And he 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 at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.
1 Kings 18:43-45 ESV
One of the missions God gave Elijah was to address the drought situation in Israel. He was to communicate God’s intents to the Israel king, as well as to pray for rain on behalf of the nation. Now Elijah was back at the top of Mount Carmel again, this time, to persevere in the challenge of prayer and faith.
Elijah was definitely confident of God’s promise of rain. The question would be when and how much of it. He sent his servant to a high point of the peak to look out for any sign of rain across the ocean, not once, but 7 times! He was eagerly looking forward to God’s answers! The genuine praying man will always anticipate to see God’s answers. Are we one? Or do we often feel guilty of superficial prayer requests made on the behalf of others that are just lip service without looking forwards to their fulfilment?
The first time, the servant’s reply was “there is nothing” and that was the same repeated report for 6 times. Elijah did not give up or complain but just asked the servant to “Go again”. On many occasions, God’s answers to prayer may not come instantly – but when you know it will come eventually, you have just to wait patiently. For Elijah, it was 6 times over of no answer. Do not lose heart when nothing seems to happen 1 day, 1 month or even years after you have prayed for something. When you are certain it is God who promises, keep looking out and continue looking up through persevering prayers!
At the 7th lookout, the servant reported that he saw a little cloud the size of a man’s palm. This can trigger different responses to different people. Some would talk down on it as a small insignificant observation. Some will regard it as a potential that start small but will bring big results later. Elijah gave the 2nd response. He gave instruction to his servant to immediately inform Ahab to leave the mountain so that he would not be caught in the heavy rain. God’s miracles sometimes start to manifest in small increments, but slowly escalate to a blessing of tremendous size. You will never know until you finally are confronted with a surprise from God that make you drop off your chair! So do not despise small beginning of a breakthrough … a greater miracle is just around the corner, and we just simply need to stay focus to believe!
Then it happened finally – the heavens were full of clouds, winds and a great downpour! Multiplied many times over the palm size cloud! Amaze at God when he multiplied His blessings many times than you can believe or imagine, as in Eph 3:20: “ Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, ….”
- Are you frustrated over unanswered prayers and always feel God doesn’t seem to care? The truth is you may have focus more on the problem than the answer, and short of looking out for what He has already provided in small ways.
- Do you despise the goodness of small favours and always want something bigger? Be assured God knows the vital statistics of your life and will right-size His providence accordingly instead of the immediate upsizing He reserved for us at His opportune time.