Summary: Disillusioned Christians need to acknowledge God's latent remnant people.
Theme: Let's acknowledge God's latent remnant.
Have you ever felt all alone when standing for the truth? Elijah sure felt that way when Queen Jezebel issued a sentence on his head for showing her up at Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18-19). He hightailed from Jezreel, up in the Northen Kingdom of Israel, clear down through Judah, past its southern desert outpost of Beersheba, all the way to rocky Mount Horeb [or Mt. Sinai] in the Sinai Peninsula. There, he hid in a cave until God came to talk to him, first using a sensurround multimedia presentation, followed by a verbal elaboration. Notice the parallel:
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God wanted Elijah to know that He always reserves for Himself a remnant in every generation. Things may look bleak and hopeless from our human point of view, but God has everything under control and He may not run things the way we think He could or should. Those Yahweh preserves are often unknown, unremarkable, but unquenched in their loyalty to Him.
I. A Remnant Unknown 19:9-10, 13-14
A. Only one person has apparently been obedient to God: Elijah.
B. Everyone else has apparently been anti-God.
C. Now everybody is seeking to kill that one obedient person (1 - 1 = 0).
1. Implication 1: The very existence God's witness on earth is threatened.
2. Implication 2: God's enemies are irresistible.
3. Implication 3: God's power to protect His people is limited.
4. Implication 4: There's no other conclusion, unless God does something drastic!
II. A Remnant Unremarkable 19:11-12, 15-17 (God's presence signifies His primary activity.)
A. Outblown by the strong wind 19:11
1. Ruthless Hazael would be Israel's external (Syrian) nemesis.
2. Elisha wept when anointing Hazael as Syria's new king, foreseeing him burn down Israel's walled cities, slaughter the young men, crushing the heads of infants, and ripping up the pregnant.. 2 Kings 8:11-12
[Examples of ferocious desert winds in North Africa and the Middle East: Harmattan, santana, khamsin, sirocco, simoom, etc.]
B. Outpunched by the earthquake 19:11
1. Jehu would be Israel's internal (Israelite) nemesis.
2. He would remorselessly eradicate Israel of Baal worshippers and promoters (i.e. Ahab's dynasty). 2 Kings 9:1-10:32
[Examples of lethal earthquakes in remote areas of China and Texas]
III. Outscorched by the fire 19:11
A. Elisha would be Israel's spiritual nemesis (Abelmeholah is located about 16 km south of Bethshan in the Jordan Valley.).
B. Heading a "school of prophets" (2 Kings 2:9-15), he would be instrumental in inaugurating the "strong wind" (Hazael, 2 Kings 8) and "earthquake" (Jehu, 2 Kings 9) as well as doubling the spiritual ministry Elijah had started.
C. The fire association seems appropriate, as Elisha had the ability to repeatedly summon fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:10, 12) and appeared protected by "fiery horses and flaming chariots" (2 Kings 6:17).
IV. A Remnant Unquenched 19:12, 18
A. Their virtual imperceptibility ("still small voice": gentle breeze, soft whisper, hardly a sound--a hiss, a rustle? It's hard to find an equivalent in English for the threshold of audibility, estimated between 0-20 dB.)