1 Kings 18:1
And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
a. As I said before, it is my opinion that this “word of the LORD” concerning the end of the drought came after Elijah prayed.
1). James 5:17, 18 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
a). the wording, “…and the earth brought forth her fruit” is an indication that the famine was over. This one instance of rain would not cause the earth to bring forth her fruit, it is necessary to see that the normal pattern of weather had returned.
b. This “word of the LORD” that came to Elijah also included the instructions to gather all the prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel and all the people of Israel also. It included the challenge to determine who was God. The whole purpose was to bring Israel back to the worship of the one true God.
1). 1 Kings 18:36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
c. Three years previous to this, Elijah had told Ahab that it would not rain on the earth for a number of years.
1. 1 Kings 17:1 [NIV] Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe* in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
d. There is a Jewish tradition found at www.maryadams.net/classpages/bible/.../example_paper3_midrash_a.doc that gives an interesting spin.
1. “Elijah’s first appearance in the Bible is as a messenger to Ahab, considered the most sinful of Israel’s kings. He proclaims “As the Lord the God of Israel lives, for whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” (1 Kings 17: 1). In the Midrash version, we see that Elijah initially objects to meeting Ahab. The Midrash version states, “Elijah at first refused to seek out the sinner who had violated the Divine Injunction against rebuilding Jericho, for he said that the blasphemous talk of such evil-doers always called for his rage” (Ginzberg 4). The Midrash also claims that Ahab mocked Elijah, saying “Was not Moses greater than Joshua, and did he not say that God would let no rain descend upon the earth, if Israel served and worshipped idols? There is not an idol to which I do not pay homage, and yet we enjoy all that is goodly and desirable” (Ginzberg 4). Elijah agrees and states “there shall be no dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (Ginzberg 4).