Elijah exercised the power of prayer. He closed and opened the heavens, called down fire, and parted waters with his mantle. A man of action who brought entire governments under his spell, he stood on Mt. Carmel and mocked the prophets of Baal, killing them right under the king’s nose.
This mighty man entered God’s throne room seven times, earnestly praying for rain. Seven times Elijah talked to God about this one need. A little cloud appeared, and the prophet, who three and a half years before had closed the heavens and caused a terrible drought, now opened the heavens and “an abundance” of rain fell.
Elijah was flushed with victory. A great spiritual awakening was about to take place. The fire of God had fallen and miracles had been witnessed by multitudes. It had been an unbelievable display of God’s power. Elijah thought, “Now, even Jezebel will repent! Even she cannot dismiss these signs and wonders. This is God’s hour for this nation.”
What a shock he got. Jezebel was not at all impressed with miracles and power and she said to Elijah, “By tomorrow at this time, I will kill you just like you killed my priests.”
The next time we see this great man of power and action, he is hiding in a cave on Mount Horeb almost 200 miles away.
What a sight! Forty days and forty nights he spent brooding over how things had all gone wrong. He became preoccupied with problems, his eyes on himself rather than on God. So God called to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here hiding in this cave?”
With a pout, Elijah answered, “Lord, the nation is falling apart. The entire government is wicked, immoral. The people have backslidden; they won’t even believe in miracles. Society has gone mad. My message has been thrown back in my face. The devil is in control—he’s got everybody but me. I’m the only one left standing true to you, Lord. I’m hiding out to preserve at least one saint.”
Elijah, a praying prophet, had been so busy for God, so busy demonstrating God’s power, so busy saving God’s kingdom, that he had become a one-way servant. He had been talking to God often, but he had done very little listening. Had he been listening, he would have heard God tell him that there were 7,000 saints who had not compromised.