Bible Reading: 1 Kings 17:1-7; James 5:13-18
One of my favorite people to read about in Scripture is the prophet Elijah. His story is filled with these moments of great faith, boldness and courage, as well as times of fear and sadness. Elijah is one of those great men of the Bible who we see him at his best and his worst. The reason I say this encourages me is due to the hero-worship many of us are so prone to. If all we read about was Elijah's bold proclamations to King Ahab, and his epic battle with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, we may leave thinking he is a spiritual superhero that we cannot relate to. Instead, we see a man just like us. Elijah was man who prayed, and like us, had to have faith that God would hear and answer. In our passage today, we see the prayer that would forever change the course of Elijah's faith and life.
in 1 Kings 17, Elijah is introduced, and right out of the gate we see him confronting the wicked king, Ahab. Elijah says, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." Ahab is king over Israel, but Israel belongs to God. Elijah comes as a prophet called by God, and he calls for a drought to strike the land. Without rain, the water supply will dwindle and the agriculture will suffer. Crops will not grow, which means families will go hungry, prices for food will climb, and work will suffer due to the malnutrition and exhaustion of the workers and the animals. Life is about to get difficult. However, we see that Elijah will be cared for. God has instructed Elijah to go and live in the wilderness near the brook Cherith, and there Elijah will have the brook for drinking water, and ravens will deliver food to him daily. Elijah has a good setup to withstand the drought, until we read verse seven. "And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land."
James 5:17 reminds us that, "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth." God stopped the rain in response to a prayer of faith. Faith became even more important when as a result Elijah's drinking water vanished. It was a result of his prayer that Elijah is faced with no more water. With his life on the line, Elijah must continue to look to God to provide for his life. In his flesh, Elijah may have been nervous, or even anxious, about how he would survive with the brook dried up. In his faith, however, Elijah knew God would provide for his life, even in a drought.
Application: To restate what I began with, I love Elijah's story. He was a man with a nature like ours, and we see it on display throughout his recorded story. In Elijah's circumstances, faith was needed to pray for the drought, and to withstand him during it. We are no different. It takes having faith in God to pray for something. Prayer is looking to God, asking for His involvement in a situation, and trusting it to Him to do what He will. It takes faith to pray. To add to that, it takes faith to live with God's answer to prayer. God may withhold the rain, but will you have faith for Him to provide during the drought? Have faith to pray like Elijah, and have faith that God will carry you through His answer.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I have faith that you hear my prayers. I also believe that you answer all of them according to your will and purposes. As you work all things together for my good, strengthen my faith. Help me to stay true and stand strong as you glorify your name and build up your kingdom in and through my life. I love you, Father. Amen.