The Elijah Example
He was flushed with victory! It had been awesome! All day the false prophets had cut themselves and prayed to Baal trying to get their dead god to do something and all day long they had not even seen the white flicker of a spark.
But then it was His turn. In quiet, confident tones he called on his God and, in response, the altar blazed with fire. God had proven Himself to be the unique God of the universe. But there is an interesting little footnote to this victorious scene. As Elijah is leaving the mountain, He finds Ahab the king and tells him, “Hey King, it’s going to rain!”
Now that might not mean much to you, but it meant a lot to the king because his country was in the middle of a 3.5 year drought. Now you would think that was all there was to it. If God had just brought down fire from heaven and incinerated the sacrifice, surely He would send the rain. He heard Elijah say that, and, indeed, it may have been God who had already told Elijah what He was going to do, so did Elijah really need to ask for rain?
O yes! He did! In fact, in the NT James says that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
In fact, the description of that prayer over in 1 Kings 18. It says:
And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”
I love that! Seven times, Elijah comes back and asks all over again till a little cloud shows up. Then he tells his servant to tell Ahab, “You best be getting back to the palace before the road floods out!”