The Elijah Complex!

Loneliness is a lousy feeling, and if you’ve ever felt alone, you know how lousy it can be. In 1969 the rock group Three Dog Night made famous a song that said,”Number one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” The song was one of countless others that lamented lost love. But the lyrics resonated with millions and the song reached number five on the U. S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1969. Everybody needs somebody. American comedian Rich Hill said, “In Montana, a policeman will pull you over just because he’s lonely” (I hope you get that!). Even the Bible’s greatest characters suffered when they felt alone as they struggled to stand up for God and what was right. A powerful example is the Old Testament prophet Elijah. In 1 Kings 18 he stood bold as a lion but stood alone alone in a life and death struggle against hundreds of false prophets of Baal. Those prophets were supported by King Ahab and his devilish wife Jezebel who was seeking to destroy all the prophets of the true and living God. With God’s help, Elijah totally triumphed in that dramatic showdown with the forces of evil. But keep reading. On the heels of the mountain-top victory in chapter 18, the prophet goes into an emotional nose-dive. We hear him complaining to God from a cave in 1 Kings 19:14, “I alone am left, and they (Jezebel and her wicked ‘yes-men’) seek to take my life.” Shortly before that, lower than a snakes’s belly and feeling like he was the only faithful man left in Isarel, Elijah had spouted off to God, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers” (1 Kings 19:4). But in 1 Kings 19:15ff we learn God still had a number of important tasks for Elijah to complete. And in verse 18, the Lord informed the lonely prophet, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Things were 7,000 times better off than Elijah thought they were! He felt alone – but he wasn’t! God was still alive and well, and He wasn’t worried or wringing His hands or feeling threatened over how bad things were! But Elijah had a complex. His faith was temporarily dimmed by a fog or fear and discouragement.

The apostle Paul refers to Elijah’s complex in Romans 11:1ff. There the apostle is making his case that although the Jews largely rejected and refused to obey the gospel preached by His apostles, all is not lost – far from it. God still has a chosen, elect group of people! After noting how Elijah misread his situation, thinking “I alone am left,” Paul quotes 1 Kings 19:4 where the Lord told Elijah, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” In the rest of the chapter Paul proclaims that God’s people are those who come to Him through Jesus Christ, Jews and Gentile! How about you? Do you ever suffer from the “Elijah complex?” Do you ever feel “I alone” am the only faithful Christian / elder / deacon / preacher / parent left in the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12)? If so, take heart. There are many of “like precious faith with us” (2 Peter 1:2). You can cure the Elijah complex by constantly “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). You are not alone. There are many who have not “bowed the knee to Baal.” God’s faithful people will win in the end. Think about it.

    By: Dan Gulley, Smithville, TN