There must have been some disappointment in the servant of Elijah. If not, perhaps some doubt. The prophet he served said there would be rain. This was exciting news because the country was suffering from a terrible drought. It would be nice to be able to grow crops and take a bath or drink a tall glass of cold water.
“Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 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.”“1 Kings 18:41–43, NKJV
I am sure cattle were suffering and therefore a meat shortage meant no backyard grilling. But the prophet had heard from God that this would all be over soon.
When we hear such news, we could either be encouraged and excited or live in disbelief. They had been disappointed. After all, they were living in a drought. Would God finally open up the windows of heaven and give them rain?
It does take faith. Faith is not self-confidence, although it may appear that way to others. It is not positive thinking, which it can be mistaken for. Faith is a belief that God exists and that He desires to help those who call upon His name. As a person of “faith”, I do not assert my own will and tell myself that it is God speaking, but I listen for God’s “still, small voice”. How can I discern the difference between the “Voice” and presumption? Because my voice is mostly concerned about me. I must learn to hear myself, truly so that I know when the authentic voice of God speaks to my heart. That voice is completely consistent with what He says in Holy Scripture. There is a sweet spot that when I know, I know.
It takes a while to get to know someone. Even if they want the relationship as bad as you do. We must give and take. We must try not to dominate the conversation, nor be the silent one. But we must interact or, as my wife would say, hit the tennis ball back. When we do, it is surprising how well we get to know someone and how easily the conversation goes. It is the same way with God. When we do this, we are able to hear his voice, know it is Him, and believe that what He has said will come to pass.
Well, that is the conversation Elijah had with God. They talked back and forth often. I am sure Elijah could discern that God was ready to lift the drought, so he asked. He believes that God would do it.
“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.’ ””1 Kings 18:44, NKJV
It took seven times to see a cloud as small as a man’s hand. Elijah got so excited that he did what no weatherman would do—he gave the forecast from a small cloud—“rain’s a-comin’” There would be a huge storm that would end the drought for good.
“Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.”1 Kings 18:45, NKJV
It happened all because of a relationship. Some people want God to be a genie of sorts to grant all their wishes when they say the right words of “faith”. Others are so stand-off-ish that they dare not ask God for a thing because, in their estimation, God doesn’t answer with miracles anymore. The truth is, both need a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. In fact, we all do.
I am not Elijah. I am Steve. I am still getting to know God, even though He knows me. When I seek Him, I’ll find Him, that’s what He said. I am still seeking and He is still revealing more and more of Himself in this relationship we have. Jesus made this possible for all. We can all be in that sort of relationship with God. In intimacy comes more intimacy. When we get to know God so well, when we ask, we receive. Not because of some wish fulfillment, but because we are able to discern his voice and will and when we want what God wants, we get what we want.
Blessings to you! If you do not know Jesus, you can have this kind of relationship. All you have to do is to start the conversation. We call that prayer. You tell him you are ready to stop running and you are ready to stop your life of sin with His help and you believe that He exists. But even more so you want that relationship where there is a conversation between you and Him, knowing He is your master and teacher, being willing to do what He wants as He reveals it. That’s it! In the name of Jesus, you are in the family of God. Keep listening for His voice through the Bible. Get into a Bible-teaching church and begin to get to know your brothers and sisters in this family. Remember, you are loved!