Summary: Once we deal with the sin that is causing the problem, we will remove the hindrance to the blessing.
And the rain came.
First Kings 18:41 -- 46. 06/30/04
When we come to these vs. in chapter 18 of first Kings we find that God has been proclaimed as God and the 450 prophets of Baal have been slain. God can now bless the land. Rain is on the way. The drought is about to be over because rain is on the way. And this is because Israel has dealt with the cause of the drought. It is always this way. Once we deal with the sin that is causing the problem, we will remove the hindrance to the blessing. But we have a tendency to try a multitude of ways to obtain the blessing without removing the hindrance. Listen, we cannot tolerate the virus and still and enjoy good health.
Few days in the history of Israel stand out like this one that took place on Mount Carmel. God answered by fire and tremendous proof of the validity of God and the falseness of the gods Baal. The people responded by giving praise to God and helped Elijah slay the prophets of Baal. Before many of them would reach their home, rain was going to fall from the sky.
We can only speculate what the people of Israel would do when the rain began falling but we know with certainty what Elijah and Ahab did. We can also learn some valuable lessons from this.
I want us to notice first of all THE PASSIONS OF THE FLESH.
After the way things worked out the way they did on Mount Carmel with the fire, the sacrifice, the 450 prophets of Baal slain, it would seem Elijah would turn to the people and say is there any more business that we need to take care of? Ahab said nothing even when the 450 prophets of Baal looked to him for help. After all he was the King.
Why was Ahab rendered so helpless in what took place? Because he was a man given to the passions of the flesh. Because he was ruled by his passions he was a weak leader of his family and the society. The drunker, the gambler, the adulterer and others like, may talk about how strong they are but in reality they are weak and poor excuses in leading their families. When the drought was at its worst, we find what made up the man Ahab. He was looking for grass for mules and horses rather than food for the ones he ruled over. Elijah knew the interest of Ahab. After the slaying of the 450 prophets, Elijah told Ahab get up and go and eat for rain is on the way. And verse 42 said that he did just that. Once you think about it, Elijah did not need a man like Ahab in the prayer meeting. Elijah was going to pick out a spot on Carmel to pray and Ahab would have been no benefit because he was dominated by the passions of the flesh.
We see not only the passions of the flesh but also THE PERSISTENCE OF THE FAITHFUL. After the showdown with the prophets of Baal and their slaying, Elijah did not stop his pursuit of spiritual things. He went to praying. He started praying for rain even though there was not a cloud in the sky. Verse 42 says, “he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.”
I like what McIntosh said about Elijah here. He said, “Mark the difference between Elijah’s bearing in the presence of man and in the presence of God. He met Obadiah, a saint in wrong circumstances, with an air of dignity and elevation; he met Ahab in righteous sternness; he said to many ofthe thousands of his diluted and erring brethren with the firmness and grace of a true reformer; and lastly, he met the prophets of Baal with mocking, and then with the sword of vengeance. Thus had he carried himself in the presence of man. But how did he meet God? He cast himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees.” Even though he was a champion, he had a reverence for his God. That says much about his character.
Have you ever wondered why Elijah prayed for rain when God had already told him he would send rain? Even though the answer had been promised, it teaches us that promises are not given to stop praying but to inspire praying.
We see not only the passions of the flesh and the persistence of the faithful but also THE PACE OF THE FEET.
In verse 45 we see, “the heaven was black with clouds and wind.” The small cloud had turned into a whole sky of clouds and soon a great rain.