Have you ever been in a dry place before? I’m not necessarily talking about a physical place, but rather one that you have experienced spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. If you’ve walked this earth for any length of time, you have learned by now that life is a cycle of seasons and that at some point you will enter into a “dry” season. These seasons are some of the most frustrating, and weary seasons that we all have had the pleasure of experiencing.
It’s in these seasons where our desires and our realities come face to face. It’s where we see what little we actually have, and lose sight of the more that God has for us. Dry seasons can be times where we feel as if the faith we once had is no longer available to us. They can be seasons where the strength we once felt has been replaced by crippling anxiety, and it’s all we can do to hold on to the belief that there is a Peace that surpasses all understanding. Or they can be seasons where we simply feel as if the blessing that we once experienced have “dried up.” Regardless of what our dry seasons encompass, each dry season we enter has one eerily familiar characteristic; they all feel as if there is no end in sight. It’s almost as if our dry seasons are actually droughts, and the seasons of blessings we once lived in are now gone for good.
This is where we find the Israelite’s in 1 Kings 17&18. Check out 1 Kings 18 if you want the full version, but here’s my readers digest version. The Israelite’s were being ruled by a King named Ahab and a Queen named Jezebel. Jezebel had pulled the nation away from worshiping our living God, and instead led the nation to worship a false god named Baal. This led God’s prophet, Elijah, to declare a drought over all of Israel as a means to bring God’s chosen people back into right standing with Him. After 3.5 years of zero rain, or dew, Elijah received word from God to present himself to King Ahab as it was time for the drought to end. Thus ensued what I will call a competition between the prophets of Baal, and Elijah to see who’s god was in-fact the true and living God. Both teams would make an altar for their god, and they would call for their god to send fire from the sky above to burn up their offering. Which ever deity obliged would then be crowned the actual, living God and would then send rain to bless the people of Israel and end the drought… Needless to say, the prophets of Baal experienced an epic failure, but showmanship counts for something. It then came time for Elijah to prepare his altar to the Lord… this is where we pick up below.
1 Kings 18:30-39 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” 34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!
Did you catch that? The challenge that Elijah had placed in front of the prophets of Baal was to see who could get their god to rain fire down from the heavens and burn up the offering, and here is Elijah pouring water all over the altar! Talk about being counter-productive… Some of you are saying right now, “I know, Josh, I know. I’ve heard this a hundred times before. It was by wetting the wood that Elijah proved his faith by making an impossible situation that only our God could show up in.” If that’s you then good! You get it! But I don’t think that’s the only lesson we can learn here.
For over three years there had not been any rain in Israel. Without water, crops couldn’t grow, animals couldn’t stay hydrated, and neither could the people of Israel. Arguably, water was more valuable than gold. The economic principle of scarcity implies that since the supply of water was dangerously low, and the demand rapidly growing, the value of water was incredibly high. Water was the most important commodity in all of Israel, and here we see Elijah doing what?? Wasting water on an altar?? He’s simply pouring water, the most valuable thing in the entire nation, on the ground… If I had to guess, those watching Elijah pour water all over the altar weren’t laughing and confused, they were outraged! How could he give up what they all needed? This is the very thing that everyone was fighting over, praying for, and what the entire “competition” was about!
Again, this is where we typically say that “well, Elijah did it to show how big of a faith he had! He wanted to show just how much faith he had in his God!” You aren’t wrong, but wasn’t Elijah simply showing up, in the face of 450 enemy prophets, who’s Queen was actively trying to kill Elijah, showing his faith already? I say this because if we only see Elijah’s wood wetting as an act of faith, we may miss the key to ending our own dry seasons. You see, what if Elijah poured out the water to show that we need to be wiling to give up what we need, what is scarce in our life, for God to give us even greater provision? Israel was desperate for water, and here is Elijah showing them that if they truly want to see the provision of God in their lives then they need to be willing to give up what they hold so tightly to.
I’m convinced that to step out of our dry season, to drop our drought, we need to take the same approach Elijah did. We need to give up our “less” so that God can give us His “more.” If I’m in a season where it seems that I’m not receiving the love I deserve from my wife then I need to give her the love that I so desire. If I’m needing God to give me strength in a situation then I need to step out in what little strength I have to give. If I need help in my finances I need to give back to God what is already His, in the form of my tithe, and watch as He brings order to my checkbook. The key to dropping your drought is to simply live with open hands. Are you willing to release what is currently in your hands so that you can receive what God has in store for you? We can’t grasp the “more” God has for us if we are stuck holding on to the “little” that we currently have.
Droughts are only temporary. There will be rain. It takes an open hand to receive the blessing of God, not a closed one. Release what you are needing more of, and watch how God will bring even greater provision.