In today’s Army of Youth class, we shall study God’s message to Elijah. “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.
Do you remember the setting of the verse above? Baal worship had been well now universal (in the land of Israel), brought in by Ahab and his heathen wife Jezebel (the daughter of the King of Zidon – Ethbaal).Elijah was so burdened over the whole matter of apostasy, that he prayed to the Lord to withhold the rain. God had promised to do that very thing in the law of Moses; so Elijah claimed the promise.
You know it seems a strange thing, for a man of God to be praying that God would withhold the rain; but, that’s what Elijah was led to do. And God heard his prayers, and for 3 ½ years there wasn’t any rain. Baal was supposed to be the god who would send rain, but He (God) didn’t send any for 3 ½ years.
But finally, God knew that the time had come for a change, and He told Elijah to go show himself to Ahab and call all Israel to mount Carmel. They came. There appeared that wonderful demonstration; a failure on the part of the prophets of Baal, and complete victory on the part of Elijah and his God. But Elijah was discouraged because Jezebel threatened his life that night. He ran, and ran, and ran. And finally at mount Horeb, God met him. That’s the place where shall pick up in our study today.
In the twelveth and thirteenth verse (1 Kings 19), you remember God ask Elijah, “What are you doing here anyway? Way out here in the desert. I sent you to Ahab with a message. I sent you to the brook and took care of you. I sent you over to Zarephath and the widow took care of you. I sent you to Carmel and stood by you; but who sent you here?” And Elijah 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. – 1 Kings 19:14
What did God say to him; “Elijah, under those circumstances, maybe you’d better stay out here?” No. The very first word of God’s response was what? Go, return!
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. – 1 Kings 19:15 – 18
Who were the 7,000? People in Israel that hadn’t done what? Hadn’t bowed the knee to Baal. Israelites who were true to God, in a time of almost universal apostasy. You know it’s interesting why God told Elijah this. In the fourteenth verse Elijah told God that how many of them were there that were true and loyal? One. Who was the one? Elijah. And Elijah is explaining why he has to be where he is. He thinks he’s what? He’s the only one. God says, “Elijah things may be bad, but they are not that bad. Things may be dark, but they’re not that dark. I have 7,000 that have not bowed a knee to Baal.”
Now, before we get too enthusiastic over that, too tranquilized by it, let’s remember that 7,000 is not very many in the whole nation of Israel. With thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands of people… so we must look at both sides of this. Now why are we studying this? We are studying this because it applies today. If you and are faithful, we must be among the 7,000. We are studying this because it is a time of almost universal apostasy. We are studying this because the religion of Baal and the religion of Jehovah were mixed back there, and they are mixed today. Just like how God brought deliverance then, He is ready to bring deliverance now.
And so our study of this is not merely historical, it is very practical. We’re not going through some historical museum. We’re going through some tremendous object lessons, of what God did back there (through the 7,000), He longs to do through the Remnant today. Would you like to be amongst them?
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. – Romans 11:3 – 5
Here, from the Old Testament, Paul is quoting from the very verse that we have read. First verse, he quotes Elijah. Our courage must not fail, as Elijah’s failed. Elijah wouldn’t have failed if he had been looking at God instead of looking at who? Himself and he was looking at the people. You never get courage looking at either ourselves or the people around us. We must maintain our faith in God, and in His promise. And God says,
I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. – Romans 11:4, 5
And so with this clear statement from the New Testament, inspired application of Paul to the experience of Elijah, we turn to this application again to the present time.
The apostasy prevailing today is similar to that which in the prophet’s day overspread Israel. – Prophets and Kings, pg. 170
The four great marks of Baal worship are:
1) The exaltation of the human above the Divine
2) The praise of popular leaders
3) The worship of mammon
4) The placing of the teachings of science above the truths of Revelations. And all this, multitudes today are following after Baal. Many are substituting for the oracles of God, the theories of man.
In the midst of this apostasy, we must not lose courage. Not all in the world are lawless and sinful. Not all have taken the side of the enemy. God has many thousands that have not bowed their kneel to Baal. By God’s grace, let us strive to be amongst the 7,000, God’s remnant that keep His commandments and the testimony of Jesus. Back in the day of Elijah and Elisha, there was by the name of Shaphat, who was amongst the 7,000.
“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.”1 Kings 19:19
What were some of the characteristics of Shaphat?
“Elisha’s father was a wealthy farmer, a man whose household were among the number that in a time of almost universal apostasy had not bowed the knee to Baal. Theirs was a home where God was honored and where allegiance to the faith of ancient Israel was the rule of daily life.” PK 217
Did you notice the word ancient? They were not interested in the new theology; nothing new and strange… “In such surroundings the early years of Elisha were passed. In the quietude of country life, under the teaching of God and nature and the discipline of useful work, he received the training in habits of simplicity and of obedience to his parents and to God that helped to fit him for the high position he was afterward to occupy.” Ibid
In order to develop a character that will receive the seal of God and give the Loud Cry message, one must learn the lesson of responsibility and hard work; the dependability that leads them to stick with something until it gets done; like Shapat. What kind of man was he again? A farmer, a wealth farmer at that. He wasn’t dilatory, he wasn’t lazy, he wasn’t slow in his work; neither were his children trained that way.
May the spirit of Shaphat and Elijah come upon us. We beseech you youth, let it be among your ambition to amongst the 7,000. God can use any one us, if we yield to Him and submit. Now is the time to embrace the discipline of useful work, dependability, responsibility; not standing around talking to people all the time, but getting at the job, and getting it done. God is looking for results.
Elijah found Elisha, not sitting under a tree meditating, not talking to the hired help about Scripture. He was on the job, “plowing with twelve yoke of oxen.” He was in charge of that whole operation. He had worked up the responsibility, until he could handle the whole farm. By God’s grace, let us value the the privilege of hard work.
Pause to think about what the home of Elisha was like. Father Shaphat leading out in morning and evening worship, and what did they do in between? Work, work, work. His family worked hard and that built something into their character. They didn’t bow their knee to Baal.
The “in” thing was to bow to Baal, to kiss the image of Baal. Gross! Nonetheless, If you wanted to be popular with your peers, you went along with that. The music of Baal was being played and sung, the parties of Baal were going on. If you wanted to be popular amongst the people, you would go to a Baal party. Did Elijah go? No, he was different, he was peculiar. Do you know why? In his home, they believed in the Spirit of Prophecy; that is a mark amongst those who were apart of the 7,000. In his home they took heed to the counsel of useful and steady work. This is one of the greatest lessons that you can learn, is to settle down and get steady; to stop playing around and help finish the work!
Praise God, for the wonderful example of Shaphat, that man of God, who was amongst the 7,000. Furthermore, there is another example of a young woman who was apart of that number. Any ideas who she may be? Find out in our next Army of Youth class!
*Study adapted from W.D.Frazee’s sermon: 7,000