1 Kings 18:1, “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.’ 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.”
There is a severe famine in Samaria because the king, Ahab, has followed the god, Baal, instead of the commandments of the Lord. But today…will be different. Elijah instructs Ahab to assemble the prophets of Baal and Asherah and meet him on Mount Carmel. He tells the people of Israel it is time they choose a side or opinion. “If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him.” There is quite a humorous show down between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Elijah challenges them to “Call on the name of your god” to light a sacrificial fire. After hours of dancing and chanting, the prophets cannot call down fire and it is Elijah’s turn. He actually prepares his sacrifice, pours water all over the wood, calls upon the Lord, and the Lord sets the sacrifice on fire. The people fall prostrate on the ground before the Lord; Elijah orders the prophets to be slaughtered. An exciting day for the prophet, Elijah, I would say, but there is still the issue of rain…
“‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked.’
The famine in Samaria has been horrific. People have died. Livestock is starving to death. There is no vegetation. But God has promised rain, today, and Elijah knows it.
When the servant returns, he tells Elijah, “‘There is nothing there,’ he said.”
How many of you at this point would think, “Well, I guess I heard God wrong”? Some of you might pray again, “Lord, you said if I met up with Ahab you would send rain. Where’s the rain? Can you send it please? I don’t want to look like a fool.”
Seven times Elijah sent his servant back to the sea to look for rain and each time he would return, “Nothing.” Elijah continued to pray. Elijah continued to believe. Elijah continued to hope. On the seventh time, the servant returned and reported, “‘ A cloud as small as a man’s hand is riding from the sea.'”
“So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'”
Some of us need a taste of what Elijah had.
“Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”
Do not doubt what God has promised you. Delays will occur. Waiting is required. When we persistently pray and believe in our God, results will come. When you see the smallest of signs, such as a cloud the size of man’s hand, let that reassure you, your answer is on the way.