Check the Sky
by Gwen Plauche
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1 Kings 18: 41-45
41 And Elijah said to Ahab, Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain. 42 So 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.
43 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. 44 The seventh time the servant reported, A cloud as small as a mans 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.
45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
Points to ponder:
1. Elijah was a man listening to God, not looking at his circumstances. Elijah said he heard the sound of heavy rain. Where did Elijah come up with this idea? What was he listening to? I Kings 18:1: There was a severe famine in Samaria when Elijah received this word from the Lord, Go and present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the land. Notice that God had an action for Elijah, which Elijah promptly completed. Interesting that God did not send rain when Elijah completed the request to see Ahab, but Elijah could already hear the rain coming!
It was West Texas hot and dusty in the land of Samaria and God tells him to present himself to Ahab and He will send rain on the land. Full of faith, he stands firm in the presence of his enemy and declares the Lord is God. Then there was the great showdown between Elijah & God vs. Baal & the prophets. (read the details in 1 Kings 18) That was miraculous; that was God. But it did not stop there. It had not rained yet. God said He would send rain.
2. Elijah wanted what God told him to be louder than anything around him. Even though God had just shown His miraculous hand at the altars of Baal, Elijah did not stay there. He then climbed to the top of Mt. Carmel, bent to the ground and put his face between his knees. He removed himself from others, assumed the prayer position of bending down to the ground and even closed out the immediate surroundings by placing his head between his knees to pray through what God had promised.
3. Elijah looked for the sign that God was at work. He tells his servant to go and look towards the sea seven times before any sign was visible! How many times have we stopped standing in faith because there was no earthly sign? There may be reports totally contrary to what God has said. Elijah believed what God said and was willing to stay up there on the mountain praying for what God said He would send until it came through. Note that He declared the rain had arrived once a cloud as small as a hand appeared in the sky. My hand measures 7 inches from palm to fingertip and 4 inches wide. Compared to the sky, that is nothing! That was not a huge thundercloud like we would look at and remark that it looks like rain!
What has God told you? Has he asked you to do something? It might be to stand, believe, speak to that person, or go to Ahab. Make sure you do what God asks. What has God promised? That is what you will press in for.
Listen to God and not your circumstances. Remember God said rain when the circumstances said dust. God may show you other miracles along the way. Hang on until what He says happens.
Let the promise of God be louder than any other report. Sometimes we do not have the luxury of going to the top of a mountain away from distractions to pray. We can, however, continuously pray and put any other report on the grid. Does this report line up with what God promised? We can pray confidently at all times, even when there is no visible sign. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Look for the sign God is at work. Elijah was not weak in faith to send the servant to look for the clouds; instead that was his confidence that it was coming, he just did not know when. He was not asking for a sign, he was looking with anticipation for the promised provision from God. Are you checking the sky in faith? Are you looking around you for the smallest confirmation that the fulfillment of what God has promised has now started?
God operates on His own agenda. The percentages that we quote and depend on do not limit God. Faith the size of a mustard seed will move a mountain. A cloud the size of a hand against a massive clear sky will bring rain.
God does not consult with what man calls knowledge before determining what can and cannot be done. Man can only quote what they know from their own experience or the experience of others. God is not limited by any report.
How many people had ever been able to walk across the Red Sea prior to the Israelites escape on dry land? 0%
The majority report of the Israelite spies into the Promised Land (83%) said to turn back. Only 2 of the 12 (17%) said it was God.
How many groups of 5,000 had been fed with a simple basket of fish & bread prior to Jesus? 0%
The list is endless. The Bible is full of examples that God does not consult with percentages or reports.
In 1987, a baby born with a diaphragmatic hernia had a 10% survival rate. In 2011, one of those diaphragmatic hernia babies celebrated his 24th birthday, to the Glory of God. His name is Ryan Alexander, our firstborn. Our pediatric team had not previously seen a baby with this survive. Nor had they seen the power of God at work healing. They have now.
Our faith in the God of Miracles is not a fairy tale type of belief. We press on toward the goal where God is beckoning us onward to Jesus. We are off and running (towards Ahab or wherever God tells us to go), not turning back (from Philippians 3:13-14 The Message).
Written by Gwen Plauche
Copyright 2011, Gwen Plauche. You have permission to reprint Check the Sky in its entirety only, and forward to your friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.
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What an uplifting devotional! I definitely needed to hear," Listen to God and not your circumstances."
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