Summary: In this second lesson in the series, we look at what Elijah learned at the brook Cherith.
A. During mail call at a Marine Corps boot camp, a young recruit received several letters from home.
1. The drill instructor was getting irritated at having to keep calling his name.
2. The drill instructor barked “You must have a lot of people at home who like you, huh?”
3. The recruit shouted: “Sir, no, sir!”
4. “Oh, so you're calling me a liar?” goaded the DI.
5. As a Marine, the young recruit was being taught to think quickly on his feet, so he yelled out, “Sir, creditors, sir!”
6. The drill instructor had to leave the room so the recruits wouldn't see him laughing.
B. I’ve never been in the military, but those who have been understand what boot camp is all about.
1. The drill instructor will often say, “I’m going to cut you down to size!” And he meant every word he said, and he kept his promise.
2. The young recruits arrive at boot camp as an unorganized, ragtag bunch of seventy or so young men and women of every conceivable size and background.
3. They are thrown together in a strange place, having little real idea of what is ahead of them.
4. But during the months that follow, every shred of self-sufficient arrogance, every hint of independent spirit, and all thought of rebellion are driven out of them.
5. Any indifference toward authority is replaced by a firm commitment to do only as they are told.
6. The disciplined regimen of boot camp – day after day, week after week – brings about remarkable changes in every recruit.
7. The isolation of the location, the absence of all creature comforts, the relentless, monotonous drills, the demanding repetition of inspections, and the constant harassment of the drill instructors yields amazing dividends.
8. Almost without realizing it, while learning to submit to the training and trainers, the recruits ultimately find themselves physically fit, emotionally composed, and mentally ready for whatever they might face in combat.
C. That kind of raw recruit training is precisely what the Lord had in mind when He sent His servant Elijah from the court of King Ahab to the brook Cherith.
1. Little did the prophet know that his being hidden away at Cherith would prove to be his boot camp experience.
2. There he would be trained to trust his Leader so that he might ultimately do battle with a treacherous enemy.
I. The Story
A. Let’s look again at our text for today’s sermon: Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. (1 Kings 17:2-5)
1. As we read those words, try to consider how Elijah might have reacted to God’s plan.
2. In Elijah’s mind, the most logical arrangement, seemingly, would have been to keep Elijah there in the king’s face – to use the prophet as a persistent goad to press the monarch into submission to God.
3. So, it only made good sense to leave Elijah there in the court of the king, right? Wrong.
4. While we might have chosen to leave Elijah there, that was not God’s plan.
5. God had other important things to accomplish deep within Elijah’s inner life that would prepare him for the challenges he faced ahead.
6. So God immediately sent Elijah to a place of isolation, hidden from everyone, where he would not only be protected from danger, but would be better prepared for the mission.
7. For the godly hero to be useful as an instrument in God’s hand, he must be humbled and forced to trust the Lord.
8. In other words, Elijah had to be “cut down to size” at boot camp.
B. Often in the Old Testament the original names of places carry symbolic meanings.
1. This is certainly the case with the Hebrew name “Cherith.”
2. Although no one can identify the location of that brook today, we do know that it derived its name from the original verb Cha-rath, which means “to cut off, to cut down.”
3. The word is used both ways in the Old Testament: as being cut off from others or from the blessings of a covenant; and also of being cut down, as one might cut down a tall tree.
4. And so, while at Cherith, Elijah would be “cut off” from all involvement and activities that were normal and interesting, and at the same time, Elijah would be “cut down” to size as his Lord used this uncomfortable situation to force him to trust God for his daily survival.