I Kings 17-19 is the story of the prophet Elijah, described as a “bolt of fire God let loose” to do away with Baal worship during the reign of Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel.
This is one of my favorite Bible stories, and this is the first in a series of posts on lessons gleaned from these chapters.
I Kings 17:1. Elijah emerges from the dessert and announces to King Ahab—“As the Lord God liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
There would be no rain for three and a half years.
God sent Elijah to hide at the brook Cherith [v.3-4]. God told him to drink of the brook, and that He would send ravens, described as “unclean” in the Levitical law [Leviticus 11: 15] to feed him. They brought “bread and flesh” twice a day.
And for a while, Elijah was sustained by birds, and drinking from the brook.
Then, [v. 7] the brook dried up.
Because there had been no rain according to the word of Elijah, who had delivered the message God instructed him to deliver.
Sometimes, when we pray, and then proceed on the path God has laid out for us, we expect results according to our timetable. “I obeyed, and had faith, so therefore…”
Here: God was not teaching Elijah a lesson in obedience, as He had to teach Jonah. Elijah was obeying, and yet, the source of his sustenance, the water he depended on, dried up.
Yes, it was the natural consequence of the drought, and the natural consequence of God’s plan to get the attention of his people Israel.
It was also a lesson in faith, as was Elijah’s confidence that every morning and every evening, he would see black wings flapping in the sky, and cawing birds dropping to earth with bread and carrion in their beaks.
It was there Elijah, was “set aside” from public ministry, dwelled by a brook, in communion with no one but God, with no company except birds, with no songs but a babbling brook.
At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him…Watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet…When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light. Oswald Chambers
There at the brook, God’s appointed place, He showed Elijah he could trust Him completely for daily provision, for safety, for “songs in the night.” Psalm 42:8
While God preserved Elijah by the brook, He was preparing him for ministry ahead.
The first person Elijah encountered after he left the brook was the widow of Zarephath.
God instructed him to dwell in that city, because He had “commanded a widow woman there to sustain you.” [v. 9]
[v. 10-13] The widow was poor. Elijah found her at the gate of the city, gathering sticks. He asked her to bring him a drink of water. As she was going, he also asked for a morsel of bread. She told him she has nothing but a little bit of meal and a little oil. In fact, the reason she was gathering sticks was to go in and make a fire to bake the one last cake she had supplies for.
And then she and her son were going to “eat it and die.”
Elijah tells her not to fear. [v. 13]
How could make such a bold pronouncement to this woman who had nothing?
Because he had learned this lesson himself by the brook.
He knew the truth—God provides.
He instructed her to make him a cake first, and afterward to prepare food for herself and her son.
And then announced: “The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.”
And she believed.
[v. 15-16] “And she and her house did eat many days, and the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail.”
This principle of “preserving and preparing” does not happen consecutively.
While God preserves us (not only physically), He is preparing us to minister to someone else.
Hebrews 13: 6. So that we may boldly say The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
When we are in the dark, we may be slow to understand God’s purpose. We may ponder why certain circumstances have come into our lives, but we may be confident God will preserve us, supply our needs, while He prepares to help another person who is or will soon be in darkness also.
It was never part of my plan to go through a divorce, but because I have, I have helped many people find their way through that situation.
I never imagined my healthy, intelligent, vibrant mother would sink into dementia, but having walked that path with her, I have helped many bewildered people take steps to help their aging parents.
In both cases, God preserved me, and prepared me for a ministry I never envisioned myself having.
Whatever your “brook” is today, fear not. One day you will step back into the light, and when you do, you will have a message for another sorrowing soul.
Very nice devotional. Thank you.
A much needed encouraging word from the Lord today…. Thank you and thanks be to God.
Thank you, Mrs. B.