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Sabbath Mornings @ Ballymacashon – 1 Kings 17:2-8

15/09/2012

Elijah 2 – What happens when your brook dries up?

Text: 1st Kings 17:2-8a

Now that Elijah has confronted Ahab, what happens next? Does God reward him? You would think that God has something important for him to do… He has, but it might not be what we would think!

1. God’s Strict Command! And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
God sends Elijah out into the wilderness! There could be three reasons for this!

a) Elijah needed to know the sanctifying work of the Lord in his own life! The word Cherith literally means ‘cutting down to size.’ Elijah needed to go to Cherith to be cut down to size, to be kept humble before the Lord.
b) God’s chastening of the nation must run its course! This was perhaps intended as a judgment to the people. This is Matthew Henry’s view – that God in his wisdom had decided that the land should suffer for 3½ years – regardless of what we might think, that’s what God had ordained, and that’s what must happen.
c) It could have been for Elijah’s own safety! Sometimes, when we don’t understand why strange things happen, we can’t see the full picture. God does, and sometimes these things are for our own good, even though we may not know it. 2 Kings 9:6-7 Jezebel was a murderous woman, and she had been engaged in a systematic execution of the workers of the Lord in Israel. What would she have done to Elijah if she had got her hands on him?

But this story gets stranger still. Notice…

2. God’s Strange Provision! And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook
God gave Elijah this very marvellous promise. In the midst of the deprivation of the drought, God would make a miraculous provision of supply for his faithful servant.
• He would have water. There would be this tiny little stream of pure fresh water, flowing in the midst of the drought, and Elijah’s thirst would be quenched by it! We live in a barren land today. We need like Elijah to learn to drink from the living river of life giving water that flows from God through Christ!
• He would have meat. God would command the ravens to bring meat, and to drop it down beside Elijah, so that he would have fresh meat to eat every day! In fact, they brought him meat twice a day! Now this is really something.
o Ravens eat rotten meat, not fresh meat. Yet for a long time Elijah was brought good life-sustaining fresh meat by birds whose nature was to do otherwise! Don’t you know that with God, all things are possible!
o Ravens are unclean birds! Leviticus 11:13-19 Would God use an unclean bird to feed his servant? In the Bible we learn that God can use even the most wicked men to accomplish his purposes. Read Habakkuk.
o Ravens are greedy birds! Ornithologists will tell you that the raven sometimes won’t even feed its young, so greedy is this bird! The chicks are left to starve while the adult birds hunt and eat.
o There was no fresh meat, yet these ravens were guided to fresh meat twice a day. The only place that there was fresh meat at that time was on the table of the richest, most powerful man in the kingdom – Ahab the king! Wouldn’t that be a marvellous irony! God sends a drought to punish the nation for its rejection of his law, then takes the bread and meat from off the king’s table to sustain his servant through the drought.
All Elijah had to do was to trust the Lord and take him at his word, and he would have sufficient for his needs! At Cherith, Elijah’s faith was tested and Elijah has passed the first test. He’s trusted the Lord, and has gone to Cherith, and is being fed well, and has a lovely fresh stream from which to drink. Then, something very strange happened…

3. God’s Sudden Testing! And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came unto him,
Now, here’s the real test. God had promised a supply of water, and Elijah had trusted God, and suddenly, God withdrew the practical outworking of his promise! The brook dried up! Note:-

• It was God’s doing! The Bible says, “It came to pass.” Now that doesn’t mean that it just happened, or that there was some element of luck or chance. God had ordained that the Brook would dry up, and he had ordained it so for a reason. It was time for Elijah to move on from that place, and time for God to reveal his glory in Elijah’s life in another place.
• It was Elijah’s doing! The reason that the brook dried up is given in our verse! ‘Because there was no rain!’ Elijah actually was suffering because of the efficacy of his own prayer!
• God was in control! That’s a fact that must bring us great comfort, even when we go through times when we can’t understand why strange things happen, even when we suffer, even when the future looks dark. God is in control!
So the Brook dried up, and Elijah had to leave Cherith; it was time for more action in the face of the great apostasy of the day.

Note the lessons of this narrative:
• Elijah heard the voice of the Lord. God’s people never act hastily, what would have happened if he’d left the brook too early? Would he have missed the Lord’s command?
• God’s only gives us work to do, after we have fulfilled the task that he has already given. It’s after you have done your duty, obeyed the Lord, that God’s word comes!
• God’s guidance only comes one step at a time. God never gave Elijah a 3½ year plan! He guided him just as he needed guidance!

From → Sermon Notes

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