The Rain is Coming
Pastor Keith Williams
Sunday, March 11, 2018
1 Kings 18:41-45
41Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.”
Heavenly Father, I thank you and I praise you for the reading of your word. I thank you Father God that your word is alive, it’s living. And Father it will return unto you void. But it shall accomplish that in which you set it for and what pleases you in our lives. I thank you, Father God for the opportunity that you have given me to share your precious word. I pray that you give me the mind of Jesus Christ that you speak through me through the Holy Spirit. I thank you and I praise you for it in Jesus name, Amen.
Hallelujah. You may be seated.
This morning I believe that God has given me a word of encouragement for us. A word of hope. A word of faith. I like faith, because without faith we can’t please God. So you can have everything else in your life, but if you don’t have faith then it’s impossible, the Bible says, to be able not just to please Him, to serve Him. But you know if you serve God, that pleases Him. If you’re serving God, if you’re living for God, if you’re doing everything in your life to be a Christian, to do what God has called you to do, or asked you to do, then God is pleased with you. If you spend time in His word and time on your knees, God is pleased with you. But you have to have faith, you yourself have to believe. I read that scripture last week of Hebrews 11 chapter 1, which is our faith scripture. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
The title of my message today is “The Rain is Coming”, the rain is coming. You know we see drought. We see times that is seems like nothing happens. You know with drought when it starts everything is still green, everything is still growing. But as the drought keeps going and lasting, as long as that drought goes everything gets drier, and drier and drier. As it gets drier everything starts to die. I come from Texas, from West Texas, where they don’t get a lot of rain. And everything there, unless you water it, it dies in a hurry. It’s just like here, when spring comes, as spring is coming right now, things are going to start to green up. The trees are going to bloom. You’re going to drive towards Lander, towards the mountain, and the mountainside’s going to be as green as it can be. But come August, September, you’re going to drive towards that mountain and it’s going to be dry, and dead. Dry looking as it can be. Unless we get rain, but normally we don’t in that time between spring and fall, normally there’s not a lot of rain here. But the only thing in West Texas that lives when there’s no rain, and can live for long periods of time without rain, are mesquites. If you don’t know what a mesquite is, it’s a bush, and it has about 2 inch thorns on it. And it’s the only thing, all the years I’ve lived there, and during all the 100/110 degree temperatures and no rain, that’s the only thing I’ve ever seen stay green. They have roots that go down so far you can’t dig them up and you can’t kill them. Everything else dies because of the lack of rain.
We see that in our own lives sometimes. We definitely see it in our spiritual lives sometimes. Even in our churches sometimes. I think we’ve seen it, and are seeing it, in this church. But brothers and sisters, my encouragement to you this morning is the rain’s gonna come. And the rain is coming. But we have to have, and we need faith. I like the Good News Bible. I don’t have the Good News Bible but I have it in my app, on my phone. I going to buy me one. I like my phone but I like this better. I like to be able to sit down and read it off the page. It says in there “To have faith is to be sure of the things that we hope for.” To have faith is to be sure of what we are hoping for. Brothers and sisters, don’t be a maybe. Some of us don’t like to make decisions sometimes. Me and Kim, we’re really bad. We’ll say “Where do you want to go eat at?”, “Oh I don’t care, it doesn’t matter to me.” Then we’ll say, “Well let’s go to this place.”, “Oh I don’t really want that place.” But we never want to decide, we try to leave it up to somebody else. So what he’s saying here is Make a decision, be sure of what you really want. Spiritually, biblically we need to take verses, take this Bible, and as we’re living it the decisions that we should be making our spiritual decisions for our own lives. We need to decide what we want, and what we want to see.
They needed rain. Elijah prayed three and a half years earlier, he prayed that the rain would stop, and the rain stopped. But they needed a rain, it was coming to a point in time where all the brooks were dried up. Even the brook that God sent Elijah to when the drought first started He sent him to a brook and Elijah stayed there and drank from the brook and lived at that brook until it dried up. So when it dried up He sent him somewhere else. But brothers and sisters when the rain quits, pretty soon you have to have a rain to bring it back to life. In Africa, they have a dry season and it dies, everything dies, everything dries up. All the animals are searching for water. If you’ve watched National Geographic you can see that animals are even dying because of the lack of water. That ground, there’s not a piece of grass on it, there’s big huge cracks in it. Because all the moisture has been sucked up out of it, and there’s nothing left. But they have to have a rain or everything will die. If you don’t have water, you die. And then the rainy season in Africa hits. And it pours, it just belly gushes. It just comes down, it pours and fills the streams and the lakes and the rivers back up. You know what, from a dry, crumbly, cracked ground, all of sudden there’s grass, there’s flowers, there’s life. There’s life.
So faith is being sure of what you’re hoping for, and being certain of the things we cannot see. When you pray do you pray for things that you do not yet see? Everybody does. If I’m sick I pray for healing, even though I don’t see it right now. If I’ve seen it why do I need to pray for it? So, if there’s something you don’t have, or something that you need, or something that’s going on in your life you bring it up before God and you ask Him for it. But you have to have confidence, that even though you don’t see it, you’re asking the Creator for it, that He is going to provide it. You have to know that certainty. The only way to have that certainty is to know that it is said within His word. We have to have faith. My hope is to see my life change. To see my life grow. My hope as a pastor is to see this church grow. Is to see that you are being fed. Is to see that you are experiencing the presence and the anointing of God. As an individual it is my desire, as we sang that song this morning, I want to have a desperation for God. That’s my prayer, that’s my hope, that’s my faith, is that my life will always be hungry for God. And it will grow, and change.
How many of you this morning share that same hope? I want you to know this morning, the rain is coming. There may not be a cloud in the sky, but the rain is still coming. There’s three things I want to look at real quickly this morning, that Elijah did before the rain came.
1. He Spoke It:
1 Kings 18:41 says Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”
There is a sound of abundance of rain. He spoke what he wanted to happen, what he believed in. Really if you go to the very beginning of chapter 18 in the first verse there it says that God told him the rain was going to come. So Elijah believed God. And he spoke what God had told him. But Elijah spoke in faith. He didn’t say ‘I see that the rain is coming’, he says ‘I hear an abundance of rain’. How many of you can hear the voice of God? We all can. We all can. We all can hear that still, quiet voice with inside of us when we pray, or when we meditate upon Him. God speaks to you. And he speaks to you through that still, small voice. He speaks to you through this word. This is His written word. You don’t add to it, you don’t take anything away from it. This is what God has spoken. And everything within our life and everything upon this earth is in here. Every situation, whatever you’re going through. Every dry time that we experience. Everything is right there. God speaks to you, He speaks to you. You can read the same verse and each time you read that verse, it can show you, or teach you something different. That’s why we say that the Word of God is alive. It’s alive. Because it deals with your situation, it deals with your life as you are at that moment.
I’ve preached on this before, but not in this way. I did not see what I’m showing you today, what Elijah did before the rain came. So each time God gives something different because of the times that we’re living in or the things that we’re going through. That’s why the Word of God is alive. Because what God shows you may be something different. It doesn’t change the meaning of it. But it’s still something different than what He’s showing me. And so that’s what makes it unique. That’s what makes it alive. You can read any other book in the world and it will not do that for you. It does not change. It’s not alive. But God’s Word is alive. It changes.
Elijah spoke it, he spoke what God had told him. He spoke the word, even before there was a cloud in the sky. Even before the first drop ever hit the earth. Elijah spoke it. He spoke the Word of God.
Romans 4:17 says “As it is written, I have made you father of many nations,” it’s talking about Abraham, “in the presence of Him whom he believed.” God, Abraham believed God. God told Abraham several years before he had Isaac that he was going to have a child and he would be the father of many nations. “God, who gives life to the dead,” this is God, “and calls those things which do not exist as though they did,” that’s faith. He called those things as though they were. There was nothing here before God spoke it. There was nothing in the heavens before God spoke it. There was no earth before God spoke it. There was no grass, trees or anything before God spoke it. He called it. Brothers and sisters that’s faith.
If we want to see rain in our life, then brothers and sisters start speaking the positive Word of God in your life. Even though your eyes can’t see it. Even though your physical ears can’t hear it. If you speak it, if you believe it, if you set it forth in motion, the Bible says that our mouth either brings life, or it brings death. It brings blessing, or it brings cursing. Elijah spoke what God had told him, to Ahab. He told the king, “I hear abundance of rain”. God opened his ears to hear because he stepped out in faith and he spoke what God told him to the king. You need to speak, you need to bring forth the Word of God. Who, in hope, believed so that he became the father of many nations according to what was, what, spoken. According to what God had spoken. Abraham became the father of many nations. Speak the Word of God. Speak it.
2. He Prayed
1 Kings 18:42 says “So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel,” which is a mountain, “then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees.”
He prayed. He spoke it, and then he went before God and he prayed. God already told him he was going to bring the rain. But yet, Elijah got on his knees and started praying. God did not tell Elijah when he was going to bring the rain. He just said, “I’m going to bring the rain.” Then Elijah told the king, “I hear an abundance of rain.” Speaking in faith. And then he went before God, and he prayed God to bring the rain. He prayed God to bring the rain. He got down on his knees, he put his head between his knees, he got down on the ground and put his head between his knees and started praying. Started asking God. Brothers the Bible says that God knows what you have need of even before you ask, but He still wants you to ask. He still wants you to ask. That’s why it says, “You have not because you” what? “ask not.” So God still wants you to make your request. It says to bring your request before God. You need to bring your request before God. Even though God knows it. Maybe even though God’s already told you that He’s going to fulfill it. He still wants you to come and pray.
James 5:17 – “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” In other words, he’s just man. Don’t think because Elijah was a prophet that he was any better than you and me. He was of the same nature as you and me. Matter of fact if you read on into 19 Elijah feared and went up and hid from Jezebel, the king’s wife. So he even had fear. So he was of the same nature as you and me. And he prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. Verse 18 says “and he prayed again and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced fruit.” Brothers and sisters the rain is coming and when the rain comes there’s going to be fruit that’s going to be growing. And when there’s fruit growing, there’s going to be a harvest.
James chapter 5 end of verse 16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” You know what fervent means? It means passionate. It means extremely hot, passionate. How many times have we prayed a prayer and not really believed that God’s going to do it? If you have something in your life that you’re passionate about if you have something in life that you enjoy with everything. Bruce’s racing. He puts everything into learning, to practicing. To fixing that car to where it will run the best it will. To make it as light as he can and as fast as he can. Because that’s his passion. And that’s what he’s saying about prayer. If you’re going to pray, pray with passion. It says the effective, fervent, the passionate prayer of a saint, God hears. He wants to know that your heart is in it. He wants to know that your life is committed to it. He wants to know that you desire with all your heart and you’re willing to give up everything to do it. He hears that prayer.
That’s why when you come to Jesus Christ and you pray, the very first time you come to Him and you pray and you ask Him to come live in your heart and forgive you of your sins. He sees that you’re passionate about that. And that you truly want to change. And the Bible says that He’s faithful and just enough to forgive you of your sins. He will forgive you. But he wants that passion. He wants us to be passionate about what we’re asking, passionate about what we’re praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray always without ceasing.” Ephesians 6:18 says “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. Being watchful to this end with all watchfulness and supplication.” Supplication means humility, humbleness. “For all saints.” Brothers and sisters, we need to be praying. We need to be expecting, watchful, looking for. Knowing that what we pray is going to happen.
Elijah knew that what he was praying was going to happen. It took seven times, it took a little while before that cloud started coming up. I imagine his servant was getting tired running back and forth to the coast to look over the cliff off of Mount Carmel at the sea. He’d run over there and look, nothing. Clear blue sky, as far as the eye could see. He’d go back and tell him, “Ain’t nothing yet, master.” Elijah would just keep praying. He’d say, “Just go back and look again.” He’d go back and look, then he’d come back. I figure after the 6th time he’d come back and tell him, “Elijah, go look for yourself, it’s not there.” Elijah says, “Go back one more time.” And he went back, and he saw a little cloud. The size of your hand, just the size of your hand. A little cloud. Brothers and sisters, you need to pray until you get a glimpse. Maybe it’s just a glimpse. But you get a glimpse of your prayer being answered. In other words you get a reassurance from God that He’s sending the answer to that prayer. There was just a little cloud. A little tiny cloud. There ain’t nothing going to come out of that little cloud. It’s only the size of a hand. But as soon as he told Elijah, Elijah expected it to happen.
3. Elijah Expected it to Happen
1 Kings 18:43-44 says “and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 – Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!”
The servant had to put his binoculars on in order to see it. He said there is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea, and as soon as he told Elijah that, he told his servant, “He said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ 44 – “Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds,” out of one little cloud, the sky became black,” and [windy], and there was a heavy rain.”
Brothers and sisters God’s got a word for you today that the rain is coming. He’s got a word for this church today that the rain is coming. That the rain is coming. Elijah expected it to rain. He expected that when he spoke it, and when he prayed it, that it was going to happen. So many times I believe that when we pray we don’t pray passionately but we pray and we ask God but we get up and start looking for other solutions to answer that prayer. Before we even give God a chance to answer it, we already are trying to think how we can solve the problem. Before you give God a chance to even talk to you, and tell you what He’s going to do, or show you what He’s going to do. Before God can even show you the little cloud, you’ve already tried to make a decision on your own. We need to continue as Elijah did, in prayer, waiting upon Him, waiting upon His word, waiting to hear His voice, waiting to see His hand. Continue to pray, do not give up. Even though you’ve prayed for it and you’ve not seen it come to pass. Continue to pray. Continue to pray. Do not give up. And pray until you expect it to happen. And when it gets within your heart, and the expectation and the knowledge of knowing becomes your guide, then brothers and sisters the rain, the answer will come.
Elijah expected it to rain. When he prayed there was not a drop in the sky, there was not even a cloud. He prayed until the cloud came. He didn’t wait for it to turn black, he didn’t wait for it to start pouring, he didn’t wait for the wind to start blowing, he didn’t wait for that first drop before he sent his servant to Ahab. As soon as his servant saw that little cloud he told his servant, run to Ahab, tell him to get on his chariot, and get out of where he was because there was a great abundance of rain coming. Hallelujah.
Brothers and sisters, when the rain comes, it’s not going to be a trickle. When the rain comes, it’s not going to be a drizzle. When the rain comes it’s not going to just last for a moment. When the rain comes it’s going to be an abundant, heavy rain of God, of the Spirit, of the anointing, of the power. And it won’t quit. It will continue to flow, it will continue to move. It will go out. You know as the rain fills the river what does the river do? It goes out of its banks and it floods and it keeps going and going until the waters cease. We are going to see the power of God move, we’re going to see the anointing flow. We’re going to see the presence of God get heavier and heavier. It’s going to be like a cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. We’re going to see the power of God move. The rain is coming and it’s not going to come in a little amount, it’s going to come in a great amount and it’s going to be poured out upon this city, upon this county, upon this nation. It’s going to be poured out within Riverton, within Way of the Cross, and we will not be able to hold it. It will run out of it’s banks. The rain is coming. We need to speak it, we need to believe it, and we need to expect it.
Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray believe and you will have them.” Hallelujah! The rain is coming!
I didn’t know if I would share this or not but I think I will. Last year when I was praying, several months ago, when I was praying about the church God gave me a scripture. Isaiah 59. He gave me several scriptures from Isaiah 59 but starting with verse 19. I made copies of it, for a long time I had it on the mirror of my bathroom and I’d read the scripture every day. Isaiah 59 starting with verse 19, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. 20- The Redeemer will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the Lord. 21 – As for Me, “Says the Lord, “this is My covenant with them: My Spirit who is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your descendants, nor from the mouth of your descendants’ descendants,” says the Lord, “from this time and forevermore.”
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 – For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness is over the people; but the Lord rises upon us, and His glory will be seen upon you.
It says the Lord rises upon us. The Lord is our light. When there’s darkness all around us. I like the word thick darkness. Brother’s and sisters I believe we are living in a time where the darkness is getting thicker and thicker all the time. But it says the Lord will rise upon you.
3 – Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Do not hide your light under a bushel. Put it on that candlestick where everybody can see it. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. 4 – ”Lift up your eyes and look about you” He sent his servant seven times to look. “All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. 5 – Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy;
Brothers and sisters the joy is coming. “The wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.”
I believe that’s a word for this church. We may only see a cloud right now. Maybe we’re not seeing a cloud. But brothers and sisters the word is, the rain is coming. The rain is coming. I hear an abundance of rain. Amen.
Stand with me, I want to read one more verse before we close. I’m going to read it out of the Good News Bible. Habakkuk 2:3 says “Put it in writing because it is not yet time for it to come true.” How many of you need to make notes to yourself to remember. Sometimes we need to put stuff in writing to remember. “But the time is coming quickly.” Amen? The time is coming quickly. We’ve persevered, now it’s time. “And what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming but wait for it. It will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed.” God is always on time. It will not be delayed. It’s coming, if you’re just patient.
Elijah was a patient man. He stayed on his knees and he prayed until he seen God start to move. And then when God started to move he jumped right up out of there and got busy. The Bible says that he girded up his loins and he ran ahead of Ahab. Ahab was riding a chariot with horses, and Ahab was a king, he had the best, the finest, and the fastest horses in the nation. And Elijah ran ahead of him and met him at the gate of the city. Maybe God put some wheels on him. Once he’d seen the hand of God start moving boy he jumped up and got into action. Brothers and sisters the rain is coming. We need to get prepared, we need to be ready. We need to jump into action and start working. It’s coming quickly, it will not be delayed. Don’t give up hope. Amen? The rain is coming.