Editor’s Note: Below is a transcript of a message, posted to YouTube on January 29, from president of the Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson. Elder Wilson will release a new video each week. You can see past messages here
Hello, friends! Have you ever felt alone, as if you are the only one standing up for God? In the Bible, there are several examples of people who experienced such feelings, and more. Perhaps one of the most interesting is that of the prophet Elijah—God’s faithful prophet who served during a very discouraging time of apostasy and rebellion in Israel. King Ahab was on the throne, with his wicked wife, Jezebel, by his side.
Many aspects of Elijah’s important ministry are recorded in the book of 1 Kings, with perhaps the most well-known story being the one detailing Elijah’s amazing experience at Mt. Carmel, as recorded in 1 Kings 18.
I’m sure you are familiar with the story of how Elijah commanded all Israel to come to the top of the mountain, where they would witness a miraculous demonstration of God’s power in the showdown between Baal and Jehovah. All day the prophets of Baal pled with their false god, crying, screaming, and cutting themselves in the hope that their wooden god would consume the sacrifice laid upon his altar. But, to no avail.
And then there was Elijah, bravely standing alone for the one true God—Jehovah. We are given a very clear picture in the insightful book, Prophets and Kings:
“Facing King Ahab and the false prophets, and surrounded by the assembled hosts of Israel, Elijah stands, the only one who has appeared to vindicate the honor of Jehovah. He whom the whole kingdom has charged with its weight of woe is now before them, apparently defenseless in the presence of the monarch of Israel, the prophets of Baal, the men of war, and the surrounding thousands” (p. 147).
The story continues, with Elijah crying out to the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
No one, apparently, was willing to stand with Elijah in acknowledging the only true God. He stood alone. And yet he wasn’t really alone. We are told that “Above and around him are the protecting hosts of heaven, angels that excel in strength. Unashamed, unterrified, the prophet stands before the multitude, fully aware of his commission to execute the divine command” (p. 147).
At last, after he has painstakingly rebuilt the altar of God, laid the sacrifice upon it, and had it doused with torrents of water three times, does the prophet pray, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again” (1 Kings 18:36,37).
Instantly, fire comes down from heaven, consuming the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licking up the water surrounding the altar. Elijah’s prayer was heard—and answered.
Friend, have you ever felt as if you are standing alone for God? Be assured that even though it might not seem like it, you are not alone. God is with you. His angels surround you. He will give you the wisdom, guidance, and courage to stand for Him in whatever circumstances you may face. And remember, as God later reminded Elijah, there are other faithful believers, too. “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel,” God said, “all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).
Let’s be faithful to Him, wherever He calls us to go, knowing that “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24).
Let’s pray together. Father in Heaven, thank you for the marvelous experience of Elijah, to show us how we can stand faithfully for you, as we lean upon you completely in your power. Lord bless everyone who is needing special attention of encouragement, of sustaining power from heaven. Help us all to realize that, regardless of what You ask us to do, or how alone we feel as we stand for You, You are with us and angels that excel and strength can come around us and support us and encourage us. Lord, we place ourselves in your hands. Please send the Holy Spirit to fill us and to use us as we proclaim your message in these last days of earth history. Thank you for being with us. In Jesus' name we ask it, Amen.