And Abraham would have known what true loneliness was like, as well. It was not quite as lonely for him as it was for Lot, for he at least had Sarah his wife, a holy woman who trusted in God (Heb. 11:11; 1 Pet. 3:5,6), and in his later life he had Isaac; and also, since the Lord said of him, “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the ways of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” (Gen. 18:19), we can be sure that at least some of his servants were converted as well; and in fact we are specifically told of one of them (Gen. 24). But even although Abraham would not have been quite as lonely as Lot, it is not as though there were many others, outside of his own household, with whom he could have fellowship. He and his household were surrounded by the heathen, and they passed through their midst as a tiny believing minority. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise” (Heb. 11:9).
Yes, the time of Abraham and Lot was a time in history when, as far as fellowship with like-minded believers was concerned, the situation was worse than it is today.
Then there were still other times when, although not worse than today, the situation was at least as bad. One such time was the time of Elijah the prophet.
The wicked Queen Jezebel was hunting for his life, so Elijah “went for his life” – he fled for his life, in other words (1 Kings 19:3). He fled deep into the wilderness, and was so despondent that he requested God that he might die (v.4). Then he travelled on to Mount Horeb. “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (vv.9,10). A little while later, he repeated the same words (v.14). Elijah, after faithfully serving the Lord, came to the conclusion that there were simply no godly people left in the land. He was convinced that he was the only one left who worshipped the Lord – that the entire nation had gone after Baal. As far as he was concerned, he was all alone. He was depressed, utterly cast down in spirits, and wished to die.
But he was wrong! He was not alone – the Lord still had his people on the earth! And the Lord said to him: “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” (v.18). Elijah might have thought he was all alone in serving the Lord; but the Lord could see what Elijah could not. As dark as the days were, there were seven thousand in the land who still worshipped the God of Israel!
This is how Paul relates it: “Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:2-5). Paul, in the last verse quoted here, was saying that just as there was a remnant of elect Israelites in Elijah’s day although he did not know who or where they were, so there was a remnant of elect Jews in the first century AD also, Jewish Christians, chosen unto eternal life in Christ. But the application goes further: what Paul wrote here is equally true of our day, regarding an elect remnant of people throughout the earth, true Christians, few in number but nevertheless known to God, who remain faithful to Him, refusing to bow to the modern-day Baals all around them!
Dear Christian: you may feel like Elijah, in this day and age. You may feel all alone. You may be so lonely that, like Elijah, you could wish you were dead, for at least then you would be in the presence of the Lord in heaven. But know this: God has reserved to Himself “seven thousand”, who have not bowed to the image of Baal! At this present time, just as in Elijah’s day, and indeed just as in every age, there is a remnant according to the election of grace! You may not know who or where they are; they may be far distant from you; but they are out there – often just as lonely as you, but seeking to be faithful to their Lord in the midst of this perverse and crooked generation. As terrible as the times are, as wicked, as spiritually desolate – the Lord Jesus is still building His Church upon the earth! (Matt. 16:18). He still has His remnant. And He always will.