Today I had a question burst into my brain when I was reading about Elijah on Mt. Carmel after the Lord had defeated the prophets of Baal.
He had just declared to Ahab (the king) that he should go down to his camp at the base of the mountain and to have something to eat and drink because he, Elijah could hear the sound of a heavy storm coming.
w that this was not possible because he went back up his mountain and bowed before God with his head between his knees and prayed. We don’t know exactly how long he prayed but we do know that he finally looked up at his servant and told him to look to see if there was a storm coming.
It was some distance down the spine of the mountain until you can see a large panorama of the Mediterranean Sea. The servant came back and told Elijah there was nothing.
Elijah sent him back six more times to look and the first five times the servant reported seeing nothing. The final time he reported that there was a cloud the size of a man’s hand rising from the horizon.
Now for the questions: Elijah had already been told that there would be rain in the land. (1 Kings 18:1) He had already stated to the king that there would be heavy rain. (18:41) Why then did he need to continue to pray? Why did it take so long for God to answer? If he knew, then why did he keep sending his servant to look? (18:43, 44) Why didn’t he have more faith?
Some answers: First, God was stretching Elijah’s faith. Elijah’s faith would not have grown if the rain had come immediately. Faith is the result of continuous belief that God is going to act despite evidence to the contrary. He could not have done what he did after the rain came if his faith was small. (See 1 Kings 18:46 to see the incredible thing he did – by the way it’s about 17 miles)
Second, He wanted to teach Elijah the lesson that it is always too soon to give up. Whenever the Lord tells us something that He wants us to say or do then giving up because it is hard is betrayal of the trust that the Father has in us.
Third, Elijah needed to learn that prophecy is born out of prayer, without prayer the prophecy is human in origin.
Fourth, the Father wanted Elijah to know that prophecy is a statement of faith about something that you cannot see with human eyes but only with your spiritual ones.
Therefore, when God is in something, it is always too soon to quit. See it through.