Bible is about Difficult Times
We look at one of the darkest periods in the history of Israel in 1 Kings 17. Elijah was the main prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah was God’s prophet during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, the two most evil rulers in the history of Israel. 1Kings 16:30, “Ahab, son of Omri, did more evil above all that were before him.” These two worked together to make Baal the God of Israel.
Jezebel was from Phoenicia, modern day Lebanon. Ahab and Jezebel attempted to kill all the prophets of God. Several years ago archaeologists found a temple of Baal at Meggido. Behind the temple was a cemetery filled with the remains of babies who had been sacrificed to the worship of Baal. Elijah struggled against the pagan religion of “Baalism” and feared for his life.
In the middle of this darkness God sends Elijah. One of the greatest judgments God said he would send against his people if they did not keep his word was drought, Deuteronomy 11:17. Elijah is delivering the the word of God’s judgment against Ahab. As Ahab is trying to figure out how to kill Elijah God’s word comes to him. God tells him to go east and hide by the brook Cherith. Cherith means, “separation.” God is going to separate Elijah from Israel. In 1Kings 18:10 Obadiah, Ahab’s servant to Elijah comes to Elijah and tells him the King has been looking for him in all the surrounding countries.
While Elijah was at the Brook Cherith he was able to drink from the brook and every day the ravens brought food to him. Ravens are known for not being good parents. Sometimes they will just leave their young and not feed them. But, God used the most unlikely birds to feed Elijah everyday.
What Happens When Your Brook Dries Up?
In verse 7 the Brook dries up. That sometimes happens in our lives. Our brooks dry up and we need to know God has something greater in mind for us. The brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. It was not God’s will that Elijah stay at Brook Cherith. God had something much greater in mind for him. Remember who appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration? It was the law giver Moses and the prophet Elijah there with God the Father. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem and his crucifixion. The prophet Elijah was there and Jesus would remember all the troubles Elijah went through to give Jesus strength for his trouble ahead.
There are some lessons we need to learn if we expect God to bless our lives. First, is the imperative of obedience. We see in 17:5 that Elijah went and did according to the word of the Lord. In 17:10 he obeyed by arising and going to Zarephath. Every time God said do something Elijah did it. And God will speak to us if we just listen. Reading Luther’s Works last week I discovered something I did not know. Luther gave a simple way to study the Scriptures. He was into the Ten Commandments. He said that he first meditated on the lesson he was being taught. Second, he gave God thanks for the learning. Third, he confessed his sins in light of the learning. Fourth he prayed about the message he learned that he would be obedient to God’s word.
God told Elijah to go to Zarephath and he went all the way and from Eastern Israel through the mountains all the way to Zidon in modern day Lebanon. By the way, Zidon still exists today and was the home territory of the wicked Jezebel. Note that God did not tell Elijah why he wanted him to go there. So it is with you and me. We don’t always know why God is calling us to do something. That my friends, is called faith. Faith is nothing more than trust. We walk by faith and not by sight. If we walk by faith we are going to sometimes wonder why is God doing this thing in our lives.
The second lesson we learn is the illogicalness of faith. God did not tell Elijah his plan. There will be times we must just scratch our heads and say, “This makes no sense whatsoever, Lord. But, I will obey.” We all have had our parents say, “Think for yourself.” Please don’t think for yourself. Let the truth of Holy Scripture do your thinking for you.
What is God calling you to do today that doesn’t make sense? The first lesson we learn is obedience. The second lesson we learn is that what God calls us to do is not always logical. The third lesson we learn is the enormous provision of God is there for all who will come to God. God provided for Elijah, the widow, and her son in very difficult times.