Summary: Here are three lessons every believer needs to learn when they are going through tough times.
WHEN YOUR BROOK DRIES UP
Elijah is one of the most colorful personalities found in the entire Bible. Here in 1 Kings chapter 17, he appears suddenly upon the scene, he doesn’t have a huge introduction, and not a lot is said about his life previous to here in this passage. He comes on the scene during some of Israel’s most troubling times. Ahab, the son of Omri, was now king. He is described in 1 Kings 16:30 as having “done evil above all that were before him”. When you consider some of the ones who ruled before Ahab, this makes him very wicked indeed. Jereboam lead Israel away from the worship of Jehovah into golden calf worship, Baasha killed Nadab, Jereboam’s son as well as all the others of the house of Jereboam and ascended the throne of Israel by blood, Omri, Ahab’s father, was the first king of the northern kingdom to pay tribute to the Assyrians. He was threatened by the Assyrian empire so he sough to solidify his reign by foreign treaties with pagan nations. In so doing, he imported their gods to Israel and built idols to mislead the people. Remember that Ahab is described as being worse than all those before him. One of Omri’s treaties involved the northwestern kingdom of Sidon, where his son, Ahab married the princess Jezebel. These two together worked to make Baal the major god of Israel, attempted to supplant the worship of Yahweh by killing all the prophets of God. Some years ago, at Meggido, a temple of Baal and Ashtoresh (Ash-tor-esh) Baal’s wife was found. Behind the temple was a cemetery filled with the remains of babies who had been sacrificed to their worship. Under their reign, it became illegal to worship God in Israel due to the influence of Jezebel. The reign of Ahab and Jezebel was one of the darkest periods of history in the Old Testament. Right in the middle of this darkness, God had His man who was Elijah.
Here Elijah seemingly comes from out of nowhere and rebukes the king. He tells Ahab that there will be no rain, nor even dew according to his word. One of the great judgments that God said He would send against His people if they did not keep His word was drought. Deuteronomy 11:17 And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. Elijah is delivering the word of God’s judgment against Ahab. He withstands the king and is no doubt under the king’s anger. Then the word of the Lord comes to him and gives him direction. God tells him to go east and hide by the brook Cherith. It is interesting that Cherith means in the Hebrew a “cutting” or more literally a separation. Elijah is going to serapate himself from Israel and hide under God’s protection. 1 Kings 18:10 (Obadiah, Ahab’s servant to Elijah) As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: Elijah went to Cherith and while he was there, he was able to drink from the brook and every day God commanded the ravens to bring him food to eat. While I was studying for this message I discovered that ravens are not noted for being good parents for they will often leave their young without, yet when God commands, even the ravens obey.
What I want you to see is this, God was taking care of His prophet. Most Biblical scholars believe that Elijah stayed by the brook for around 2 years. Everyday the ravens brought him food and everyday he drank from the brook. What I want you to see is this, Elijah had it made. His needs were being taken care of, he was hidden, he was fed, and he had water to drink while the rest of Israel were under the judgment of severe drought. However, in verse 7, we find where the brook dried up.
Did you know that sometimes that happens in our lives as well? Our brook may dry up. We may not be eating steak and potatoes every night, we may not be living high on the hog, but our needs are being taken care of, but then just suddenly, our brook dries up. Our job may not be the best but our needs are being taken care of, our marriage may not be the best, but our needs are being taken care of, things may not be the best, but our needs are being taken care of, but then suddenly, without warning, our brook dries up. What we thought was going to continue, what we took for granted, suddenly is gone. Some scholars believe that the ravens may have just brought Elijah bread and some type of meat, some think that the ravens may have partially digested the food and regurgitated it for him to eat. Whatever it was it sustained him for a long period of time but then suddenly the brook dried up. The Bible says that this occurred because there was no rain in the land, but what I want you to see was that God was still in control. If God can command ravens, He could have commanded that brook to continue to flow, even during dry times. God watered a million Israelites and their flocks in the desert with enough water, surely He could have watered one man for a period of time. However it was not the will of God that Elijah stay at Cherith, for there were still greater miracles to perform. Elijah doesn’t raise the dead at Cherith, he does where God is calling for him to go. There were greater miracles in store for Elijah and that was why God was moving him from Cherith to someplace else.