Elijah said to Ahab, “Up on your feet! Eat and drink – celebrate! Rain is on the way; I hear it coming.”
Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees.
Then he said to his young servant, “On your feet now! Look toward the sea.” He went, looked, and reported back, “I don’t see a thing.”
“Keep looking,” said Elijah, “seven times if necessary.”
And sure enough, the seventh time he said, “Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone’s hand, rising out of the sea.”
“Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, ‘Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.’”
(1 Kings 18:41-44 MSG)
This beautiful text captures for us a narrative of an enduring hope in times of real crisis. Time after time God visits his people in formidable outbreaks of revival. The old adage still rings true, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
God’s people in Elijah’s time were compromised, seeking to fit in to their culture. They were lukewarm and mesmerized by the self-indulgences of the times.
Elijah was aware of a coming intervention of God. The rains had been withheld for so long and were about to fall suddenly. Others were oblivious and, like his servant, struggled to see the rising cloud. Elijah is humbled as his posture reveals.
In the great 1904 revival that hit the principality of Wales, the burden and prayer of the church was incredible. One constant refrain could be heard in the midst of the great outpouring:
‘Bend your church, Lord, and save the world.’
Today, we have clear signs that God is preparing his people for a global outpouring of the Holy Spirit:
- It is reported that from West Africa to Indonesia, some 44,000 Muslim background believers had been baptised as a defiant act of their newfound faith.
- Across the Indian Diaspora there is a surging tide of believers, passionate for Christ, desperate to be taught God’s Word.
- China continues to witness revival for over 60 years; the church has over taken the membership roll of the communist party, much to the annoyance of the political regime.
- Across Europe, 51 percent of EU citizens believe there is a God.
- There are an estimated 2.3 billion Christians in the world today. *
There are remarkable stories of young people being overwhelmed by God’s presence. One person I know came to the church fairly recently, having encountered Jesus Christ whilst driving her car.
Interesting, in the story that we have read, that Jezreel means ‘God has sown’. In my own conviction, God is preparing the world stage for an incredible global outpouring of his Holy Spirit.
Get ready to be overtaken by the suddenly of God’s intervention in our times.
Alan Scotland is an elder at New Life Church, Rugby, as well as being involved in international ministry with Global Horizons. Alan is also one of UCB’s trustees, helping to support and guide the direction of UCB’s ministry.