by Dave Skipper
SERIES PAGE: ELIJAH
PREVIOUS: Track Notes 6: Slaughter of the Prophets
Story Summary: 07 Stormclouds a’Comin’
[1 Kings 18:41-45]
On the basis of what has just happened – the people rejecting Baal and renewing the covenant with Yahweh – Elijah tells Ahab to prepare for coming rain – the drought will soon come to an end at last! The sacrifice Elijah had prepared and prayed over had been accepted by God, and now a new start for Israel as the people acknowledged their true God once more meant that the rain would finally return. But before a cloud is even in the sky, Elijah tells King Ahab that there is the sound of heavy rain. Elijah goes up the mountain and prays and waits, prays and waits, prays and waits until a small cloud appears in the distance, spotted by his servant on the seventh scouting. Elijah tells Ahab to rush home in his chariot as the storm of rain and wind begins to hit hard…
Sounds & Structure
Rather obviously I used field recordings of rainstorms and thunder for this track. I had to sift through quite some length of storm recordings to pick out the best parts, making sure to include a couple of tasty thunderclaps. There are some other extraneous sounds caught up too (including our neighbour’s wind chime that is attached to their front door) which add a human element to the action. I made the overall volume gradually increase for most of the track (you can see this marked as the blue envelope in the screenshot below) to conceptually mimic the storm approaching. But obviously this isn’t meant as a literal re-enactment of the text; rather, it is a dramatic representation of certain key aspects of the narrative, as indeed is the case with all the tracks on the album.
Ok, I should write something about rain, but I just LOVE thunder so much, so here are a few cool thunder and lightning facts!
- Lightning has a diameter of 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) and can heat air to 70,000° F (39,000° C) in a few milliseconds.
- An average thunderstorm produces thousands of miles/km of lightning channel during its lifetime.
- A clap of thunder typically registers at about 120 dB in close proximity to the ground stroke.
(Info source: http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info/thunder2.html)
(Image source: https://stormhighway.com/thunderc.php)
When Elijah poured water on the altar it may have seemed like a terrible waste of such a precious and scarce resource, but his faith and boldness turned it into a prophetic act – a drenching of the whole land, represented by the 12 stones of the altar, would come! And not just physical water with the life and refreshment that would bring to a parched land, but spiritual water and nourishment to a spiritually withered nation. The desperately needed rain was both physically vital and symbolically profound. As God said through the prophet Isaiah later in Israel’s history:
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”
Ultimately the preceding drought, like all forms of physical or spiritual thirst, was pointing even further forward to these words of Jesus:
“Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Elijah’s faith-saturated prayerfulness is recalled in the New Testament as a potent example for us to follow:
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
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