Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

A cloud as small as a man’s hand

1 Kings 18:44

Elijah had prayed six times for rain, and still there appeared to be no effect. His servant had searched the sky above the Mediterranean sea for clouds; but there were none. It seemed, therefore, that Elijah’s prayers had failed. However, Elijah would not stop. He had heard God’s promise to send rain (18:1) – in fact, in his spirit, he had even heard the rain, and it was heavy rain (18:41). So, Elijah prayed for the seventh time; and then he sent his servant to look for rain for the seventh time.

This time, at last, the servant saw. A tiny cloud was rising over the sea. Perhaps it had been there earlier, and the servant had not seen it. Maybe the servant was unable to see it until God showed it to him (compare 2 Kings 6:15-17). However, this time, it was clear to him. It seemed to be too small to be the answer to Elijah’s prayer. Elijah was praying for much rain, to refill the lakes and rivers, and to bring a great harvest. However, the servant reported that he could clearly see only this little cloud.

Elijah did not wait for more clouds. He knew that God can use the smallest things to bring about great results (1 Samuel 14:6). It was clear to Elijah that God had answered his prayer. Elijah did not continue to make that prayer – instead, he prepared for the rain, because it would be a great storm of rain. For three years, the land had been dry but now, at last, the rain had arrived.

Next part: Elijah runs in front of Ahab's chariot (1 Kings 18:45-46)


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