Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RAIN (04/18/19)
TITLE: Confrontation and Blessing
By Dave Walker
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Cattle droop, moan hoarsely, drop and die; crops wither; wasted hands pick at morsels to place in parched mouths. The wells are barren, the rivers have dried. Desperate children vainly suck smooth stones to assuage their thirst, mothers forego their meagre meals to feed them to their babies.
Yet the nation persists in her infidelity, looking futilely to her adulterer for relief ... and finding none.
Three years. Three long years with no water.
Then the prophet returns from hiding. There is fire in his eyes and a light in his craggy, bearded face as he issues a challenge. "Call on your god and I'll call on mine. We'll see who answers." The altars are built and the contest begins.
The opposition starts. With weeping and wailing, they cut themselves and cry out to their god for mercy and an answer to their prayers. To no avail. Their altar stands remote and cold.
Now it is the prophet's turn. With a word from him, the God of infernos and ice, downpours and drought responds. The offering and the altar are accepted and devoured with a bolt from heaven... and the prophet is prepared. His voice thunders with the power of Almighty God. "Get them. Let none escape." With a shout of victory, the loyal ones set to work to destroy the false prophets and still their useless god.
The prophets of Baal are cleansed from the land. It is a time of refreshing. Elijah has heard once more from God; the rain is coming. But he knows his task. He must partner with God in prayer. On the mountain, he bows his head and prays fervently. After a while, he sends his servant to look. Nothing.
Again he bows. Again nothing.
But he knows the power of persistence. Seven times, he bows in earnest petition. Then on the horizon comes a wisp of a promise. God has heard.
Dry leaves swirl, stirred by a sudden gust. Trees sway as the wind increases. Then, as quickly as it started, it dies. All is still and becoming dark. With startling rapidity, the clouds have come, tumbling, towering, purple and black, vehicles of a billion droplets churning inside, waiting to be disgorged on the earth. Flashes of lightning momentarily light the billows from within and the air shakes with rumbling. A fox emerges from its lair to sniff the scent of rain. Antelope paw the ground in excited anticipation. Anxious faces peering from windows are lit briefly with the flashes that now pierce the ground.
Then it comes. A few drops at first kicking up dust with their impact --- a prelude to the deluge. Like a machine gun's ratta-tat-tat, huge drops come pelting to the ground, to the rocks and to the roofs as the clouds empty their watery load on a thirsty earth. Oblivious to the danger of the lightning and thunder, people emerge from their houses to dance in the streets, hugging one another wetly and turning their faces to the gracious, booming heavens and the torrent of water that now falls in sheets.
God is merciful, wooing His Bride once more to Himself. The discipline is over, now He blesses them as He has longed to do throughout their infidelity. The message is clear. "Cast off the shackles of a life apart from Me. Those who chase after other gods bring many troubles on themselves. Trust in Me. I long to bless". Will they listen?
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Even now, the voice of Elijah reverberates through the pathways of time calling into our present era:
"Put to death the priests of the false gods of this age who promise so much, but whose altars stay cold and untouched, impervious to the dry barrenness of your soul. The sacrifice to the one true God is a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart, God will not despise. Return to Him... And see if He will not rain down His blessings in glorious abundance."
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