1 Kings 19:18

Describe the stupendous scenes amidst which Elijah stood. A wind came shrieking up the mountain ravines, unseen yet instinct with secret force; an earthquake made the solid ground heave and reel; fire glared from heaven, like that which had fallen on the sacrifice at Carmel, or on a subsequent occasion consumed the captains and soldiers of Ahaziah. Amidst this war of the elements the prophet was unmoved by fear; indeed, probably a wild exultation filled his heart as he saw this stormy reflection in nature of the conflict within him. (Compare Shakespeare's splendid description of King Lear in the storm.) The uproar in nature was succeeded by a solemn calm; and as Elijah waited for the next marvellous display of Divine power, "a still small voice" broke the silence, and the prophet knew that it was the voice of God. He who till now had been undaunted and unmoved, now reverently covered his face with his mantle, and bowed in humble worship in the felt presence of Him before whom angels veil their faces. This strange and weird experience evidently had reference to the work which Elijah had attempted, and over which he was now so despondent. When he learnt that the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, he re-fleeted that permanent religious reformation might not result from the material signs of Divine power, displayed in the withholding of the rain, the raising of the dead, or the fall of fire on Carmel, but from the more quiet testimony of his own devout]fie, and from the fidelity of the "seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal." In effect, the message to him and to us was this: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." We are taught, in the first place -

I. THE SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS OF WHAT SEEMS MIGHTY. "The Lord was not in the wind ..... in the earthquake, .... in the fire." Let us exemplify this truth -

1. By the experience of Elijah. He had done many mighty works, but the people were startled rather than reformed. No radical and abiding change had been effected. "The wind" may represent the drought, both in its coming and in its ceasing; "the earthquake," the raising of the child from the dead; and "the fire," the answer to prayer on Carmel. It was not these wonders which could change the heart of the people, but "the still small voice" speaking within for God.

2. My the miracles of judgment. Take the plagues of Egypt as specimens. Marvellous enough they were, but in the result "Pharaoh's heart was hardened."

3. By the penalties of the law. Show from the history of Israel, and from the comments made on it in the Epistles, the powerlessness of the law to put away sin. The fear of punishment may check the outward manifestation of sin, but in itself does not conquer innate sinfulness. If a child does not love his father, no orders, however stringently enforced, will make him happy. It was not John the Baptist, but Jesus Christ, who was the world's Redeemer,

4. By the events of Providence. Illness, the dread of death, a startling bereavement, a national calamity, etc., do not convert men, unless through them or after them "the still small voice" is heard. Men may be driven to alarm, to murmuring, to despair, perhaps to suicide; but their hearts are still rebellious under the influence of trouble. It is not the storm, but the voice of Jesus in the storm, saying, "It is I," that brings rest to those who welcome Him.

II. THE SPIRITUAL STRENGTH OF WHAT SEEMS FEEBLE. The still small vice, which only a listening man could hear, was more Divine and more mighty than all Elijah had witnessed before. There was all the difference between God's power and God's presence. "The Lord was not in the fire," but His was the still small voice; concerning which we observe -

1. It follows on preparation. Elijah had heard so much, had been so startled into keen listening for the wonderful, that he did not fail to hear this. So the miracles which had not converted the people had made them ready for Elisha and the school of the prophets. Similarly John preceded Jesus. It is thus in personal experience. The earthquake did not convert the jailer at Philippi, but it aroused him to ask, "What must I do to be saved?" Trouble does not save a man, but it may make him ready to listen to the words of life. Some must lose all before they find all in God.

2. It reminds of secret forces. The most mighty are silent in nature and in grace; e.g., gravitation is far more tremendous than volcanic agency.

3. It typifies the influence of the Holy Spirit. "He shall convince the world of righteousness," etc. How secretly He melts the heart to repentance, faith, and obedience, and changes the whole current of affection and thought.

4. It whispers of the love of Christ. He forced none into His kingdom, but won all His subjects man by man. Not His reproaches, but His look of love, broke the heart of Peter into penitence, after the denial. Paul's inspiration was found not in applause or success, but in this - that he could ever say, "The love of Christ constraineth me."

CONCLUSION. Wait for no resistless influences, for no startling events; but listen to the "still small voice" which speaks within, testifying of your deep necessity and Christ's glorious redemption. - A.R.

Yet I have left Me seven thousand in Israel.
We cannot know what a man is merely by what he does. He may be a painter showing to us his pictures; that sight gives no idea as to whether he is inwardly beautiful. He may be a tradesman with whom we deal; that does not tell us whether he is occupying himself with his Lord's talents until He come. He may he a mechanic who executes some manual labour for us; that does not signify if he is labouring for the meat which perisheth, and also for that which endureth unto everlasting life. We need to get more than a man's doings to enable us to perceive what he is. We must learn what his real thoughts are. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." We must be able to form clear ideas of what he likes and dislikes; what he finds fault with in others, and would fain accomplish by them. In just such a condition we are as regards our knowledge of God. His works in nature do not inform us of what He is.

I. THIS UNKNOWN QUANTITY IS A PROVISION MADE BY GOD'S SECRET OPERATIONS. "I have left," or as we read in the Epistle to the Romans, "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand." The Lord thus affirms that their existence in Israel was due to His own arrangements, that He was carrying out His purposes by other methods than that which He had consigned to Elijah, and independently of him. The secret of the Lord s operations may well put shame upon the course taken by so many who profess to be His appointed servants, setting themselves up as judges, and condemning to un-covenanted mercies — which mean too often unpitying wishes produced by the spite of bigoted hearts — those who do not agree with them.

II. THIS UNKNOWN QUANTITY IS AN OBJECT OF CONSTANT INSPECTION BY GOD. He knows when and where their knees are bent; when and where their lips are shaped for a kiss. He sees what resolutions they have made, and that those resolutions have not been broken. All and every one in particular are designated by His testimony as His elected people, even though never ranked with the professed upholders of His kingdom.

III. THIS UNKNOWN QUANTITY ENCOURAGES UNDEFINED HOPES AS TO THE WIDE RANGE OVER WHICH LOYALTY TO GOD EXTENDS. God wants faithful servants far more than prophets, apostles, preachers can. The desire for the extension of His kingdom, which moulds their prayers and efforts, their complaints and despondency, is a desire which is only a minute output from His measureless yearning. They see Him making the Gospel His power to the salvation of men, of whom they had lost hope. Slaves, criminals, cannibals, philosophers lifted up with pride, and ignorant men dogmatic in their ignorance; men and women, over whom the fetid vapours of fleshly lusts hung darkly, and little children, scarcely able to tell that evil soils them, have each and all become known as unyielding props in the earthly house of the Lord. What ground is available for doubting that He has raised many more with His wonder-working grace than have come into our notice?

1. An impulse to continuous service of the Lord.

2. The guidance for each soul. It is found in the words of Jesus when answering the question, "Lord, are there few that be saved?" He made no attempt at a reply; He sent the questioners into their own consciences, with the injunction, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate."

(D. G. Watt, M. A.)

I. We may learn from this declaration of God to Elijah, in reply to his complaint, NEVER TO TAKE TOO GLOOMY OR DESPONDING A VIEW OF THE POSITION AND PROSPECTS OF THE CHURCH. However reduced in number and influence and piety the Church of God apparently may become; — however feeble the spark, it cannot be quenched; — it cannot die. The true Israel often and again have been reduced to the lowest ebb; — the bush burning with fire ready to be consumed; but the living God was in the bush, and defied the destroying flames.

II. Arising from the lesson just drawn, and suggested by it, we may further learn to BEWARE OF HARSH JUDGMENTS ON OUR FELLOW-MEN AND FELLOW-CHRISTIANS. There was unwarrantable self-sufficiency in Elijah — so boldly averring, "I, even I only, am left!" It was not for him ("the man of like passions") to make so sweeping and unqualified an assertion — repudiating the faith of others, and feeling so confident of his own. The worst phase which self-righteousness can assume, is when we constitute ourselves religious censors; and on the ground of some supposed superior sanctity say, with supercilious air, "Stand back, for I am holier than thou." Elijah's feeling has developed itself in modern times in denominational exclusiveness; — sect unchurching sect. One saying, "I alone am left." I alone am "the Church," because of apostolic descent and sacramental efficacy. Another, "I only am left," for congregations around me are asleep, and mine only has undergone revival and awakening. Nay, nay; hush these censorious' thoughts and hasty party judgments. Who art thou that judgest another? "Who art thou so ready to spy out the mote in thy brother's eye, and seest not the beam in thine own?" There has ever been, and ever shall be, "a hidden Church." "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation." There is often pure gold in the coarsest-looking ore; — there is often the rarest pebble in the most rugged rock; — there are often the loveliest flowers in the most tangled brake or remotest dell.

III. Let us gather yet another lesson from this comforting assurance of God to Elijah — THE INFLUENTIAL POWER OF A GREAT EXAMPLE. Elijah's feeling was, that he was alone; that he had toiled, and witnessed, and suffered in vain; that in vain he had uttered his high behests; borne publicly his testimony to the living Jehovah; lived his life of faith, and self-denial, and prayer. His saddening thought was, that he was now going to end a useless, fruitless, purposeless existence; that, for all he had done in the cause of Divine truth, he might still have been roaming a freebooter, or pasturing his flocks as a shepherd in his native Gilead. "Nay," says God, to this mighty harvest-man, "seven thousand souls have been reaped mainly by thy sickle." Wherever there are brave, bold, honest, upright, God-loving hearts in this world, there is sure to emanate a silent, it may be, but yet a vast influence for good. "No man liveth to himself." What may not a word do! — a solemn advice! — a needed caution!

(J. R. Macduff,D. D.)

A consistent saint of God — What do we mean by the word "saint"? All who are set aside for the Master's use, who are sanctified and strengthened by His grace to serve Him, are His saints. What is that life?


II. SAINTSHIP IS NOURISHED MOST IN TIMES OF DEPRESSION AND OF AFFLICTION. It is Of such a time that God is here speaking: "I have seven thousand which have not bowed the knee to Baal."

(W. Denton, M. A.)

We learn from these words —

I. THAT MEN MAY BE OFTEN DECEIVED WITH REGARD TO THE STRENGTH OF GOD'S CHURCH. Many have possessed a similar feeling to that expressed by Elijah. They have looked upon the prevalence of sin, in all ranks and conditions of life; they have looked upon the widespread indifference to religion, and that too in the midst of religious privilege and effort; and at such a sight their hearts have failed them; they have thought that the people of God were very few, and they have been tempted to think that their efforts to increase the number were yam and useless, and under such temptation many have relinquished their work.

II. THAT GOD HAS A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE OF HIS OWN PEOPLE. The children of God may be unable to recognise each other, especially in times of persecution, which may restrain men from making an open avowal of their faith. And even in ordinary times there are many who may not feel called upon to make this avowal, so that their relation to God remains unknown to those around them. But God sees and knows them.

III. THAT GOD CAN KEEP HIS PEOPLE AMID THE MOST WIDESPREAD SIN AND EVIL. It is not without reason that Christian people fear for themselves and for others when sin and evil abound, and when temptations are numerous and powerful. They know their own weakness, and they know, too, how many have fallen in the conflict with sin.


(T. Cain.)

"A gardener knoweth what roots are in the ground long before they appear, and what flowers they will produce." Look over the garden in winter, and you will not know that there is any preparation for spring; but the gardener sees in his mind's eye — here a circle of golden cups, as if set out for a royal banquet, and there a cluster of snow-white beauties, drooping with excess of modest purity. His eye knows where the daffodils and anemones lie asleep, waiting to rise in all their loveliness; and he has learned the secret of the primroses and the violets, who wait in ambush till the first warm breath of spring shall bid them reveal themselves. Even thus doth the Lord know His hidden ones long before the day of their manifestation with Him. He sees His Church before His ministers see it, and declares concerning heathen Corinth. "I have much people in this city."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

There are stars set in the heavens by the hand of God, whose light has never reached the eye of man; gems lie deposited in the earth, that have never yet been discovered by the research of man; flowers which have grown in blushing beauty before the sun, that have never been seen by the florist; so there may be Christians made such by God, who are hidden from the knowledge and eye of the world.

(R. Venting.)

Abel, Ahab, Aram, Elijah, Elisha, Hazael, Israelites, Jehu, Jezebel, Nimshi, Shaphat
Abel-meholah, Beersheba, Damascus, Horeb, Jezreel, Syria
Baal, Ba'al, Bent, Bowed, Kissed, Kisses, Knees, Leave, Mouth, Mouths, Myself, Reserve, Safe, Seven, Thousand, Yet
1. Elijah, threatened by Jezebel, flees to Beersheba
4. In the desert, being weary of his life, he is comforted by an angel
9. At Horeb God appears unto him, sending him to anoint Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha
19. Elisha, taking leave of his friends, follows Elijah

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Kings 19:18

     1655   hundreds and thousands
     5848   exaggeration
     5898   kissing
     7145   remnant
     8253   faithfulness, examples
     8747   false gods

1 Kings 19:3-21

     8131   guidance, results

1 Kings 19:9-18

     5092   Elijah

Elijah's Weakness, and Its Cube
'And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time. 3. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

What Doest Thou Here?
"And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?"--1 KINGS xix. 9. There is a sound of rebuke in these words. They seem to imply that the lonely mountain of Horeb was not the place in which God expected to find such a servant as Elijah, and that there should be no indefinite tarrying, no lingering without an aim in such a solitude. As you read the familiar history you see how the record of the prophet's retirement and his vision in Horeb is a
John Percival—Sermons at Rugby

God's Gentle Power
"And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so. when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?"--1 Kings 19:11-13.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916

"Therefore, Brethren, we are Debtors, not to the Flesh, to Live after the Flesh,"
Rom. viii. 12.--"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh," &c. All things in Christianity have a near and strait conjunction. It is so entire and absolute a piece, that if one link be loosed all the chain falls to the ground, and if one be well fastened upon the heart it brings all alongst with it. Some speak of all truths, even in nature, that they are knit so together that any truth may be concluded out of every truth, at least by a long circuit of deduction
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

A Solemn Address to those who Will not be Persuaded to Fall in with the Design of the Gospel.
1. Universal success not to be expected.--2-4. Yet, as unwilling absolutely to give up any, the author addresses thou who doubt the truth of Christianity, urging an inquiry into its evidences, and directing to prayer methods for that purpose.--5 Those who determine to give it up without further examination.--6. And presume to set themselves to oppose it.--7, 8. Those who speculatively assent to Christianity as true, and yet will sit down without any practical regard to its most important and acknowledged
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

What Doest Thou Here?
'Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here!'--1 SAMUEL xxix. 3. 'The word of the Lord came to him, and He said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?'--1 KINGS xix. 9. I have put these two verses together, not only because of their identity in form, though that is striking, but because they bear upon one and the same subject, as will appear, if, in a word or two, I set each of them in its setting. David was almost at the lowest point of his fortunes when he fled into
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

An Address to the Regenerate, Founded on the Preceding Discourses.
James I. 18. James I. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. I INTEND the words which I have now been reading, only as an introduction to that address to the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, with which I am now to conclude these lectures; and therefore shall not enter into any critical discussion, either of them, or of the context. I hope God has made the series of these discourses, in some measure, useful to those
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

The Uses of the Law
Yet, pardon me my friends, if I just observe that this is a very natural question, too. If you read the doctrine of the apostle Paul you find him declaring that the law condemns all mankind. Now, just let us for one single moment take a bird's eye view of the works of the law in this world. Lo, I see, the law given upon Mount Sinai. The very hill doth quake with fear. Lightnings and thunders are the attendants of those dreadful syllables which make the hearts of Israel to melt Sinai seemeth altogether
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
Now, forasmuch as God of his infinite mercy doth so temper our pain and sickness, that we are not always oppressed with extremity, but gives us in the midst of our extremities some respite, to ease and refresh ourselves, thou must have an especial care, considering how short a time thou hast either for ever to lose or to obtain heaven, to make use of every breathing time which God affords thee; and during that little time of ease to gather strength against the fits of greater anguish. Therefore,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Of the True Church. Duty of Cultivating Unity with Her, as the Mother of all the Godly.
1. The church now to be considered. With her God has deposited whatever is necessary to faith and good order. A summary of what is contained in this Book. Why it begins with the Church. 2. In what sense the article of the Creed concerning the Church is to be understood. Why we should say, "I believe the Church," not "I believe in the Church." The purport of this article. Why the Church is called Catholic or Universal. 3. What meant by the Communion of Saints. Whether it is inconsistent with various
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Concerning the Ministry.
Concerning the Ministry. As by the light or gift of God all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed, so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every true minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied in the work of the ministry; and by the leading, moving, and drawing hereof ought every evangelist and Christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labour and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Grace Before Meat.
O most gracious God, and loving Father, who feedest all creatures living, which depend upon thy divine providence, we beseech thee, sanctify these creatures, which thou hast ordained for us; give them virtue to nourish our bodies in life and health; and give us grace to receive them soberly and thankfully, as from thy hands; that so, in the strength of these and thy other blessings, we may walk in the uprightness of our hearts, before thy face, this day, and all the days of our lives, through Jesus
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners:
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

"My Little Children, These Things Write I unto You, that Ye Sin Not. And if any Man Sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,"
1 John ii. 1.--"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father," &c. The gospel is an entire uniform piece, all the parts of it are interwoven through other, and interchangeably knit together, so that there can be no dividing of it any more than of Christ's coat that was without seam. If you have it not altogether by the divine lot, you cannot truly have any part of it, for they are so knit together, that if you disjoin
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Case of the Christian under the Hiding of God's Face.
1. The phrase scriptural.--2. It signifies the withdrawing the tokens of the divine favor.--3 chiefly as to spiritual considerations.--4. This may become the case of any Christian.--5. and will be found a very sorrowful one.--6. The following directions, therefore, are given to those who suppose it to be their own: To inquire whether it be indeed a case of spiritual distress, or whether a disconsolate frame may not proceed from indisposition of body,--7. or difficulties as to worldly circumstances.--8,
Philip Doddridge—The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

Conflicts with Giant Mistake
CONFLICTS WITH GIANT MISTAKE I make so many mistakes, it seems I am just a bundle of contradictions. I try to do good; but at times my efforts are so crude that I seem to do more harm than good. What shall I do? And though all the time I try hard not to make mistakes, yet I still make them. It seems to me that surely I am not sanctified, or else I should be more perfect. Do not the Scriptures command us to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect? I am not perfect; far from it. Really I
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

Concerning Peaceableness
Blessed are the peacemakers. Matthew 5:9 This is the seventh step of the golden ladder which leads to blessedness. The name of peace is sweet, and the work of peace is a blessed work. Blessed are the peacemakers'. Observe the connection. The Scripture links these two together, pureness of heart and peaceableness of spirit. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable' (James 3:17). Follow peace and holiness' (Hebrews 12:14). And here Christ joins them together pure in heart, and peacemakers',
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Of Passages from the Holy Scriptures, and from the Apocrypha, which are Quoted, or Incidentally Illustrated, in the Institutes.
TO THE AUTHORS QUOTED IN THE INSTITUTES PREFATORY ADDRESS TO HIS MOST CHRISTIAN MAJESTY, THE MOST MIGHTY AND ILLUSTRIOUS MONARCH, FRANCIS, KING OF THE FRENCH, HIS SOVEREIGN; [1] JOHN CALVIN PRAYS PEACE AND SALVATION IN CHRIST. [2] Sire,--When I first engaged in this work, nothing was farther from my thoughts than to write what should afterwards be presented to your Majesty. My intention was only to furnish a kind of rudiments, by which those who feel some interest in religion might be trained to
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Of the Discipline of the Church, and Its Principal Use in Censures and Excommunication.
1. Of the power of the keys, or the common discipline of the Church. Necessity and very great utility of this discipline. 2. Its various degrees. 1. Private admonition. 2. Rebukes before witnesses. 3. Excommunication. 3. Different degrees of delinquency. Modes of procedure in both kinds of chastisement. 4. Delicts to be distinguished from flagitious wickedness. The last to be more severely punished. 5. Ends of this discipline. 1. That the wicked may not, by being admitted to the Lord's Table, put
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

A Cloud of Witnesses.
"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a-dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when his end was nigh, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.... By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with them that were disobedient,
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews

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