Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Mount 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 upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
1 Kings 18:41-46 (New International Version)
Over the past 3 weeks, during our 21 days of prayer and fasting, God has been revealing to us His heart for the harvest in a new and profound way. Our nation needs God. In the midst of all the shakings and uncertainty at this time, in what looks like a very barren and dry season in the natural, He is calling us to be a people who, like Elijah, go up the mountain and pray until we see a cloud as small as a man’s hand appear on the horizon.
Desperate times need a faith-filled people. This is not a time to shrink back or to be passive but to press into God to see the release of what He has been speaking prophetically about. Elijah picked up something in the heart of God which Ahab was blind to, and when he saw it begin to materialise in the natural he tucked in his cloak and ran.
In this season God wants us to make sure that everything in our lives is tucked in so that there’s nothing flapping around us to cause us to be distracted or hindered. As God releases His Spirit in a fresh way He wants us to be free to move with Him at a pace which we’ve not done so before and to see the supernatural overtake the natural just like Elijah outrunning Ahab’s chariot in the power of the Spirit.
But what is this rain, and why is God sending it?
“You heavens above, rain down My righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.”
Isaiah 45:8 (New International Version)
God wants to shower the earth with His righteousness so that salvation springs up in people’s lives. This year is all about the harvest - about seeing people saved and born again. We're not here for ourselves - we exist as a Church for those who do not yet know Him.
Towards the end of the fast, Pastor Colin shared with us a picture that God had shown him about a desert or wilderness suddenly coming alive in a mass of stunning flowers as the seeds which had laid dormant beneath the surface received the life-giving power of the rain. Isaiah prophesied about an event just like this in the first part of chapter 35.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendour of our God.
Isaiah 35:1-2 (New International Version)
Every seed that we've sown, all the years of plowing the ground in prayer and getting things ready has led us to this point where now God wants to pour out His rain on our parched ground so that we see the harvest He has promised us.
We’re coming into an unprecedented time. The word unprecedented means something without previous instance, something unparalleled, something never experienced or known before. God is taking us into a season where what He wants to do will be beyond what we can even ask or imagine.
One of the other prophetic words given to us over this time was that God was bringing about a new dispensation – a divine ordering of the affairs of the world. We’re living in a divinely appointed time and as the rain begins to come God wants to reorder things in our nation.
Isaiah 6:3 says, “Holy, holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” Now is the time to see the glory of God shape our nation in the way that He intends. Over the last three weeks we have been meeting with God in His glory as well as spending time going through scriptures that speak about His glory. God reigns in heaven in majestic glory, He has put this glory in us and now He wants to reveal His glory in the nation. Psalm 85:9 says that “Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in the land.”
These 21 days have been about going up the mountain and positioning ourselves before God to see as He sees and to begin to birth what He wants to release over our region and the nation. So much of what God wants to do must first be birthed in prayer. So this is not a time to take our foot off the accelerator or to allow things to creep back into our lives that we shook off over the past few weeks but to be persistent in our prayers like Elijah was until we see it come to pass.
Just like in the parable Jesus spoke of with the 10 virgins (see Matthew 25:1-13), we are to live ready for His return with our wicks trimmed, our vessels full of oil and our eyes watchful for His coming. Don't allow yourself to be hindered or distracted in any way from what God is doing at this time and don't give any ground to the enemy.
There's a song by Elevation Worship that we've been using recently in response to what God is doing. If you've not heard it before have a listen and let God speak to you as you meet with Him in worship.
Hear the Word roaring as thunder
With a new future to tell
For the dry season is over
There is a cloud beginning to swell
To the skies heavy with blessing
Lift your eyes offer your heart
Jesus Christ opened the heavens
Now we receive the Spirit of God
We receive Your rain
We receive Your rain
Every seed buried in sorrow
You will call forth in its time
You are Lord, Lord of the harvest
Calling our hope now to arise
And with great anticipation
We await the Promise to come
Everything that You have spoken
Will come to pass, let it be done!
Elevation Worship - There is a Cloud
We've seen the first drops of rain begin to fall and now we want to see a steady rainfall. Let's continue to push into God, give ourselves to prayer and run with God into the harvest that's waiting for us so that “the whole earth is full of His glory.”