Study on Elijah. The rain falls.
Press Ctrl + P or choose 'Print' from the menu. Then for PDF, On the print preview page under 'Destination', click the drop-down arrow beside the printer name and choose 'Microsoft print to PDF'
Press Command + P or choose 'File:Print' in the menu bar. For PDF choose 'File:Export as PDF'.
You can use google to search this site, or BibleGateway to look up bible passages etc e.g. John 3:16-17
Read 1 Kings 18:41-46
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”42 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.
43 “Go and look towards the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
44 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.’ ”
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 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.
We left Elijah praying on Mount Carmel. And naturally he was anxious for a sign that his prayer had been answered, so v43:
"Go and look towards the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said.
How often we pray and then eagerly search the horizon, and how often we have to admit ‘there is nothing there'. Perhaps we see no sign of a change in the one we have been praying for. Perhaps there is no hint that our own problems are going to improve. There is nothing. And because there is nothing when we have just begun to pray, we stop praying. We leave the mountain top not realizing that God's answer is just over the horizon.
But Elijah persevered. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
Again and again the servant came back to his master with the same message, "There is nothing there". Each time he was sent to look again. But there was nothing there. No wisp of cloud in the whole sky from the horizon to the east, out across the Mediterranean to the west. Not the slightest hint of rain.
What do you imagine Elijah was thinking as he sent the boy back for the second time?
The fourth time?
The seventh time?
The heavens were like brass. The sun had blazed down unrelentingly all day, and not just all day, but it had been the same every day for the last three and a half years! However, Elijah had been given faith to persist in prayer until he had received his answer, and this he was going to do.
Sometimes our father grants our request, and prepares the answer for us, but keeps it back for a while, so that we are led on to a deeper prayer life, which in turn is a blessing to our spirits. So we must never be discouraged by having to wait. Remember Isaiah 65:24
"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear."
The answer to our prayers may be nearer than we think. In this case the physical processes of evaporation and absorption and condensation were well advanced. The wind speed, temperature and air pressure were already established. At last from the very top of Carmel his servant could just make out a cloud on the horizon, a cloud that looked no bigger than a man's hand; and he came running to tell Elijah.
That tiny cloud was sufficient evidence for Elijah, but there was still a problem: Ahab. How could he reach the leader of his nation? How could he break through the barrier in Ahab's soul and show him that "The LORD - he is God"?
Fire from heaven was not enough, perhaps the rain that was about to fall would dissolve that stony heart and cause Ahab to turn from his sins. So Elijah said v44 "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'"
Again a command, again he reminds Ahab of God's supremacy in sending the rain. Elijah desperately wanted him to show some glimmer of repentance, but still there was nothing. v45: The sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
The king left in the driving rain, picking his way off the mountain in his royal chariot, but:
Verse 46: 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, some eighteen miles distant.
The current (2021) records for fell running over a 21 miles (34km) course, encountering heights of 4,505 ft (1373 m) at the Don Morrison Memorial Edale Skyline Race is - male record 02:34:39 (G Bland, 1999), female record 03:09:44 (S Newman, 2000) (fellrunner.org.uk)
And don’t forget The power of the Lord came upon Elijah!
This brings to a triumphant close this part of our study. God has acted in response to the prayers, faith and action of an ordinary man. The people of Israel had been halted in their uncontrolled slide into sin. Sacrifice had been offered on their behalf, the prophets of Baal had been slaughtered, and God's blessing was even now being demonstrated in the return of the rain.
So we can turn confidently to the next chapter in the story of the people of Israel.
But that will have to wait until next time . . . .