In our decaying society, it is becoming more and more difficult to speak the light of truth into the darkness. Some of the truths and moral claims that were once accepted by the broader culture are now regarded as bigoted hate speech. It is quite possible that faithful believers will soon have to weigh the implications of social ostracization and even judicial punishment for standing on the truth of the gospel. But this should not cause us to lose heart. In fact, reflecting on the providential work of God in the life of Elijah might even bolster our courage in the days to come.
Embedded in the dark narrative of Israel’s divided kingdom is the ministry of Elijah, which is a spark of light and hope for a seemingly hopeless nation. Elijah speaks truth to power and to the people, revealing what is necessary and good. However, this type of ministry does not come without a cost. Elijah lives as an outsider, under the pressure of imminent persecution and imprisonment for speaking the truth.
But Elijah is not alone in his faith. God informs him that there are 7,000 others like him among the people—namely, those who have not bowed the knee to idols (19:18). Elijah seems to have had a hard time believing he was not the only faithful Israelite remaining. When he’s atop Mount Carmel, ready for his showdown with the prophets of Baal, he reports, “I alone am left” (18:10). And this is just a short time after finding out Obadiah has a hundred prophets hidden away from Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah isn’t alone, and this news of 7,000 faithful should have come as a reminder that God is often at work behind the scenes in ways we cannot understand. Sometimes, when we have the courage to stand and speak truth against the rushing tide of cultural decay, as Elijah did so publicly, others are encouraged to stand with us.
I often tell our church family that when we share the Word of God by the power of His Spirit, we get to experience the joy of being on mission with Him. Though we often think of biblical prophets as telling the future, but prophets also reminded people of what God had already done and of promises He had already made. In short, they proclaimed truth. They proclaimed the Word of God. And every one of us is called to do that.
When we speak the truth of the gospel, we push back the darkness, inviting others to turn to God and honor Him with their lives so that they can experience the grace of Christ and the mercy of God’s forgiveness. The work of sharing the gospel is not just for pastors on Sunday morning. We are all called to speak the truth, whether it be in the workplace or a coffee shop, on the front yard with neighbors, or at the table with friends.
Written by Matt Capps