by Charles Woodruff
Elijah 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).
A recent opportunity to preach to a gathering of believers in a Bible study allowed me to comment on these verses. Elijah is always a fascinating Bible character to study. In this case I zeroed in a little on the fact that he prayed, and although a man of like passions as we are, God heard his prayers. Yes he was a man, but God’s man. He was praying according to God’s will. I can’t use the quote of Martin Luther often enough; “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness”. I first saw this quote almost forty years ago in chapter nine of The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink. We can readily see that Elijah was praying in the purpose and willingness of God. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (I John 5:14).
Elijah’s first prayer was evidently that the land of Israel (at that time in spiritual depravity and gross sin), would be punished under God’s judgment by the withholding of necessary rain. “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (I Kings 17:1). In modern language he was telling wicked and powerful King Ahab, “It ain’t gonna rain until I say so!”, and it didn’t rain for three years and six months. It would take an anointed prophet of God, or a fool to get in the face of a powerful king and say this!
Nowhere in First Kings are we told about Elijah’s prayer before his visit to Ahab, or the exact length of the drought, but James in the New Testament tells us the rest. How did he know it? We do not know exactly. Was tradition passed down through the elders? Did the Lord Jesus Himself tell about it to His brother, James? That He knew it is evident: “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elijah sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon,unto a woman that was a widow“ (Luke 4:25,26).
More likely it was a direct revelation from the Holy Spirit to James. The wonderful thing about divine inspiration is that the Holy Spirit can give one writer part of the story, and another “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey so often says. This is very evident in the four gospels where we have the four writers each giving, by the Spirit, their individual view of the whole, blending in harmony with the other gospels to give the complete picture. We do confirm that the Bible is complete -- there will be no new revelations.(See Revelation 22:18,19). The Bible is divinely inspired, infallible and indestructible.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3 :16).
Now, dear reader, imagine this; no rain in Israel for 42 months! That is 3 ½ years! Absolutely no rain! It rains at least two inches a year average in Death Valley, California! It rains about three inches per year average in most of the Sahara Desert! No rain AT ALL for three years and six months. Astounding!
We are currently in a severe drought in the southeastern United States. It hasn’t rained here at home in about three weeks. This county, Coweta, is showing only 0.74 inches for the entire month, and the month ends tomorrow! Nowhere in the South has much more for this month. Things are bone dry. Huge forest fires are raging in south Georgia and north Florida. The thick smoke and smell has even traveled here -- from over 200 miles away! I have never seen it like this in all my 64 years. It is severe, but the drought has only been going on for only about two months, and we have gotten a little rain. What about three years and six months with no rain? No rain at all!
Who controls the weather anyway? I can tell you right now, it is NOT Mother Nature (whoever that is).It is NOT the devil. It is NOT Punxsutawney Phil. It is NOT the Weather Channel. It is NOT some meteorologist. It is God! The meteorologists with all their degrees and worldly wisdom couldn’t get it right last year. For 2006 most of them had predicted the USA would have 8-10 hurricanes off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, yet there were only five and none hit land. There was only a strong tropical storm, which hit North Carolina. This was after the devastating season of 2005 which brought us Katrina, and other powerful storms. The weather people blamed “El Nino”. The same people are saying 7-10 major Atlantic storms for the 2007 hurricane season which starts next week. Almighty God controls the weather. He has from the very beginning:
“And every plant ofthe field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:5,6). Notice it says God had not yet caused it to rain. God is the first cause, uncreated, and eternal, and He is still the controller of all things. “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose ofhim who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11).
He, and He only, gives rain as it pleases Him: “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? Art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things”(Jeremiah 14:22).
He can withhold rain as it pleases Him: “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you (Deuteronomy 11:16,17).
In whatever dispensation, era, age, epoch, or call it what you wish, God’s eternal principles and hatred of sin do not change God is still God.“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and forever”(Hebrews 13:8). “I am the LORD (JEHOVAH), I change not” (Malachi 3:6). God’s immutability requires that He punish sin, either in the sinner or his substitute.This substitute, Jesus Christ,who took my place at Calvary, is Himself God manifested in human flesh (See I Timothy 3:16).As God, He has power over the elements.“But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” ( Matthew 8:27). In his discourse to the people of Lycaonia, the Apostle Paul pointed out that it was the true God who gave rain and other blessings even to those unconverted people. “Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” Acts 14:17). This is consistent with Jesus' words: “ That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” ( Matthew 5:45).
At this present time, there are some in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Florida who are wishing and hoping, and perhaps praying for a hurricane to hit soon with its beneficial rain, in spite of the damage it would do. Millions of dollars in crops are already lost, others are in great danger. What WILL we do if we get no rain for three years and six months? Or if we only get a small amount? You see how desperate people get when there is no rain? Yet, will they call upon God who has blessed us in past days? Most will not! If this drought continues, the Southeast could be like the dry country of Arizona and Utah. Everyone would be affected. Yet, the heathen who hate God will still curse if it rains and spoils their outings at the lake, or the sea shore.
We need prophets today, as W.F. Bell recently stated in an article I have on this blog. He was not necessarily speaking of foretellers, or seers (though I will not limit God and say that He could not raise up such, and He will again in the future- see Revelation 3:3-12). As I understand scripture, this verse has not been yet fulfilled. But W.F. was, I think, speaking of men like Elijah, or John the Baptist who would cry “Flee from the wrath to come”. God’s judgment is coming. I don’t think you need to be a prophet to predict that.. I see signs that it is already here.
God has said: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His inheritance“ (Psalm 33:12). He also said: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17). You cannot tell me these verses are not applicable to us today, just because they are Old Testament. Otherwise How could He judge “all nations” if scripture did not apply to anyone but the Jews? “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-33).
This will sound like a harsh message to some, but I am persuaded it is one we all need. I do not claim to be a prophet or the son of a prophet, but I can tell you what is going to happen to the western nations if God is not pleased to send a refreshing. Forget literal rain. We need a refreshing of revival from on high in this land and others, or doom will come sooner than you think. There are estimated to be over 1.3 billion Muslims in the world today.We used to call them Moslems or Mohammedans. Some call them Islamists. Whatever you call them, there is a large radical core, perhaps the most consistent followers of Islam, who mean to convert us, or destroy us. You say “They can’t defeat the USA, the strongest nation on the earth. Be careful, my friends, for no one thought Hitler’s Germany allied with Tojo’s Japan and Mussolini’s Italy could be defeated, but the Axis was defeated. No one thought that the mighty Soviet Union would be defeated with all their nuclear power, but it was, without a shot being fired from the west. If God wants to use the Mohammedan nations to bring down this land of decadence, abortion, sexual perversion, sodomy, child molesting, murder, and blasphemy to its knees, then He will do it! If you will not worship the true God as revealed in Jesus Christ, then He will send you a false one. Hear me! The once great nations of Great Britain and France are just about to be majority Islam. It will happen here also unless God turns it around.
Why did Jehovah bring judgment on Israel during Ahab’s day anyway? Was it not because of wicked leaders causing the people to forsake God and worship false Gods? Why were both Israel and Judah carried off into captivity? Here’s why: “And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:2-4).
Innocent blood! How much innocent blood has been shed in this land since January 22, 1973? You can see God hates it. If the adult humans slaughtered in the evil times of Israel’s kings were called “innocent blood”, how much more the blood of these millions of unborn children? Where do you think we are today with corrupt judges making laws in favor of sodomites, and against Christians as they legislate from the bench. Not to mention many of the corrupt congressman and corrupt officials in elected government. The majority of the early announced presidential candidates have few principles. This is where we are today in America. Not a pretty sight.
Repent and believe the gospel! Christ is coming again!
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