Summary: What do you do when you think you have heard from the Lord and then things start to go wrong? Did you miss hearing from the Lord or are you in the center of His will in spite of problems?
What Do You Do When Your Brook Dries Up?
INTRODUCTION: It is said that “rough spirits are called to rough services.” Elijah was such a person--extroverted, impatient, and a rugged individualist who was not afraid to stand up to King Ahab and deliver even the harshest prophecy from the Lord. When Elijah spoke these words to Ahab, he knew that his life would be affected too. He would be living in the same drought-stricken land as all the other people. His only priority was to speak the word of prophecy that the Lord had given him. What was he to do?
Once the word was spoken, Elijah heard from God. The Lord directed him to go eastward and stop at the brook Cherith, to hide, and to drink from the brook. The ravens would bring food. When Elijah arrived there, he found himself in an isolated place with no work to do and no prophecies to give. True, there was plenty of water, and twice a day the ravens brought meat and bread. Why would God take Elijah, a restless and impatient man, to a place of complete solitude? One reason was to keep him out of King Ahab’s way for awhile, but more importantly to teach him some valuable lessons. He may have needed to become a more humble servant of the Lord. Earlier he may have preferred some other kind of sandwiches, served by someone other than these unusual caterers. It may have been that the Lord wanted to soften his rough characteristics a little bit before He took him to the next stage. God may have allowed extra time for this prophet to pray and to grow spiritually. As time went on, however, he got used to the faithful and constant food supply and began to settle down to his daily routine. Just about that time, the brook dried up. Now what?
APPLICATION: What do you do when your brook dries up? Most of us immediately wonder if we have missed God’s will when adverse circumstances come our way. We go over the details and say, “I was so sure I heard from God. Maybe I missed Him.” We continue to stew and question. What should we do? There are three things we can do.
1. Wait for a word from the Lord--Scripture says that the word of the Lord came to Elijah. The first thing we need to realize is that we are not necessarily out of God’s will when the brook dries up. We need to look to God first of all to see what he wants us to do next. Elijah heard from the Lord, and we can too. The word to him was, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath.”
Elijah had clearly heard God direct him to the brook in the first place. You can think of times when you felt God’s direction to take a new job or buy a house--start on some kind of new venture and things just seemed to unfold very smoothly at first. Then something happened. Things turned sour. One thing after another went wrong. This is the time we begin to wonder if we missed God, if we made the wrong decision. “Maybe I have taken the wrong job, married the wrong person,” we say. Can your brook dry up and you be right in the center of God’s will? I think it can. Sometimes God has to stir up our nest or we would sit at the brook forever. Elijah had obeyed God when he told him to get out of town for awhile and get away from Ahab. God didn’t tell him how long he would be staying at the brook Cherith. But Elijah obeyed the Lord and went there. He made a decision based on the information he had at the time. He thought it was God telling him to go there even if it was a new and different experience for him to be living in an isolated place with birds serving him his meals. He adjusted to this and began to “settle in.” Just then the brook dried up. The Lord wanted him to be safe from Ahab and fairly comfortable there, but it was only temporary. At first the waiting process until he heard that Word from the Lord may have been difficult for this impatient man.
Sometimes we feel that our situations are permanent--both good ones and bad ones--and that once we make a decision that’s the way it will be forever. We especially think this when it becomes a bad situation--hating our jobs or becoming dissatisfied with our life in general. When our brook dries up, it is time to wait on the Lord rather than to make some hasty, ill-advised decision. Our tendency is to fret and stew and question, “Why is this happening to me? Where did I go wrong? What am I going to do now? Is God punishing me?” We use up our energy going over and over the problems--but there is a better way. The Psalmist seemed to know the secret of waiting on the Lord better than we do. Here are some Scriptures that apply to us today as well: