“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” 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.’ ”
I Kings 18:43-44
While reading, I was captivated by the story of Elijah’s faith in God, and the servants faithfulness to Elijah. Much was at stake. God’s name was on the line, and so was Elijah reputation as a prophet. He had claimed to be God’s vessel. One that heard from God, and had favor from God. Even speaking that it would not rain until He determined that it would. What would happen? Baal’s prophets were unsuccessful, but the lack of rain from Elijah’s prayers would leave them in the same spot they were in before the showdown began.
Elijah in verse 42 falls to his face and begins to pray for rain. Now; I have never prayed for rain, but I have Believed for a Flow. Elijah wanted greatly for the rain to fall from heaven to both validate that God was God and that he truly was His servant. He understood the need for God’s people and the King to see the error of their ways, and the need to stop worshiping a false God and disobeying and disrespecting the Lord. Elijah wanted to heal the relationship between the people before further punishment came. Well in this, the showdown has us looking at many different elements.
1st, the Confidence to Speak the Word. Elijah had the utmost confidence not just in God, but in his relationship with God. He was convinced that the Lord would not fail him, concerning His name. He knew in his heart, that He could stand firm and that he would be both validated and vindicated in this moment. Elijah fell to his face. He got prostrate on the ground. He humbled himself before the Lord, and he would not leave until the Lord moved.
I thought about my own relationship with God, and my prayer life, for these were the things that allowed Elijah to tell his servant, “Go and look”. Look Again! He saw nothing the first time; Look Again! Saw nothing the second time; Look Again! Saw nothing the sixth time; Look Again! I smiled! It takes confidence to speak the Word! I remember when I owned Creative Tutors (a tutoring franchise), and a friend asked me what it was like owning a franchise. My reply, “There is a difference between having faith to write the check and having faith that the check is coming.” The confidence that the owner has is different that that of the worker. He or she must send people to work, knowing that there trust is not only in their ability to carry out the assignment, but that you will pay them the wage they are due. Each day they went out, my name was at stake, and the Lords name was on the line. There were moments where the Lord had to tell me to Look Again! There were moments where I had to say to the Tutor; Look Again! There were times where I had to tell myself Look Again! Though I didn’t have the personal cash flow at times to float the entire months payroll, I had to speak to tutors with confidence! I had to assure them that the rain would come. I had to breath words of life into their drought situation so that the would know that the rain would come. 30 days never felt so long for either of us. They were eager to receive pay, and I was eager to collect and write their check! Thus, I had to fall to my face and seek the Lord! They wouldn’t give me a small business loan to help float my payroll when the economy got shaky, so I had to lean upon the one with unlimited resources.
2nd, I had to Believe the Word I has Spoken! I knew knew that I could both loose their respect and ruin my name, and that as a man of God, His name too was being placed up for discussion. I had to trust that He wouldn’t allow me to die from thirst on my face in the mountain! I had to believe that this venture in faith together would bring honor to His name and wouldn’t ruin my own. I can attest, God will come through! Though I am no longer an owner, God taught me a lot while on my face in the mountain. He showed me much about Him, and even more about myself! God will come through, but we have to be willing to wait for Him and believe His Word to be true!
I can imagine, like in my own mountain experience, that God was telling Elijah that it would rain. It was this word and confidence that allowed Elijah to send the servant back 7 different times. Mind you, the scripture said the servant “went up and looked”, meaning he was traveling to verify what had been spoken. They were in a mountain, so I imagine he might have done a little climbing. I’m sure at some point, even Elijah felt guilt and compassion for his servants, even grateful for his obedience and service. He might have even thought to relieve the servant by sending him home like he had done with Ahab, but He kept telling him to Look Again! The more times you have to say Look Again, the more Belief and Faith it takes.
In my own life, I have had to speak from the depths of my faith and relationship with God. How challenging it is to speak life to dead situations! To look in the face of despair and still declare! Though the glamor comes on trip 7th, the clamor come on trips 1 through 6. As men and women of faith, we have to face the 6 trips! We have to endure the doubts of others, and the look of being a fool, fraud or forgotten. We must be steadfast and unmovable, knowing what God has said, and being confident because we know who God is! We must continue to believe what he said, as not to stop the flow of what he is doing. Yes, we must Believe and Flow! Trip number 7 is coming, and the funny looks you get while speaking what has yet to manifest, will come; if you faint not and continue to believe!
3rd, I am fascinated with this passage because I too have been Waiting on the Prophet’s Word to Manifest. Man, how powerful it is to receive a Word of confirmation. When you know God has spoken into your life and then He sends a vessel to validate what you already know to be true. I have been in the servants shoes, standing on the vision, standing on the Word, and depending on both the relationship with God and belief in the Man of God that I am assigned too. I have had the light of revelation declared and walked forth towards that which yet to exist, not on my word, but on the Word of one I know to be a called man of God. I can attest, each trip to look at the sea gets challenging. For the Prophet is not the only one acting in faith! The Prophet is not the only one exposed! The Prophet is not the only one that could look foolish! The Prophet is not the only one who’s name it as stake. All of us have fallen to our knees and declared, “God; You said…..”
As servants and members, we put confidence in the fact that our Shepherd are tied in to the Lord’s will for our lives. We are often asked to do that which looks foolish to man and sometimes that which goes against our own measure of faith. We are asked to move in our doubt, through our doubt, and to speak to our faith until it matches our current situation. It is challenging to wait on manifestation! Muhammed Ali said in an interview, He knew his fights sold out not only because his fans came to see him, but because his haters wanted to be there if he lost! I can imagine what the first 6 trip were like. The first and second ones, He was eager to validate while after the third he was hoping they wouldn’t replicate the times before. With each empty sky, I can imagine His faith Skyline changing. That which was once filled with beauty, was not met with an overcast of doubt! Yet, he continued to go and Look Again! Many of us make the first two trips, and make the third trip down the mountain and to our homes. If we are to Believe and Flow, we must be willing to Look Again!
Your situation will change! The rain is coming! I see a cloud in the distance! It’s the size of a hand! It’s going to rain! And because you were closest to the sea, I am believing that the Lord will reward you not only to see the cloud, but to feel the first drops before it pours! Look Again! Don’t give up! Keep the Faith! Continue to Believe and Flow!