Seven times in all Elijah told him to go and look. The seventh time he returned and said, “I saw a little cloud no bigger than a man’s hand, coming up from the sea.”
There is an interesting passage of Scripture that talks about Elijah, his servant and king Ahab set on a common plain, looking out into the distance. The entire event was beautifully staged – the evil queen Jezebel had already murdered many prophets in Israel and displaced them with her own false prophets of Baal to cement her demonic leadership over Israel.
It was during this season when God told Elijah to get in touch with Ahab, who was king over Israel. One of the key highlights of Elijah’s ministry was calling forth a drought in the land, which in turn, created a food crisis, on top of the water crisis. God demonstrated His power in withholding rain (thereby throwing question to Baal’s power) and after a period of time, moved Elijah to call a showdown with the prophets of Baal in front of the nation of Israel to demonstrate His power through the calling down of fire, and thereafter, completed the demonstration by also sending the rain.
As we follow this narrative, it is interesting to take a look at this entire episode and unpack it from the servant’s perspective. The reason why Elijah asked him servant to run into the distance to see if he saw anything was not for Elijah’s sake, but for the servant’s and perhaps, Ahab’s sake. They were already on a mountain which gave them high ground perspective, so the act of going the distance was pretty much frivolous. And while it would have been nice to hear from the servant that he saw a “gargantuan cumulonimbus cloud of epic proportions”, it was pretty much a fizzled reply after seven times of running back and forth. The size of the cloud? No bigger than a man’s hand.
Elijah was using it as a case in point to also teach his servant – walk by faith, not by sight. All that Elijah needed was the signal – regardless of size. For most of us, we would have wanted the epic proportion sign of sorts before we are convinced that God would move. But this is not how it works with Him.
Dear friend, rain after a drought signifies the beginning of new growth. Growth spurts that will take place because the land is now being watered. Elijah saw that, the only thing that he said was to RUN before the torrential rain overtook him.