“The Church Within the Church"
After publicly humiliating the prophets of Baal Elijah fled from the wrath of Jezebel to hide in a wilderness cave. There he sat groveling in self-pity and disillusionment. He had stood boldly against the prophets of Baal and watched them soundly defeated by the hand of God. But now he felt abandoned and alone. When all was said and done, the odds against him were just too overwhelming. He must have thought to himself, "what's the use? All of my prophetic challenges to Israel were pointless." Evil was just too widespread and too deeply entrenched. The multitudes had compromised the truth for too long. He was just a voice crying in the wilderness that no one was listening to. No one cared about what God was saying. In his isolation and despair, Elijah truly felt that he must be the only one left who had not bowed his knees to Baal.
Maybe there have been moments when you felt just like Elijah. I have! I've looked around and seen the malignant cancer of spiritual corruption spreading unchecked throughout the church. I've seen it among brethren I once esteemed. At times, the forces of evil seem almost overwhelming in their pervasiveness and power. But God reminded him that there was still a faithful remnant that had not bowed their knees to the Baal of their day.
What’s amazes me so much about this story is the fact that this mighty prophet of God was absolutely clueless that a faithful remnant even existed. He didn’t know who they were or where they were. What’s more, there is the fact that 7,000 Israelites were still faithfully clinging to the truth in the midst of such deep spiritual adultery. Elijah didn’t underestimate their numbers - He didn’t even know that they existed! I have asked myself who this group of anonymous Israelites were. There was nothing sensational, spectacular, or hype-worthy to show they even existed. What seems to stand out above all is the reality of just how anonymous and ordinary they must have been. Even though Ahab and Jezebel reigned over a corrupt nation, Baal worship dominated the religious scene and false prophets and an adulterous priesthood represented the religious leadership, these anonymous few still went about their daily routines in quietness, humility and obscurity ‑ so much so that they even existed under Elijah’s prophetic radar.
Maybe those who lived around them saw them as individuals of little consequence but God saw each of them as faithful servants who had taken a private stand in the integrity of their own hearts to sanctify themselves from the errors of their day. They had chosen to walk by faith, to trust in God and to quietly go about their daily rhythms as farmers, mothers, vinedressers, shepherds and shop keepers with their ears tuned to what God was saying in the midst of the darkness that surrounded them. They were not participating in the spiritual compromises of their day because they had quietly removed themselves. They were not listening to the prophetic hype of the prophets of Baal or looking to an adulterous priesthood for direction. Their focus was fixed on God and His word.
Likewise, there is a quiet remnant today hidden in the midst of spiritual perversion. Like the anonymous remnant of Elijah’s day, the present remnant has quietly chosen to come out of the man-made church corruption and compromise. They are no longer buying into the message of false preachers and prophets of Baal. They are the simple believers scattered throughout the kingdoms of this world who have chosen to take a quiet stand in their hearts to no longer participate in that which undermines their simplicity in Christ.
God is still speaking to you the same words He told Elijah. So, take courage, my friend. Rest assured that you are not standing alone. There are many of us out here who have not bowed our knees to the Baals of our day. We’re hearing many of the same things from God that you are and though none go with me, I will still follow Jesus.