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"And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word'"
(1 Kings 17:1)

Elijah didn't waste any words or time when it came to asking God for what he wanted to see happen. He knew that if the Lord withheld rain, the people would finally cry out to God to deliver them.

He prayed with confidence that God would do precisely as he requested. The key to Elijah's confidence rested not on who he was, but who the Lord is. This all goes back to the importance of knowing God personally.

Our confidence is in the Lord. He is the one who will perfect that which concerns us. Paul wrote to the Philippians that the Lord, who began a good work within us would faithfully complete the task (Phil. 1:6).

The burden for completion of a work in our life is on the Lord, not us. It is He who will be faithful to complete whatever He has started. We need only give Him room to operate.

Proverbs 3:26 says that "the Lord shall be your confidence." If God is our confidence, how can we possibly doubt? So it is, that Elijah can say with confidence that the Lord "before whom I stand" will fulfill that very thing for which he will pray.

Here is what one commentator writes:
In 1 Kings 1:17 we read: "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." Now the Jewish attitude of prayer was standing before God; and so in the phrase the Rabbis found what was to them an indication that the drought was the result of the prayers of Elijah.

In 1 Kings 18:42 we read that Elijah went up to Mt. Carmel, bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. Once again the Rabbis saw the attitude of agonizing prayer; and so found what was to them an indication that it was the prayer of Elijah which brought the drought to an end. "And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, 'Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.'"
(1 Kings 18:1)
A Passionate Prayer
After three-and-one-half years of no rain, God finally comes back to Elijah and tells him to tell the king of Israel that the drought will end soon. Notice that the drought ended upon the word of the Lord coming to Elijah. What Elijah had set in motion by faith, God was bringing to a close in His perfect timing.

We must allow God the maximum benefit of time to work His will. If we try to jump out ahead of the plan, we will only further delay things or become increasingly frustrated.

Chances are that at some point during that drought, Elijah prayed to God to go ahead and let it rain; after all, he was affected by lack of water, too! But we must allow God's fullness of time to be expressed.

After all, Jesus didn't come until just the right time, though people had been looking for Him for centuries.

Not Just His Rain, But His Reign
Whenever we read about rain (or lack thereof) in the Bible, we need to examine the larger context and determine if there is another meaning the Lord is symbolically teaching us.

Rains often symbolizes revival, not only physical restoration of a parched earth, but spiritual renewal of a parched spirit. The prophet Joel spoke on this subject:
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
(Joel 2:28-29)
Rain brings revival. The idea Joel is expressing is that God will pour forth His Spirit upon His weary servants, that they may do great exploits in the latter days.

The latter days refers to the time just before Jesus returns for His people. Like rain, God is pouring out His Spirit upon all people; but in particular, His servants are the ones who will receive and understand its significance.

How gracious of our Lord to generously pour His Spirit upon everyone equally—all people, good and bad alike—though only His servants will be blessed. God wants everyone who is receptive to be blessed. If the wicked repent and receive His Spirit, which is being poured out upon them, they too will have dreams and visions.

Rain brings refreshing. Just as the rain refreshes the earth after a long dry season, so are God's people refreshed whenever He pours His Spirit into us. Rain brings forth new life and rekindles the old life.

God causes it to rain on both the just and the unjust because He loves all people. But the real refreshing can only be received by those in relationship with God.

Source: Pacesetters: Setting the Standard, Not Following the Trend by Benny Perez
Excerpt permission granted by WinePress Publishing

Author Biography

Benny Perez
Web site: Benny Perez Ministries
 
Pastor Benny Perez has an incredible passion for Jesus and it is in that passion that he has been called one of the leading voices to this generation. His ministry has been marked by unique ways of ministering, and God has used him as a means to bring revival and genuine transformation in the hearts and lives of countless thousands. Pastor Benny could be defined in part as being real, relevant and very responsive to the needs of people.
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