1Ki 18:41-45 “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel,” (KJV).
James 5:17-18 “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit,” (KJV).
Water from lakes and rivers evaporates and goes up into the clouds and forms raindrops. When it gets heavy enough, the water falls out of the clouds as rain. Water actually hangs in the air. That’s why you can see your breath when you breathe it out in the cold winter. We need rain to live.
In the Bible, rain represents the blessings of God. It represents prosperity. Rain is a good thing. It rains on the just and the unjust. We need rain to survive. Vapor goes up, rain is supposed to come down.
Praise and worship is the vapor that brings the presence of God. The vapor goes up and fills the atmosphere and the Spirit comes down. Before the Rain of God falls from the sky, something must go up.
Righteousness and living holy fills up the atmosphere. As a result, something comes down. This principle also works in the reverse: wickedness can also fill the atmosphere and cause something else to come down.
When Elijah was told by God it wasn’t going to rain, he went to Ahab and told him that it was because of his wickedness. This was an economic and agricultural disaster that lasted for 3 ½ years. Ahab thought Elijah was responsible for there being no rain. Elijah responded that it was because of Ahab’s wickedness.
When we lose the Spirit of God in a church, we get cranky and complaining. If we stop walking the way we should be walking, we stop sending up the praise and worship. We end up with a Spiritual drought in our lives. Let there be rain, but it won’t happen if you don’t send something up. Before it rains, there are things that we have to do.
Elijah heard the voice of God. After 3 years the Word of the Lord came to Elijah. Now, even though the Lord spoke to him, it didn’t rain for another six months. Six months later, there was no sign in the sky, but Elijah heard (by faith) the sound of the abundance of rain!
Before that happened Elijah decided to have a show down with the prophets of Baal. He challenged them to build altars and the real God who answered by fire was the real God. I Kings 18: 21 “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
How much do we get stuck between the world and God? We have to stop compromising! How long are we going to be in between? We can’t get rain if there is compromise going on. There are NOT two opinions in church that matter. There is only ONE. ONE altar, ONE Lord, ONE Faith, ONE Baptism, ONE God and Father of all…
We’ve got to settle some things before it rains. We don’t have room for two gods. We don’t have room for two opinions. Jesus said you can’t have two bosses in your lives. We can only have one master. You’re going to love one and hate the other. You can’t serve God and money.
We’ve got rain coming, but we have to do something before the rain comes. I Kings 18:22-24 “Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.”
Finally, after a while, Elijah starts trash talking to the prophets of Baal. ‘Maybe your god is busy. You Maybe he’s sleeping. You should shout louder.’ Finally, Elijah said, ‘Enough.’ And he got his altar ready. He dug a trench and poured water so that it was standing and everything was drenched. Then, he prayed a simple prayer and fire came down, burnt the altar, the animal, the wood, the water, and even the rocks were turned to ash. Then, one man, Elijah, took a sword and killed 450 men and threw them into the river. We have to do the same thing in our lives—get rid of some things and decide who is God in our lives.
I Kings 18:38-39 “Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” (v41) “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.” How long will we wait to decide what we’re going to listen to? Somebody make a decision to not serve the god of this world.
God steps into famine and promises a flood. God will promise a flood in the midst of famine so that you will know it’s HIM that did it. Jesus couldn’t do any miracles in his hometown because they didn’t believe. He couldn’t do it because they were bound by their own strongholds. Don’t just be a pew-sitter. Get rid of the altars of Baal and declare the Lord, HE is God.
Duet 11:13-15 “And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.” God’s love is unconditional, but His promises are not unconditional. Don’t confuse His love with His promises. God will hear from heaven, forgive your sin, and heal your land, but you must do some things first.
Deut 11:13 ‘IF you do these things…’ We want all these things, but we want Baal too. We can’t have both. If we continue in this way, we’re going to have some drought. We have got to fight these temptations that we’re giving into. We can’t keep sinning and claim to follow Jesus. It’s time. Make the decision. Right here, the abundance of rain is fixing to fall on those that want to serve the Lord.
Gideon had only 300 to fight 120,000. The Lord didn’t want the Israelites to think they had won without the Lord’s help. So, the Lord told Gideon to tell his men if there were any who were too scared to fight, it was okay, they could go home. There was a mass exodus and several thousand left. Only 10,000 left. Then, there was a test. In Egypt, people worshipped the river Nile. To show this, they would bend face down and kiss the water before they drank it. The people of Israel had adopted some of this and put their faces down into the water to get a drink. The men who scooped up the water lifting it to their lips, watchful and choosing to do anything rather than even appearing to bow down to another god were the ones God chose.
Elijah heard the sound of the abundance of rain. There were some things that had to take place before the abundance of rain. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, you’ll think that what God promised you is supposed to look a certain way and you’ll end up going the wrong way and give birth to the wrong thing. You’ve got to separate from those things which are not of God. Abraham needed to make a decision to separate. God had told him to leave ALL of his family and go where He sent him. Finally, Abraham separated from his nephew Lot.
I hear the sound of an abundance of rain!
Elijah had to settle the score with the worshippers with Baal. If you will position yourself properly you can unleash the blessings of God. If you will turn from your wicked ways, God will bless you!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio on Feb 12, 2012.