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April 19 Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 18-19
“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)
Regarding Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal, nothing is more remarkable than the prayer of God’s prophet in 1st Kings 18:36-37. Elijah’s prayer was offered at the time of offering the evening sacrifice. That specific time was solemnly observed by the faithful throughout the Old Testament with an eye of faith looking to the one all-sufficient, effectual, sin-atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross. It was addressed to Jehovah in his covenant relations. And its object was the glory of God and the welfare of his people. O Holy Spirit, teach us so to pray, looking to Christ, seeking God’s glory and the welfare of God’s elect!
When we see Elijah in 1st Kings 19, dejected and cast down, he foolishly imagined that he alone worshipped and served God. But the Lord God assured his servant that was not the case. In this dark, degenerate, apostate age, we sometimes think like Elijah. We sometimes imagine that there are few who worship and serve God. Sometimes we even imagine that there are few, if any, elect sinners yet to be called. Let us not be so foolish.
God still has his elect in this world. Throughout the Book of God, God’s people are described as a remnant — “The remnant of Jacob!” What is a remnant? A remnant is what is left over. A remnant is that which is useless, despised, and thrown away. A remnant is the last piece of cloth on a bolt, or roll. If it is not thrown away, it is always sold at a discount, because it not worth much. That is a pretty good description of you and me. God’s elect are looked upon as being below the mark, not fit for society, as narrow, crude, crotchety, peculiar. They are a nuisance and aggravation to the world.
And God has his elect who shall be called. They are an elect remnant; but God’s remnant is seven thousand. Seven speaks of completion and perfection. Seven thousand speaks of a great multitude that no man can number, who shall completely fill the house of God forever.
It was true in Elijah’s time, and it is true today, that the church and people of the living God are a poor, needy remnant, a remnant scattered among the nations, an elect remnant, a redeemed remnant, a protected remnant, but God’s remnant. Particularly and distinctly, we are God’s remnant in Christ’s hands, under Christ’s care, given to Christ, our Prince, Priest, Provider, and Protector (Micah 5:4).
The God of all grace deals with a remnant. He seeks a remnant. He builds his house with a remnant. His treasure is a remnant. Here are five things revealed in the Book of God about his remnant.
1. There is a remnant according to the election of grace (Romans 11:5). God has not chosen to save all men; but there is a remnant chosen from among the ruins of Adam’s fallen race, who must and shall be saved (Ephesians 1:3-6; John 10:16).
2. Everything God does he does for his remnant. All men benefit from God’s goodness to his remnant. His benevolence, rain, sunshine, peace and pestilence, draught, darkness, and war come upon all men alike. But they come for and belong to the remnant (1 Corinthians 3:21; Psalm 57:2).
3. God is longsuffering with all men for the sake of the remnant (2 Peter 3:9). Were it not for God’s elect remnant, he would have destroyed the world in his wrath long ago, as he did Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s elect are truly the salt, the preservers, of the earth. As God spared Adam for Abel’s sake and Sodom for Lot’s sake, God spares the world today for his elect’s sake, that they all might be saved.
4. God’s remnant in this world is always small and feeble (Isaiah 16:14). In the end they will be a great multitude. But in this world God’s people are always a very small minority.
5. God will save his elect remnant (Romans 9:27, 11:26). Not one of that great remnant for whom God made, rules, and disposes of this world shall be lost. God the Father loved them. God the Son redeemed them. God the Spirit calls them. And God, by his great grace, will preserve them unto life everlasting.