1st Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1st Kings 18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
3 years is a long time to go without water, in an agricultural land especially. This was serious business. We see the King accusing the Prophet of stirring up trouble.
17 “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.”
Interesting that when someone is involved in sin, they consider those who declare the sin as the source of trouble, rather than the sin they are practicing, isn’t it? At least this is true when we are in the world and lacking the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in John 3:18 AMP “18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].19 This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned.21But whoever practices truth [and does what is right--morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are--accomplished in God ”
The light is shining but there are many in the world hiding from it because they are steeped in their sin and often given over to a reprobate mind, beyond hope. I believe that in verse 18, Jesus’ reference to those who “believe not” are those who hear the gospel and refuse to repent from their sin but remain in them instead. Most of those who are not washed in the Blood though are merely lost and cannot discern the benefit of the light because of the veils of confusion over their spiritual perception. These folks are not beyond hope; in fact they are the reason we are still here on this earth. They are the lost that are in need of the gospel of salvation. This is our great commission and must never be neglected.
The Lord had cursed the land with draught for the disobedience of His people in their worship of false gods. The very land was literally dying of thirst.
James clarifies for us that it was the prayers of Elijah that called for the draught and later for the rain. James 5:17 “Elias (Elijah) was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”
1 Kings 18:41-46 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant,
“Go up now, look toward the sea”. And he went up, and looked, and said, “There is nothing”. And he said, “Go again” seven times!
And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.” And he said, “Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.” And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
Now something I find interesting here is that this is the same person who had earlier called down fire from heaven, he only had to ask God once. This was done to the glory of God as evidenced by the people crying out “The Lord, He is God”. When Elijah went to the mountaintop and prayed for rain, he might have expected the same quick response to his petition. He sent his servant up to see if there was evidence of rain clouds. When the servant brought back the report that there was no sign, Elijah could have quit right there and said, “I guess it was not God’s will”. There is no indication in the record of this though. Instead Elijah just kept praying and sending his servant to look again and again, seven times. It is significant that it was the seventh time, seven being the number representing completion. There are times when we pray, that God will act on that prayer right away, there are also times that we must continue to pray even when we don’t see the results right away. Elijah’s faith was exhibited in that he did not quit when he got the negative report. He just kept praying and expecting something to happen. He prayed for rain and he was not quitting until he saw rain!
The seventh time his servant came back to say, “Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.” Elijah didn’t wait for the thunderclouds to develop, much less start raining. Elijah had only to hear of this small start to send his servant quickly to the King and warn him to make haste or he would be caught in a rainstorm! His faith didn’t stop with the first evidence of a cloud on the horizon. He knew that what God begins, He will complete! Elijah was asking God to bless the land with rain, once he saw the blessing taking shape, he responded with even more focused faith. He didn’t hear the report of the little cloud and act as though that was all that was coming; he sent word that it was going to rain so hard that the King had better run for cover. In fact the Word says, “And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” Can you picture it? The King is in his chariot with his entourage rushing as fast as there horses could pull them and here comes Elijah, with his robe pulled up between his legs running right past them and beating them through the city gates! He was expecting rain in a BIG way!
Your blessing, the object of your prayers, will come much the same. It may seem small at first but when you see that “small cloud” get ready for the real blessing! When God answers your prayer it will be according to your faith. His resources are infinite and He will rain down his blessing from the windows of heaven! Mal 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Your faith is what determines how much blessing you will receive. The blessings of God flow like a river, will you bring a cup, a bucket or will you build/become an aquaduct? When you ask God for His blessing, I hope you will watch for the sign of it coming and when you see it, get ready for the rain!
“Heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” Wow! Elijah prayed for rain and he got the rain and the land became fruitful as a result! Your blessing is not just for you but everyone around you! When you get blessed it overflows and the blessings, the rain, will make the ground fertile to bring forth fruit! Hallelujah! God’s blessings don’t have to stop with what you asked for, that’s where they start!
I want to say that you need to put your faith in God, regardless of what you see. When you are praying for the salvation of a family member, healing for yourself or loved one, a job, finances, whatever the case may be. Your faith must be focused on God not the thing prayed for. If you don’t see results, Go Again! Not just once but go again and again until you see something happening. When you do see something, know that is only the beginning, the small cloud on the horizon is showing you that there are Clouds full of blessings on the way!