“He requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers . . . 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”—1 Kings:19:4,10
It took real courage—the courage borne of the conviction that he was God’s own messenger—for this sturdy Tishbite to rebuke so powerful and wicked a ruler as Ahab, and even more to declare beforehand what nature saw no evidence of, but which faith counted on God to perform (1 Kings:18:41). Yet we see this bold man quail before the wrath of a proud, haughty, vixen-like Jezebel (1 Kings:19:2,3), whose threatening words so disturbed him that he preferred death to further conflict (1 Kings:19:4).
In this we may see how truly he was a man of like passions with ourselves: not some wonderful, mysterious, superhuman being, but a very human person indeed, whom God had taken up in grace and commissioned for a great work. His greatest weakness was in connection with his outstanding testimony: he was inclined to think of himself as almost Jehovah’s sole representative on earth. When he said, “I only, am left” (1 Kings:19:14), God rebuked him by telling of seven thousand hidden ones in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal (19:18).
We need to learn the same lesson. However faithful or devoted we may imagine ourselves to be, God has many more than ourselves who are true to His Word and faithful in their stand against apostasy. —H. A. Ironside