Elijah went up to the summit of Carmel. He bent down on the ground and put his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.”
So he went up, looked, and said, “There’s nothing.”
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
On the seventh time, he reported, “There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea.”
Then Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Get your chariot ready and go down so the rain doesn’t stop you.’”
In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour. So Ahab got in his chariot and went to Jezreel. The power of the Lord was on Elijah, and he tucked his mantle under his belt and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.1 Kings 18:42b-46
In the showdown between Yahweh and Ba’al, there was little question who would win. After the prophets of Ba’al spent the whole day calling out to their god for fire, only to receive no answer, Elijah prayed a simple prayer and Yahweh answered with fire that consumed everything placed on Elijah’s altar. The people were convinced that Yahweh was God. Still, there was the unfinished business of the drought.
After such a dramatic revelation of His power, it would seem that Yahweh would be quick to send ran as well. Instead, though, this miracle took a little longer to become a reality. Elijah went to the summit of Mt. Carmel to await the rain that he knew would come. He humbly and quietly prayed and then asked his servant to go look for a cloud on the horizon. Each time the servant came back with no report of a cloud. The seventh time, the servant saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand. That was enough to convince Elijah that the drought was about to end. He sent word to Ahab to leave for Jezreel before he got caught in the rain. As he did this, the sky grew dark and a great storm came across the land. The drought had ended and the land would produce fruit again.
James 5 tells us that Elijah was a human being like us. He earnestly believed that God would stop the rain. Three and a half years later, he believed the rain would come again and it did. We may think of Elijah as a person with a higher level of power than us but James seems to say that we have the same access to the power of prayer that Elijah did. Sometimes our answers will come quickly. Other times there may be a delay. The key is that we must trust God to do what He has promised in the time that He sees fit.
- Are there things you need to trust God for even if you haven’t seen the answer right away?