Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.James 5:17-18
Today I want to talk to you about a man who knew what it was like to call on the God who answers. His name was Elijah, and his story is one of the most powerful testimonies to the power and faithfulness of our God that we have in the Bible.
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah was a prophet from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. The king of Israel at the time was Ahab, and he had turned away from the Lord to worship Baal. Elijah was called by God to confront Ahab and to declare a drought over the land, a drought that would last for three and a half years.
Now, imagine for a moment that you were Elijah. You’ve just been given this incredible task by God, to stand up to the most powerful man in the country and to declare a drought that would affect everyone, including yourself. What would your response be? Would you hesitate, or doubt, or even run away?
But Elijah didn’t hesitate. He knew that the God he served was the God who answers, and he trusted God to provide for him and to use him for His purposes. And so he went to Ahab and declared the drought, and then he went into hiding by a brook where God provided for him with water from the brook and food brought by ravens.
But Elijah’s faith was about to be tested even further. The brook eventually dried up, and God told Elijah to go to a widow in the town of Zarephath who would provide for him. Now, this widow was in dire straits herself, with barely enough food to feed herself and her son. But Elijah had faith that God would provide for them all, and he declared that God would multiply the oil and flour so that they would never run out.
And that’s exactly what happened. Day after day, the oil and flour never ran out, just as Elijah had declared. And the widow and her son were sustained by the provisions supplied by God.
But Elijah’s greatest test was yet to come. In 1 Kings 18, we read about the showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Elijah challenged the people to choose whom they would serve, the God of Israel or the false god Baal. The prophets of Baal tried for hours to get their god to answer with fire, but of course, he remained silent.
Then Elijah called on the Lord. He prayed a simple prayer, asking God to show His power and to turn the hearts of the people back to Him. Elijah was answered in a spectacular way, God sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice and the altar and to show once and for all that He is the one true God.
This is the God we serve. The God who answers our prayers, who provides for our needs, who sustains us through the most difficult circumstances. Elijah knew this God intimately, and he trusted Him completely. And we can do the same, knowing that the same God who answered Elijah’s prayers is the same God who hears and answers our prayers today.
Just as Elijah, we should be standing firm in our faith and trust in the God who answers. Let us call on Him in times of need, and let us declare His power and faithfulness to those around us. For the God who answered Elijah’s prayers is the same God who will answer ours, if we only have the faith to call upon Him.