I hear the sound…
After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’” 1 Kings 18 v 1
The backdrop of the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel is a landscape parched by drought which leads to famine in the nation. It was in the third year of the drought, the famine intensified, and this is when God commissioned Elijah to bring a message of hope to King Ahab. God’s message was that the rain was coming, the drought would end as God was about to pour water on the thirsty land; and streams on the dry ground (Isa 44:3).
Three in the Bible is a picture of divine completion as in the Godhead of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Some other examples of three being the number of spiritual fullness include Jonah who was in the belly of the big fish three days and Jesus was in the grave three days. Three days were enough to prove that Jesus had conquered sin, death, and the grave.
Before the rain came in the nation of Israel there was a declaration from God that the rain was coming. Before the kingdom of God came there was a declaration through a man appointed by God, John the Baptist, that the Kingdom was at hand. Before Christ shall return there will arise a declaration from the hearts of the children of God, people of all generations and of every tribe and tongue, all around the earth that Jesus Christ is Lord. We will witness an unparalleled outpouring of the Holy Spirit that this earth has ever known. This reign of heaven will be God’s fulfilment of Isa 44:3 where He says “I will pour out my Sprit on your descendants and my blessing on your children”.
It is important we note that God always declares a new season. Have you heard “church is changing”?
1. Review your life – where are you at with things? Are there areas of your life where there has been drought or famine, have these areas intensified over time. Repent where we used human strategy to change things and placed reliance on others or ourselves instead of God.
2. Recalibrate your heart with the plans and purposes of God by asking Him to lead you into the new season with grace, openness and expectancy.
Rejoice – for the reign of presence is coming. Change is always God’s initiation to more.
Rejoice for transformation is coming, Rejoice for your thirst is about to be quenched
After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’” 1 Kings 18:1
In 1 Kings 18:1 God told Elijah to present himself to King Ahab to deliver His message to him. Now let’s be clear, Elijah and King Ahab were not in any sense of the word friends. We are told later in chapter 18 that King Ahab had searched every nation and kingdom of the earth from end to end to find Elijah. King Ahab was not looking for Elijah so they could sit down and have a cup of tea together, King Ahab wanted Elijah dead.
The last time Elijah and King Ahab met, Elijah has declared that there would be no rain in the nation until he spoke on the issue again. King Ahab saw it as being Elijah’s fault that the land was in drought and famine. King Ahab had lost much during this time and saw Elijah as a troublemaker.
For 3 years God had hidden Elijah from the presence of King Ahab and kept him safe and out of harms way. Then, God told Elijah to walk right into the enemy’s camp. When I think about Elijah’s time in hiding for 3 years where he was first fed by ravens and then shared a home with a widow and her son, this must have been a time of him developing and growing in intimacy with God. It will only ever be from the place of intimacy that the sons and daughters of God will arise and do great exploits. Intimacy with God is the breeding place for exceptional courage.
What God was asking of Elijah in human terms did not make sense. King Ahab had the whole Israelite army at his command. Yet Elijah with God was a majority. Elijah’s season had changed; he was called out of hiding and catapulted into the public arena. In the new season Elijah was called to do new things, he had to use new skills, new tools. A little like the children of Israel when they entered the promised land, they had to cultivate the land and feed themselves as manna was no longer the way God was going to feed them. The things Elijah learnt in the previous season enabled him to embrace the new season and cultivate his relationship with God through actions of obedience.
1. The new season needs you to be confident that you know God’s voice – spend some quiet time reflecting on the time that you heard God the clearest – what did He sound like, was it a picture, impression, thought, remind yourself what happened as a result of His voice.
2. Ask God in this new season that in hearing Him you would hear, and in seeing Him you would see.
3. Wisdom looks like something – it looks like you going beyond hearing and beyond seeing, but doing that which you hear God speak, and going toward that which he shows you. Resolve in your heart to be a doer of God’s word.
“So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 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 . . . answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!’” 1 Kings 18:20-21, 37-39
Following the drought throughout the land of Israel, Elijah faced Ahab and challenged his commitment to God. He challenged his commitment to the ways and commands of God. But rather than just words, Elijah and God followed it up with action and cried out to God to turn their hearts again. Elijah knew that the years of drought alone had not turned people’s hearts; they were still worshipping other gods. They were not reliant on the God of Israel for their salvation or their provision.
Picture the scene … in the early part of the chapter, Ahab had sent Obadiah throughout the land looking for water and pasture. Here we have Elijah standing on the top of a mountain pouring twelve large jugs of water on top of a sacrifice and letting it run down and be wasted. When we cry out to God, we shouldn’t be surprised that He requires us to sacrifice every idol we have set up.
For the prophets on that mountain, the god they had worshipped was Baal … however impotent he was. For Ahab, the god he worshipped was himself … he was convinced he was right and God was wrong. For the people watching, the god they worshipped was the water … the provision of their needs was the most important thing for them.
So often we rely completely on the grace and mercy of God when it comes to meeting our needs. I have prayed many times, the prayer of the prodigal son, “I know I have sinned against heaven and I’m not worthy to ask anything of you … But in your mercy please …” God loves repentance, but not because He is on an ego trip. God loves repentance because He gets to spend time with you face to face and without any barriers.
1. Take time to repent today, not as a weeping servant, but as an expectant, grateful child. God will hear your prayer, and He will come and answer you.
2. Look up into the face of God and experience the love that He has for you. The complete desire to be reconciled and move forward together. The desire to spend time together and bring refreshing.
3. In the presence of God, search your heart and ask Him if there is anything that regularly gets in the way of your relationship with God. The book of 1 John ends with good advice, “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.”
“And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.’ So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. ‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked. ‘There is nothing there,’ he said. Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’ So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, “Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” 1 Kings 18:41-44
Elijah had just experienced one of the greatest ever demonstrations of God’s favour and power. He had seen 450 prophets of Baal, ridiculed and proven to be false in front of the people of Israel. God came through for Elijah and revealed Himself in consuming fire for everyone to see.
Now, He will demonstrate His faithfulness to Israel by bringing to an end the greatest drought they had seen. Having been revealed in the fire, He will now be revealed in the rain. What a relief for Elijah, for Ahab, for the people of Israel. “There is the sound of a heavy rain”, wasn’t just a prophetic word. It was a confirmation and a declaration of God’s goodness and grace towards His people.
So what are the responses? Ahab is told to eat and drink, whereas Elijah went to pray. Ahab was a receiver of the goodness of God whereas Elijah was a participator. Ahab was a beneficiary, whereas Elijah, in partnership with God, ushered in the new season of refreshing.
As we navigate a season of transition, we are called to position ourselves ready to receive the outpouring of blessing that God has prepared within the coming season. We have been blessed with great victories, and now God will continue to bless with more of Him. Where will you be found when the cloud is seen?
1. Pause and reflect. God’s timeline is always moving forward. We have a great privilege to walk this journey with different members of His family, and then He will sometimes move us on in His plan. Pause and allow God to open up the wonders of His victories in your life over the recent season.
2. We are now charged with positioning ourselves ready for the coming season. Ahab ate and drank and waited to receive. Elijah climbed back up the mountain and positioned himself face down to participate in the coming refreshing. Ask God how you can be part of the coming glory?
“So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. ‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked. ‘There is nothing there,’ he said. Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’ So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, “Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.”’ Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rainstorm came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”
1 Kings 18:41-45
First the fire and now the rain.
Elijah found himself in a difficult new season. Having been hunted and threatened with death, he was charged by God to deliver good news to King Ahab, the very man who wanted him dead. Not only was it good news for Ahab and his regime, but as we saw yesterday, Elijah participated with God in the declaration and the outworking of the answer to prayer.
I don’t know what your prayer is right now, or what season you personally are entering into, but I do know that with God you can stand in front of your enemies and accusers and declare the goodness of God without any fear or condemnation. With God you are a majority and therefore you are able to withstand any attack because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
The second thing we see from this passage is that at the coming of rain, God miraculously empowers Elijah to go to Jezreel, which means “God will sow”. not only will God bring the refreshing, life-giving rain, but we don’t even need to sow the seeds of our future, because He will take care of that too. In addition, as we see here, God will miraculously accelerate you from your current circumstance into the glorious future He has prepared.
Everything Elijah needed, rain, seed and the power of God, were all made available for him as he trusted God. Whatever you need, and whatever God has promised you, is in hand as we trust in Him and make ourselves available to Him.
1. My God will supply all my needs according to His riches in Glory. This isn’t just a financial promise, this is every deep cry of your heart will be found in His Glory. Rejoice and thank God today for His never-ending goodness towards us.
2. Pause and listen to His leading. Neither Obadiah or Elijah particularly wanted to be lead in the direction God had for them in this chapter, but through their obedience, the whole nation of Israel were set free from the bondage of drought. Be of good courage and be lead by the Lord today.
Comments are closed