May 20, 2020, 2:25 PM
“I hear the sound of abundant rain” are words attributed to the prophet Elijah “[who] was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5: 17-18)
Displeased with the King of Israel’s lifestyle, the prophet had declared drought in Israel. “King Ahab, son of Omri, did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” (1 Kings 16:30) He declared, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1) Observe that the prophet commanded the heavens not to send down rain ‘except at his word.’ And that was exactly how it happened. God granted it!
The prophet Elijah had just won a duel against the prophets of a pagan god named Baal, after which he told the king “Go, eat and drink for there is the sound of heavy rain.” He then proceeded to the top of Mount Carmel to call for rain. Bending down to the ground with his face between his knees, he asked his servant to go and look toward the sea for rain clouds. The servant went six times only to report there was no cloud. It was at the seventh round that he returned with the report that he had seen ‘a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.’ How can a cloud that size bring rain? Yet, a mighty downpour ensued.
What is interesting about this incident is that the prophet announced the return of the rains even before praying. In his capacity as God’s servant, he had conceived in his heart that his prayer would be honoured by God. He had the firm assurance of something unseen manifesting itself in the natural even prior to informing the king that he had heard the sound of rain. Such action ties in with the Bible’s definition of faith in the Book of Hebrews: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The element of faith is an important ingredient for our effective walk with God. The number seven in this instance is also indicative of an action that is complete. Remember that it was at the seventh reconnaissance trip that Elijah’s servant returned with a positive report. At the creation, God was satisfied with His handiwork of creation on the sixth day so the work was accomplished on the seventh. The Syrian general, Naaman, was cured of his leprosy, after he was referred to the prophet Elijah for healing. He was asked to go and dip himself in the River Jordan seven times. It was at the seventh immersion that his body became as pure as that of a newborn.
Many things -- for which only God has the answer -- happen in our lives that still baffle us. When angel Gabriel broke the news to Mary, the mother of Jesus, that she was going to be pregnant, her first reaction was, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Mary had found favour with God, to have been selected from among so many young maidens of her day for this purpose. In a sense, the reply she got from the angel to her enquiry was that she had no reason to fear, she could leave the rest in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
The fact of the matter is that God has the ability “to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us...” (Ephesians 3:20) Jesus Himself revealed this truth to us: “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18) When Christ lives in us there is hope for only glory and victory. (Colossians 1:27b)
Irrespective of the number of mountains [difficulties] that we will encounter in this world, Jesus has already provided a solution. All that we need to do is to have little faith to speak to the mountains and cast them into the sea. With faith as little as a mustard seed, we can say to the mountain ‘Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:21) How I wish that like Zerubbabel we could address our mountains in these terms. “Who are you, O mighty mountain, [whatever form it takes] before Zerrubbabel [slot in your name] you will become level ground.” (Zechariah 4:6)
The truth is that faith is cultivated; “... faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Our achievements do “Not [come] by might nor by power, but by my spirit,” says the Lord Almighty. (Zachariah 4:5)
Hymn writer Mary Peters, penned these words in a hymn she authored that when “We expect a bright tomorrow...... all will be well.” How expectant are you? Repeatedly, God assures us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus encouraged His disciples by assuring them that He would not leave them [and us] orphans. He would send them a Comforter, the Holy Spirit; and He did at the appointed time.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“But now, this is what the Lord God says—He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you O Israel. ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name; you are mine.’ ” (Isaiah 43:1)
Gospel artist, Sinach, identifies Him as our Way Maker and Miracle Worker. What can’t He accomplish on your behalf if you arm yourself with faith as small as a mustard seed? Why a mustard seed you may want to ask? Though your faith may be small, it can develop from the smallest seed available and grow up to become the largest tree – the oak tree.
What does this mean? God requires on your part that infinitesimal contribution of just a little faith in order to bless you. Are you ready to put your trust in Him and Him alone? Then you will be able to move mountains also.