1 Kings 18:41-46
And Elijah said to Ahab, Get you up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.…
The fire has fallen upon the sacrifice of Elijah. The people are convinced, renounce Baal, confess Jehovah supreme, and evince their sincerity by slaying the idolatrous priests. Now there is "a sound of abundance of rain."
I. THIS WAS THE SOUND OF SALVATION.
1. Rain was salvation to the nation.
(1) Three years and six months of drought brought it to the point of extinction. The heavens were brazen; the earth was scorched. The people were blackened with excessive heat, and worn with want. Their numbers were thinned by death; survivors moved like skeletons on the edges of their graves.
(2) To such the sound of rain is tidings of life. Let it come, and soon, in such a climate as Palestine, vegetation will burst into verdure. There will be "seed for the sower and bread tot the eater."
2. It was a sign of spiritual blessings.
(1) The kingdom of nature was constituted to furnish apt similes of the kingdom of grace. The blooming of the desert after rain is a familiar figure of spiritual revival. (See Isaiah 35.;55:10-18.)
(2) The descent of rain is a figure of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the receptive soul (Isaiah 32:15). Water, a purifier, refresher, vitalizer, fittingly sets forth His energies; and as these are active, so in baptism the element should come upon the person as rain upon the passive earth. (See Acts 2:8, 4, 17, 82; 10:44-48.)
3. Revivals have their premonitions.
(1) The sound comes before the rain. It is heard in the branches of trees, and in the waves of seas and lakes. So is a coming revival discerned in the Church by emotion under the word, interest in religious services public and private, and increased evangelistic activity.
(2) This is first heard by the spiritual. Elijah was the first to hear the sound of the coming rain. It begins in the higher heavens before it reaches the earth. Those who are much in prayer have the sensitive ear to hear "afar off." (Compare 2 Peter 1:9.)
II. THE CONDITIONS HAD BEEN FULFILLED.
1. Sin was repented.
(1) The people saw the impotence of Baal. He could not answer for himself. They were now convinced of their folly in submitting to such a delusion. So it must be with every sinner whose eyes are opened.
(2) They destroyed the authors of their delusion. They slew the prophets of Bash Not one escaped. So in the most complete manner must our evil lusts be slain. No power must be left to them to lure us from the truth again.
2. Christ was accepted.
(1) Elijah must show himself to Ahab as a condition of rain (ver. 1). Ahab so far accepted him as to submit to his directions. But Elijah was a type of Christ, without whose revelation of Himself to us we can have no spiritual grace. (See 1 Kings 17:1.)
(2) Elijah was a type of Christ in his persn. His name (אליה and אליהו) is "My God Jehovah," or, "Whose God is he," expresses the union of God and man in Christ.
(3) He was a type of Christ also in his office. All prophets were types of the One Great Prophet. Elijah, who was remarkable amongst the number, eminently so.
(4) He, too, united with his office of prophet the functions of the priest. He offered up the sacrifice on Carmel. In this sacrifice the people accepted Jehovah as their covenant God. So must we likewise accept God in Christ. In token of their communion with Jehovah they appear to have feasted on the sacrifices. With the burnt offering there were doubtless peace offerings, for these were usual accompaniments, upon which the worshippers feasted. This was the eating and drinking to which Elijah moved Ahab (ver. 42).
(5) Elijah also was a type of Christ in his character of Intercessor. While Ahab and his people were partaking of the peace-offerings, "Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees." He bowed reverently in prayer with his head towards the ground - an attitude still observed in the East. So Christ, in the heights, makes intercession for us.
3. The blessing came.
(1) While Elijah interceded he sent his servant to look for the signs of the coming blessing. In this parable, in which the prophet is still the type of Christ, his servant stands for the Church, whose duty it is to look for the fruits of the Redeemer's pleadings. Are we thus looking?
(2) The servant went, and went again and again before he witnessed any sign, in which the lesson to us is that while Christ pleads we must never be discouraged, but "hope to the end."
(3) At the seventh time the promise appeared in a cloud as of a man's hand rising out of the sea, which was to be followed by others in rapid succession until the heavens were "black with clouds and wind," and the thirsty earth was visited with copious showers of refreshing rain. This was prophetic of that seventh time, or "fulness of time," when the hand of God shall act in the sea, or among all nations, and raise that "plentiful shower "which shall refresh His weary inheritance (Psalm 68:9). Meanwhile Elijah sent his servant to Ahab, saying, "Harness the horses, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not."
(4) Now the parable is changed. Ahab, the king of Israel, after the destruction of the prophets of Baal, riding as in triumph, and attended by the blessings of heaven, is the type of Christ. So Elijah runs before him in the spirit and power of God. The Baptist accordingly came "in the spirit and power of Elias," as the forerunner of Christ, in His first advent, to establish His spiritual kingdom. But Elias, in person, will be His harbinger when He comes again, in the fulness of His blessing, to establish a visible and everlasting kingdom (Malachi 4:5). - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.