and his hosts can do. I know what Elijah will do.  He will look that woman in the face and say, "You child of the devil, listen to the word of God: ‘Thus saith the Lord God!’"  That’s what Elijah’s going to do.

Law me alive! I can’t imagine it.  I can’t imagine it.  And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life in the cover of the night, in the drenching storm and the rain, made his way clear across Samaria and didn’t stop there.  And as he ran for his life from that woman, Jezebel, he made his way clear across the country of Judah and didn’t stop there.  And after he had passed the lands of Judah, he went way down into the South Negev, where the pasture lands of Palestine fade into the dreary somberness of the Arabian desert, and his spirit could not even brook the presence of his servant, and leaving his servant at Beer-sheba, he plunged out into the burning sands under the blistering skies and found the shade of a juniper shrub, and crawling beneath it,  asked God that he might die, so demoralized and so undone by the mere threatening of that woman, Jezebel! [1 Kings 19:3-4].

If I go to heaven, I want to see what Moses looks like and Elijah looks like; but if I don’t make it, I want to see what that woman looks like.  Man, oh man!  Such a woman; I can’t imagine it, I can’t imagine it!  That’s inconceivable!  He can beard the lion to his face, and walk in a den absolutely unafraid, courageous, mighty in the Lord.  And before that woman, Jezebel, he turns to water and seeks to hide himself in the sinking sand. I can’t imagine it!  And he prayed that he might die.  And when he saw that Jezebel; you know, it’s a funny thing, what happens to a fellow when he gets his eye off of God.  And the Book said, "When he saw the power of God and when he felt the demonstration of the presence of God," I don’t know what might have happened; but, when he saw Jezebel,.Remember that story about Simon Peter walking on the water? "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water."  The Lord said, "Come."  God’s delighted in any kind of a great faith.  "Come," He said.  He climbed over the side of the boat and on that furious stormy sea began to walk to Jesus on the water.  And as long as he kept his eye on the Lord, he walked on the surface of the deep.  Then the Book says, and Simon Peter began to look at the wind and the waves around him, and he was afraid and began to sink [Matthew 14:26-31].  Isn’t that a strange thing?  As long as you keep your eye upon God, you’re doing all right.  As long as you trust in Him, you are just doing great.  As long as your eye is fixed on Jesus, man, there is nobody can trouble you!  But then, you get to looking at yourself.

And they come over there to my study all the time, and they say to me, "Preacher, I don’t think I’ve been saved. I’ve been probing myself.  I don’t think I repented right, and I don’t think I believed right, and I don’t think I was saved right."  And I say, "Listen, as long as you’re looking at yourself, you are never going to be right!"  Man, there is nobody that can pray as he ought to pray, believe as he ought to believe, repent as he ought to repent, do as he ought to do.  And whenever you start looking at yourself, you are going to be discouraged because we are mighty poor specimens, all of us!  The thing to do to live triumphantly and victoriously is to lift up your eyes out of yourself and away from yourself, and quit thinking about yourself, and look to Jesus!  I tell you I could cure all of the sick heads and all of the psychiatrical patients in this world if I were able to get them to quit thinking about themselves, and to start looking to God, and to fix their gaze and their love and their devotion upon Jesus.  Quit looking at yourself and look to the Lord.  We may not be very much, but He is all right!

And that was the way with Elijah, and when he saw that woman Jezebel, and he quit looking at God, it scared him to death!  And he went for his life and found a shrub of a juniper tree, and prayed that he might die.   Well, it is the most interesting thing that happened.  You know when the Lord God looked down from heaven, even in the nighttime, and then finally under the blistering sun of the desert, He was just watching Elijah go. 

You know, it is a funny thing when a man thinks he is going to get away from God.  That is what Jonah did [Jonah 1:1-11].  He went down to the sea, and bought him a ticket to a place where there "weren’t no God" because God is in this direction, and he is going in that direction.  And so, Jonah got him a ticket to a place where God wasn’t, and he got in that ship where God didn’t know he was going to crawl.  And he went down there in the hole where God couldn’t see.  And that ship raised anchor and took off for the far parts on the other side of the civilized world.

And Jonah thought, and "I am away from God, and He doesn’t know where I am, and I am fleeing, and He will never find me!"  And the Lord God was a-lookin’ at Jonah as he walked down there to the sea, and God was a-lookin’ at Jonah as he bought that ticket, and He was a-lookin’ at Jonah as he climbed on that ship, and He was a-lookin’ at Jonah as he went down in that hole, and He was a-lookin’ at Jonah as that ship raised anchor and went out into the deep.  And then the Lord crooked just one of His little fingers, and the Lord said to one of His four winds, "Come here.  Come here."  And one of the four winds came to the Lord God.  And the Lord God pointed down there to that little ship, and on the inside of that ship, little Jonah.  And the Lord said to one of His four winds: "See that ship?  See, that ship has got Jonah on the inside.  Go after him, and when you get a hold of him, shake him.  Shake him real good."   And one of those four winds went out there into the deep and got ahold of that ship and just shook it like a cat shakes a little mouse.  And all those folks gathered around and said, "What’s the matter, what’s the matter?"  Law me!  Don’t ever think you are going to get away from God.  Don’t ever think you are going to do it. Well, that was the Lord as He followed Jonah.  But He is a marvelous and a sympathetic and a loving Father. 

Every step Elijah took on the way, the Lord was moved in compassion for him.  Every step of his brokenhearted journey, the heart of the Lord went out to him.  And under the shade of that little juniper shrub, out of weariness for the long and desperate flight, he just collapsed into a deep and heavy slumber [1 Kings 19:4].

And the Lord called one of His angels and said, "See him down there, My prophet, so discouraged and weary, so brokenhearted and disappointed?  Come here, you take this," and gave in the hands of the angel cakes to eat.  "And you take this," and the Lord, out of the river of God, had dipped up water and put it in a cruse and put it in the angel’s hand and said, "Take it down there to Elijah."

Isn’t that an amazing thing and a wonderful thing?  When you read about Tishbe, no angel there; when you read about Samaria, no angels there; when you read about Cherith, no angel there; read about Zarephath, no angel there; read about Carmel, no angel there.  Read about Elijah under a juniper tree, asking to die, an angel there.  Isn’t that remarkable?  An angel there!

Ah, how many of us are like that?  We suppose that when we are strong in the faith and courageous before false prophets, and we are bearding Ahab to his face, we think God loves us, then and He is with us.  And then when we get blue and discouraged, well, we think God doesn’t care for us any longer. And you know a lot of people are that way about their salvation.  When they are up and shouting and happy and glad and the sky is rosy and their souls are filled, they think, "Oh, we’re saved, God loves us."  And when we get blue and discouraged and we can’t hear nobody pray, well, then, we think we’ve lost our salvation, and the Lord doesn’t care for us, and He doesn’t love us any more.

Why, it is just the opposite.  It is when you are down, and when you are blue, and when you are discouraged, and when you are weary in body and soul that God loves you the most and the best; and draws near the sweetest and the precious-est.

So He sent for one of His angels, and He said "Here, take this and put in his hand cakes, and here, take this, and put in his hands water from the river of God."  And said: "Take it down there to My prophet."  And the angel went down and touched Elijah on the shoulder and said, "Arise.  Arise" [1 Kings 19:5].  And Elijah ate and drank, and he was so tired, and he was so weary, and he was so broken that after he had eaten, like a child that cannot stay awake at the table, he just fell into a deep slumber again.

And God sent for His angel a second time and said, "Take it down there and feed My servant and give him water to drink."  Isn’t that a remarkable thing? He had drunk water from the Brook Cherith, but he had never drunk water from the river of God brought by angel hands.  Isn’t that remarkable?  He had eaten of the meal and of the cakes made out of the widow’s poor reserve, in Zarephath, multiplying the three years of the drought, but he had never eaten before cakes pressed by angel hands.  Isn’t that remarkable?  And the Lord saw him down there and the Lord took care of him [1 Kings 19:6-7].

Now, I want you to look at another thing here.  It was a whim.  It was a whim of Elijah to go clear down there to Horeb.  God never said go down to Horeb.  God never sent him down there to Sinai.  It was just one of his whims, just running away.  But the Lord, in His mercy, helped him in his whim.  Did you ever think about that?  There’s a whole lot of things that God helps you in that are just your own ideas.  God never thought them up, nor did He particularly plan them.  It is just something that you wanted to do, yet the Lord is so good and so gracious that He helps you in what you want to do.

So Elijah here, running away to Horeb; God helps him.  And in the strength of that food, angel’s food, forty days, forty nights, he made the journey and finally came in the place that – of all the spots in this earth – is a symbol of the presence and the power of the living God [1 Kings 19:8].  There the bush burned unconsumed.  There the mountain turned to flaming fire as God came down, and there Moses spake to God face to face, forty days and forty nights.  There the law was given.  And there the pattern of the tabernacle was displayed for Moses to see.  And in that sacred place, Elijah finally arrives.

And when he came to Sinai, he found a cave and lodged there.  And the word of the Lord came to Elijah, like the word of the Lord came to him at Tishbe and sent him to Samaria; and the word of the Lord came to Samaria and sent him to Cherith; and the Word of the Lord came to Elijah at Cherith and sent him to Zarephath; and the word of the Lord came to Elijah at Zarephath and sent him to show himself before Ahab; and the word of the Lord came to Elijah in that cave on Mount Sinai.

But how different here. The Lord says, "Elijah, what doest thou here? [1 Kings 19:9].    Here, I never said anything about Horeb. I never mentioned Sinai.  Elijah, I sent you to Ahab and to Samaria and to Jezreel.  I sent you to represent Me before the seven thousand that had not bowed the knee.  Elijah, what doest thou here?"  Here?  And, Elijah wouldn’t reply. And had he told the Lord honestly, Elijah would have said, "Well, I was afraid.  And I ran away from the face of that woman, Jezebel!"  But he didn’t say that.   He didn’t tell God he was ashamed.  And then he spoke about his zeal for the house of the Lord.  And then he spoke about the great depravity that had over swept Israel.  And then he spoke about his isolation as a prophet for God [1 Kings 19:10].  But he never answered God; he was running away.  And he didn’t want to face the truth, that he’d lost his courage in the presence of the queen of Ahab.

You see, now you look at this.  Listen to this: you see, Elijah had it in his head – now, you listen to this – if we’ll ever learn this it will help us more in our work for God than anything you will find in the Bible.  Are you listening?  Elijah had it in his head that the only way God could work and the only way the world could be saved was by some kind of a miraculous, cataclysmic, catastrophic intervention, as on the top of Mount Carmel!  That’s what he had in his head.  That’s what Elijah thought.  And after he had gone through that marvelous, miraculous, interposition of God on the top of Mount Carmel when God answered by fire and by water, why, Elijah thought the kingdom has come and the whole victory for God’s been won!  In the power and under the unction of that great, great victory, he girded up his loins and ran in the front of chariot of Ahab eighteen miles, from Carmel to Jezreel.  Now, how do I know that?  Because, when he sat out under that juniper tree, he said, "Lord let me die.  It is enough, for I am not better than my fathers."

You see Elijah thought that this was a thing the world had never seen, and he was doing a thing for God that could never and never would be equalled.  And when he found that those great catastrophic, cataclysmic, miraculous interventions of God didn’t do any more to change people than anything else that he’d ever heard about or read about, he said, "Lord, I am no better than they are.  Whatever they have done before, I cannot even do.  I am no better than they are, no more victorious.  Lord, let me die.  Let me die."  All right, God is going to teach Elijah a lesson.  And that is the lesson we want to learn tonight. 

And God said, "Elijah, go for it.  Stand on the summit of Sinai at the front of your cave and watch."  So Elijah goes forth upon the mount before the Lord, and behold, the Lord passed by.  And there was a great wind, and the tornado ripped the rocks and the pieces rolled down into the valley below.  And the great hurricane and the great tornado and the great storm shook that mountain from side-to-side!  And the Lord wasn’t in the wind.   Then as Elijah stood in the protection of his cave, there was a great earthquake, and the Lord made that whole mountain rock from side-to-side, and the rocks rent, and the great crevices yawned.  And the Lord wasn’t in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake, there was a great fire, and the heavens turned to fury, and the top of the mount flamed with a burning.  And the Lord wasn’t in the fire.  After the wind and the earthquake and the fire, there was a still, small voice [1 Kings 19:11-13].  You see, Elijah had it in his head that the only way God moved and the only way God worked was in some kind of a great cataclysmic, catastrophic, violent demonstration, such as he had witnessed on the top of Mount Carmel. 

And God is going to teach Elijah that the Lord works in other ways than in miraculous and catastrophic forms: if not in the strong wind, then in the gentle zephyr; if not in the great earthquake, then in a heartbreak; if not in the furious fire, then in the soft days of a summertime; if not in great thunder, then in the still, small voice; if not in the great crowd, then in a lonely silent and sobbing soul; if not in a great convocation, then in an isolated disciple who pleads and agonizes before God in secret.

For you see, Elijah thought the only way that idolatry could be swept from the land was by a great wind; the only way there could be a great moral reformation in the land was by a great earthquake; the only way there could be a cleansing of the people was by a baptism of fire from heaven!  It never occurred to him that God could work and does work in simple and quiet and humble and small ways.  After the wind and after the earthquake and after the fire, there was a still, small voice, so very still and so very small, and God spoke in the quietness of the voice.

You know, nature itself rebukes us in our persuasion that that’ the only thing by which God can work is some kind of a miraculous, catastrophic, cataclysmic, interposition from heaven.  Nature itself rebukes us.  Did you ever hear the great moving of the planetary system around their sun?  It is absolutely silent, and you are unconscious of it.  But the untold, uncounted omnipotence of God that swings these spheres in their orbits around their suns is immeasurable!  But I’s quiet and it goes on all the time, and we are not even cognizant of it.

Did you ever hear the dew distill in the early twilight and the evening?  Did you?  Absolutely silent.  Did you ever hear the fury or the fire of a sunrise?  So quiet, so gentle and so soft, but without it, the earth would die.  And did you know there are great, great cosmic forces all around us by day and by night?  The very creative power of the Omnipotent, and we’re absolutely unconscious of them.  Then, only in the last few years that we’ve even learned of these ether waves that carry radio and television and a thousand other things that we have yet to discover, and they’re around us all the time, and you don’t even know it!

Why, the very life of our Lord Jesus is a rebuke to us when we are persuaded the only way to do a great work for God is to do it cataclysmically and catastrophically.  When they were looking for Jesus to arise as the true Messiah and to take arms against the Roman Empire and to lead them into victory, at that very minute the Book says, "And it shall come to pass in His life, His voice will not be raised in the streets, and He will not cry, and a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoking flax he will not quench" [Matthew 12:19-20].  For God’s answer to the great illimitable need in the earth was a Baby born in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem [Matthew 1:21-23].  And the end of His life was to die on a cross [Matthew 27:32-50].  And the great triumphant affirmation of the favor of God upon Him was a resurrection that nobody saw, until He made Himself visible and introduced Himself just to a few friends, His disciples [Matthew 28:1-10].  That is God’s way.

Whenever you think that we are going to do God’s work by some of these miraculous, catastrophic, cataclysmic interventions, you’re going to be like Elijah and be so disappointed and so heartbroken, you’ll crawl under the shrub of a juniper tree yourself and pray that you might die.  "Lord, Lord, here I was: I stood and preached that great sermon and nothing happened.  Here I was: I did that great work and nothing happened.  And here I was: I dedicated myself to a miraculous thing from heaven and nothing happened."

Well, God works in those humble and gentle ways: teaching a little class of boys, going out here and knocking at the door, offering an invitation to the services, kneeling down by the side of a bed and praying, bowing your head sometimes in tears and in disappointment.  God works in those silent, unseen and mysterious ways far more than in the wind, far more than in the earthquake, far more than in the fire – these humble, gentle ministries, giving ourselves to the Lord.

Now when the Lord spake unto him in the still, small voice, what did God tell him?  O, listen!  It will do your soul good, do your heart good: "Elijah, you just got through telling Me that you were the only one in Israel, and that you were the only prophet in the land, and that you were the only one that loved My name, and you were the only one that had not bowed down your knee to Baal.  You just got through telling Me that.  Listen, Elijah," said God in that still, small voice. "Listen, Elijah.  I have left for Me, I have reserved for me seven thousand in Israel which have not bowed the knee to Baal and which have not kissed his hand, seven thousand, and you just got through telling me you were by yourself" [1 Kings 19:18].

I want us to stop and think just for a moment, do your heart good to do it, about that seven thousand. I want you to think about them.  Do you know their names?  No.  Do you know anything about their history?  No.  Do you know anything to tell us about them?  Not a thing.  Not a thing. They were humble.  They were unknown.  They were obscure.  I don’t guess King Ahab knew about them or he would have slain them.  And I know Jezebel didn’t know about them, or she would have harried them out of the land.   There were seven thousand there in Israel that were absolutely unknown.  They were in the little village.  They were there by the city wall.  There was one keeping a vineyard.  There was one herding a few sheep.  There was one toiling in a little field.

The only way you could have found them out was that they refused to share in the foul and dirty and iniquitous rites by which they worshipped the infamous god, Baal.  That’s the only way you would have ever known it.  But had you followed those seven thousand humble obscure saints of Jesus, you would have found them maybe in the evening reading a book and kneeling in prayer and calling on the name of God.  Maybe you would have seen them agonize, as they wept over the depravity of the land.  And the dear Lord looked down from heaven, and He harkened and heard what they said and how they prayed.  And the Lord caused the book of remembrance to be written before Him.  How do you know that, preacher?  Because He counted them!  He knew exactly how many there were, exactly!  Just like a shepherd counting sheep: call them by name as they enter into the fold.  So, the Lord God looked down from heaven, and He knew everyone of them.  He added them up.  He counted them out.  These belong to Me, and these belong to Me, and these are Mine.

Now, I want you to look at Elijah.  Elijah thought, and ah!  Listen to this: Elijah thought, and it was the same thing we were preaching about awhile ago – Elijah thought the only time he was doing good for God was when he was bearding Ahab to his face, or when he was calling on God to send fire down on top of Mount Carmel, or when the deluge came from above – that is what Elijah thought, that is the only time he is doing good for God.  He had no idea, this man Elijah, he had no idea, this prophet, how the seven thousand were encouraged, just by his walking through the land or just by his standing up and naming the name of Jehovah God.

You don’t know what good you do just by coming to church on Sunday morning.  You don’t know what good you do just by carrying a Bible under your arm.  You don’t know what good you do just by smiling at a neighbor and inviting him to the house of the Lord.  You don’t know what good you do in those humble and sweet and precious ministries, just serving God and living for Him.

Man, you don’t have to stand on the top of Mount Carmel and pray down fire from God.  Maybe God sometimes, or one time, intervenes like that.  But most of the times it will not be by the wind, and it will not be by the fury of the earthquake, and not be by the flaming fire, but it will be in the still, small voice, a humble ministry, such as you and I are able to dedicate to the Lord, and the Lord blesses us, and God sanctifies us, and God hallows it.  People that love Jesus, when they see you, faithful and noble and dedicated, they’re enheartened, and they are encouraged.  Out of the testimony of your life and the devotion of your spirit, there will be somebody who will take courage and follow after in the way.

Oh, how blessed, how blessed!  And what a lesson did God teach Elijah.  And the next time I stand here and preach, we’re going to pick up where we left off tonight.  And the Lord said to Elijah, "Go back.  Go back.  Got work to do.  Go back.  Go and return, and on your way, anoint Hazae."  And we’re going to preach about him, and anoint Jehu," and we are going to preach about him.  "And, anoint Elisha" [1 Kings 19:15-17], and we are going to preach about him.  "Elijah, there is work to do.  There is work to do.  Go back, Elijah.  Go back." And the prophet of God turns to those humble ministries that are filled with the Spirit of heaven, even though they are quiet and unobtrusive: just listening to the still, small voice of Jehovah God.

And that’s the appeal to your heart tonight, not that we have a demonstration of fire; if a man won’t believe, neither would he be persuaded, though we had a demonstration by fire.  And not that we have a great earthquake and not that we have a great fury of a storm, for when a man turns to God, it is in stillness of his soul that he makes the decision.  And that is the appeal of the Holy Spirit to your heart tonight.

While we sing this song of appeal and while our people prayerfully enter into this hour of invitation, tonight, to give your heart to Jesus, would you come and give the preacher your hand?  Tonight, to put your life with God’s band and God’s congregation and God’s marching army, would you come and stand by the side of the preacher, down here at the front?  If you are in the balcony, down one of these stairways, if you are on the lower floor, into the aisle and here to the front and give the pastor your hand: "Preacher, I give you my hand.  I have given my heart to God."  Or, "Pastor, I give you my hand.  We want to put our lives in the circle of the fellowship of this precious congregation."

As God shall say the word, open the door and lead in the way, would you make it tonight?  Does the Lord call you into a special ministry?  Come tonight. Does the Lord make a special appeal that you dedicate your life to Him?  Come tonight.  As the Spirit of intercession and appeal, as the moving heart of Jesus opens to you, as God shall say the word, answer with your life.  On the first note of the first stanza, make it now.  Make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

 

ELIJAH FLEES BEFORE JEZEBEL

DR. W. A. CRISWELL

1 Kings 19:1-18

10-22-61

 

I.              Elijah sleighed the prophets of Baal then the drought ended

II.            Jezebel unimpressed with the fire of God-miracles have nothing to do with faith in God

III.           Elijah unafraid of Ahab, prophets of Baal, messengers from Jezebel’s son

IV.          Elijah ran to the desert in fear of Jezebel and fell into depression

V.           Elijah took his eyes off God

VI.          God told Elijah that 7,000 had not bowed their knees to Baal

VII.         God sent Elijah back to Israel to finish his work