Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:21
Was it fear that kept the people quiet? Or was it that they wanted to keep their options open? When Elijah suggested a contest the people said, “What you say is good” (verse 24). Perhaps they were wondering if God had forsaken them, or abandon them, and they wanted evidence. Despite their history through Abraham and Moses, they wanted their own experience of God’s intervention. Whatever their thinking, they were reluctant to make a public stand.
This would have been discouraging for Elijah and later he would complain to God that he was the only one still following the Lord. “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (19:10, 14).
It’s no wonder Elijah felt this way when no one would verbally declare their allegiance to the Lord. And no doubt, Elijah felt lonely in the face of such stiff opposition—“four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah” (verse 19).
God responded to Elijah by saying, “I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him” (19:18).
But where were these seven thousand when Elijah needed them?
Where are we when our leaders need us? When they make a stand for righteousness do we support and encourage them? Do we stand with them? Or do we say nothing?