Seven Thousand Did Not Bow to Baal
1 Kings 19:18 - Yet I will leave 7000 in Israel, all the knees that have
not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.
What's so significant about 7000 pairs of knees and 7000 mouths? 1 Kings 19:18
indicates that the significance is not in what the knees and mouths did, but in
what they did not do! The knees did not bow down to any of the heathen gods named
Baal, and the mouths did not kiss the image of any of the baals. Since this fact is
significant enough in God's mind to be recorded in Holy Scripture, let's not miss the
lessons He has for us in this little verse of His Word.
Romans 15:4 assures us that
there is something here for our benefit: "For whatever was written in earlier times
was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and encouragement of the
Scriptures we might have hope."
Let's back up a bit and take a quick look at the historical setting for
the faithful knees and mouths. For the entire story, read all of 1 Kings 16-19. You'll
find that at this particular time in Israel's history it was not the "in" thing
to be a believer in the Lord God! Notorious King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel ruled the
land, and the country was given over to immorality and idolatry. Religious prostitution
accompanied the pagan worship of the baals. Many true prophets had been openly murdered by
Jezebel's forces. No public outcry was being voiced by any group within the nation. In
fact, an individual's life would have been at risk had he spoken out against these corrupt
It was against this dark background that the prophet Elijah burst upon
the scene with dramatic suddeness and the announcement of judgment. He dared to speak out
publicly against the moral and spiritual decay that had overrun the country. He preached
his fiery sermon of judgment to King Ahab himself. God miraculously protected and
preserved and provided for His faithful and courageous prophet. God has many ways of
taking care of His people who are willing to stand up and speak out against sin--even
today and even you! Elijah fearlessly forced the prophets of Baal into a major showdown
between their gods and the God of Israel. There at Mount Carmel, in an awe-inspiring
display of power, the Lord showed Himself to be unquestionably supreme over the baals and
the pagan prophets. Many of the prophets of Baal were seized and eliminated. Then the Lord
sent a long-delayed rain as a sign of His blessing. For a few fleeting hours it appeared
that Israel was on the verge of a national revival.
But revival did not come. In fact, Elijah himself ran away! Queen
Jezebel had personally threatened his life because of his actions at Mount Carmel. For the
first time we read that Elijah was afraid (19:3). If a great prophet of God like Elijah
could so quickly lose his determination and courage, let's realize that we are not
invulnerable! Our strong witness and fearless faith today is no guarantee that we are
immune to downfall tomorrow. We must constantly depend on the Lord for His
strength and His courage.
After hearing about Jezebel's threat on his life, Elijah high-tailed it
as fast as he could to the extreme southern end of the country and beyond--all the way to
Mount Horeb in the Sinai peninsula. Here, far from Jezebel's clutches, he had it out with
God. Elijah was convinced that he was the only faithful believer in Israel (19:10, 14).
Have you ever felt like that? Sometimes you might feel like you are the
only true believer.
But Elijah was wrong! He was not the only one who had stayed true
to the Lord. There were still 7000 faithful men and women in Israel who had not bowed the
knee to Baal nor kissed the pagan image of one of the baals. The Lord's reminder of the
faithful 7000 appears to be a mild rebuke to the prophet. Elijah may have had some good
reasons for thinking that he was the only "evangelical" around, but God still
had a few other faithful believers throughout the country.
That secret "Seven
Thousand Club" still exists today. Be very careful before you jump to the conclusion
that you are the only believer.
The Lord still has
other believers around.
Certainly the 7000 secret believers should have been more outspoken and
more publicly supportive of Elijah's ministry. They really did have a responsibility to
stand up and be counted as believers. But at least they were hanging in there! They had
not bowed the knee or kissed the pagan image. And the Lord knew them and counted them!
Although they were unwilling to be counted in public, they were known by exact
number to God. This should be an encouragement to us, especially those of us who are the
"silent Christian" type. You know you should be more outspoken about your faith.
You can remember scores of occasions when you had the opportunity to say something for
Christ but you blew it out of fear. But at least you haven't denied the Lord. You've
resisted the temptation to "bow" to the all-too-available counterfeit way of worship.
You've refused to let down the barriers and "kiss" the ungodly
worship in buildings that call themselves a church, or temple worship, or kingdom(halls); Whereas we know,
from the scriptures of the bible that Jesus Christ is "the church" (Colossians 1:24), and he is "the temple" (Mark 14:48), and he is our "Kingdom" as inheritance (Ezekiel 44:28).
God knows who are his people in Christ, and he adds to the church in the spirit (Acts 2:41).
It is therefore God who knows whether you are one of the "7000"!
God is looking for evidence in our actions for
the faith that is in our hearts; we are called to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
You may not be an up-front and outspoken Elijah, but God still expects that the evidence of
your faith will be worked out in your life. So continue to resist the temptation to just
believe in the word of God. Even if you can't find the courage to be very vocal about your faith,
continue to be one of the faithful 7000 with unbending knees and undefiled mouth.
The Scriptures don't give us much information about most of the 7000,
but we do have a few more details about some of them. There was Obadiah (not the Obadiah
who wrote the book of the Bible) and the 100 prophets of God whom he hid from Jezebel (1
There was Elisha, who was being prepared to take Elijah's place (1 Kings
19:20-21). There were the prophets of God who are mentioned in 1 Kings 20:13, 28 and 35.
There was Naboth, who refused to let his family inheritance fall into the hands of King
Ahab because God's law forbade such transactions (1 Kings 21). And certainly the prophet
Micaiah would be counted among the 7000 (1 Kings 22).
Some of the 7000 were more outspoken and less secret than others--in
fact, Micaiah would later become as fearless and outspoken before Ahab as Elijah had been!
Some of these 7000 may have had significant short-comings. Obadiah, for example, was
involved in the service of King Ahab, when perhaps he should have separated himself from
the corrupt affairs of the royal court. But regardless of the wide differences in their
courage and commitment, they had one thing in common: they had not deserted the Lord
God--they had not bowed the knee to Baal nor kissed his image!