COME AS YOU ARE DON’T LEAVE AS YOU CAME
The Prayers of Elijah (1 Kings 18:30-46)
THE CONVERSATION WITH ELIJAH’S SERVANT (verses 43-44)
This scene provides the second contrast of persons. It shows that Elijah prayed in faith, expectantly. He prayed to believe God’s specific promises and with perseverance he continued in prayer, never fainting, wavering or doubting. “Seven times,” he told the servant to return. Seven is the number of completion or perfection in Scripture. It is not a magical number. It simply teaches us what perseverance and unwavering faith accomplish. It is designed to teach the principle of Luke 18:1, “that at all times they (men) ought to pray and not to lose heart.”The need is to keep going until we see evidence of an answer. Elijah wasn’t saying he’d quit after seven.
Another contrast of persons is seen in the servant who kept running back and forth, up and down the mountain to Elijah while Elijah remained steadfast in prayer. The servant is like many believers who pray a few minutes, look out the window and think, “just like I thought, nothing.” Then they try something else and when that doesn’t work, they try a little more prayer. But to pray like that is to be like the double-minded man of James 1:5 (If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.) who asks, doubts, wavers, asks, then doubts and so on. Elijah did not doubt even after six negative reports. He continued to pray. Why? Because he was standing confidently on what God had promised! Elijah knew God’s will from God’s direct promise.
Have you ever been like this servant? Have you found yourself running back and forth, almost frantic because God didn’t seem to be listening? Well, I certainly have faced that in my own life and I suspect you have too. Let me make four suggestions that can help.
(1) Be sure your prayer is grounded in the Word. This gives confidence.
(2) Be sure your prayer is not from carnal or wrong motives but directed by biblical principles. Rest in the intercessory ministry of the Holy Spirit who always prays according to the will of God
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27).
(3) Keep on asking, looking, and knocking in a faith that rests in God’s fatherly care, love, and timing
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8).
(4) Above all, ask the Lord to teach you what He wants to do in you and through you during this period of waiting.
Either the servant was filled with surprise when he said, “Behold,” or it was sarcasm like, “Behold, there is a cloud out there all right, but it’s only about the size of a man’s hand.” If surprise, it may have been like the early church when they prayed for Peter. If sarcasm, it was like the typical doubting Thomas, the “I told you so” pessimist or exponent of Murphy’s law.
For Elijah, as one with the eyes of faith who was resting on the promise of God, the little cloud was just the start of something big. In Elijah’s reaction, we see the expectation of the faith and of a man grounded in and believing the Word of God. He didn’t hesitate. Immediately he sent his servant with a message to Ahab. In essence, his message said, “Get back to the palace or you are going to get caught in the rain and it is going to be such a rain that you will not be able to travel.”Evidently, Elijah expected the ravines would be filled with water and there would be flash floods.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW …