Summary: #1 in Elijah series - waiting on God when life is difficult and times are dry.
1 Kings 17:1-7 – Getting Through Dry Spells
Somebody put together a list called, “You Know it’s Going to be a Bad Day When…” These are a few of those indications. You know it’s going to be a bad day when you wake up face down on the pavement. When you call Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold. When you see a “60 Minutes” news team waiting in your office. When your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles. When you turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city. When your twin sister forgot your birthday. When your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat. When the bird singing outside your window is a buzzard. When your income tax check bounces. When you put both contact lenses in the same eye. Or, when your car horn gets stuck when you’re driving and you wind up behind a group of Hell’s Angels bikers.
You know, we all get those days from time to time. The problem comes when the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, and even when the months turn into years. That’s when things get discouraging. A man in my church in Maine used to say: “My mother always told me there would be days like this, but she didn’t say they’d come in bunches like bananas!”
And when that much discouragement comes, it starts to take its toll on our faith. Often our faith begins to suffer. Not THE faith, but OUR faith. We begin to waver. We begin to wonder. And our faith feels like it’s in a drought. I remember one girl on Grand Manan who really stumbled in her faith after a guy just a couple of years older than her was killed in a car accident. That death just changed her, and her faith went dry.
Well, we’re not the first generation of believers to struggle with dryness in the faith. Today we begin a series on Elijah, my favorite Bible personality, from the OT book of 1 Kings. Hopefully, getting a glimpse of his life of faith will encourage us in ours.
Elijah may have been a hero of the faith, perhaps even looking supernatural. But the book of James, in the NT, tells us that he “was a man just like us.” That is, he was human. He wasn’t perfect. He had flaws. Over the next few weeks we’ll see that. But he also had a faith that can inspire us. And the first glimpse we get of Elijah is in 1 Kings 17, just as a drought – no rain and no dew – is about to hit Israel.
By the time Elijah entered the scene, the Promised Land had been divided. That is, the 12 tribes had had a falling out. Two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) settled in the south with their own king (Asa) and capital (Jerusalem), and the remaining ten tribes in the north with their own king (Ahab) and capital (Samaria). It was to this northern group that Elijah preached. 1 Kings 17:1-7.
So we see that Elijah, the man of God, went to the evil King Ahab and said there would be no water in the land for years. Then, he took off and hid by a lonely brook, where he was able to drink the water, and was fed miraculously by ravens. Eventually though, because the whole land faced the drought, his brook dried up too. Now, he was in as bad a shape as the rest of the land. At least, that’s how it looked.
But even in the middle of this drought, Elijah was certainly not forgotten. God knew exactly what was going on, and how He would take care of Elijah. It’s good to remember that even when you go through dry times, God still sees you and loves you and has a plan for you, even if you don’t know it yet.
So why did God send a drought? Why was there a dry time? In the big picture, this was a punishment on the land because of the king. 1 Kings 16:30 says that Ahab did more evil than all the kings before him, and his wife Jezebel was probably the most wicked woman ever to live. And God sent the drought to punish the king and queen. Now, that sounds unfair to all the regular citizens of the land, but things really aren’t that much different. How many people pay for the sins and mistakes of political leaders today? For the sins and mistakes of spiritual leaders? I mean, it’s not even a leadership thing. Each one of us has gone through hard times because of other people. On the flip side, each one of us has made others suffer in some way because of our own sins and mistakes. None of us can point fingers here.