Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Promise Fulfilled

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 18:44

In yesterday’s devotional we learned about the showdown between Baal and God. The Israelites had turned their back on God and were worshipping false gods and as a result, there was a terrible drought. God told Elijah that if he went to Ahab, the evil king of Israel, and warned him of God’s coming judgement, then God would send rain and end the drought. Elijah obeyed God and God showed the prophets of the false gods and all the people of Israel that day who the One True God was.  After that, Elijah prayed and waited for God to fulfil his promise of rain.
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 4So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “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.”  Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Faith is like a muscle and when it’s stretched and it’s pulled then it develops. And your faith develops as it is tested.  You don’t develop your faith just by going to church and Bible study all the time.  No skeptic is ever convinced or won over by that kind of faith. 
The testing of your faith is more about who God is than who we are.  God’s desire is that we know Him and experience His goodness in our lives. The positive end of a test of faith may not be a change in circumstance but a greater knowledge of God and His love and power in our lives.  On Mount Carmel, Elijah had faith in his God and knew that all of Israel would see his faithfulness.  When Elijah went to the top of the mountain and prayed, waiting for God to send rain, do you think he was worried that God might not do what He said?  He did send his servant seven times to look for evidence of rain with no sign in sight.  But the seventh time, the servant said there was a cloud over the sea as big as a man’s fist.  Compared to the ocean, a man’s fist is barely a speck.  Yet Elijah knew that God was bringing rain from that  tiny cloud.  He knew that God would fulfill His promise because he had faith in God. 
Faith is in our hearts even when we have no sign but we believe just like Elijah did when the first six times showed no sign of rain. Sometimes when we are waiting, and waiting, and waiting, it is easy to lose faith. Then there appears a tiny speck of God’s promise over the sea of doubt and fear, and hope springs forth. Faith is strengthened with every sign that God is with us, and hears us, and will fulfill His promises.  Elijah’s faith never wavered.  He just kept sending the servant back over and over again to check because he knew that God is faithful to fulfill His word.  May we have faith like Elijah.  May we bow our heads and wait in prayer and hope.  May we remember how He has been faithful and consistent throughout history, and in our lives and know that He will be faithful until the end of time.  

And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”  Mark 11:22-24

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