And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan
— 1 Kings 17:2-4 —
We are told in the book of James that Elijah was a man of like passions, a man just like you and me. Often times we look at these mighty characters in the Bible and think that they were perfect or that God could never use my life like them. Yet we are told that Elijah was a man who faced the ups and downs of life just like we do. Elijah is a man who , although he has been and will be used mightily by the Lord, still has a lot of work to be done in his life.
Often we read a passage like this and we see God’s mighty provision and forget that Elijah was living this out in real time. Elijah is a jewish man, who wants to obey God, to keep the law and God just told him that an unclean animal, a raven was going to feed him. A raven is a scavenger, a road kill collector. Elijah is going to be challenged about his tradition. He is either going to eat what this bird brings or die. The Lord is doing a work on the inward man. The Lord wants to bring Elijah into a place of greater dependance, a greater understanding of who He is and what His nature is like.
Jesus often did this in the New Testament when He challenged the legalism of the religious leaders by healing people on the sabbath day. People were so caught up in their tradition, that they forgot about the more important things of the law. They missed the mercy of God and the grace of God. The were so concerned about being right that they were dead wrong. Jesus did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill the law. What Jesus destroyed was their tradition and the roadblocks that were keeping people from experiencing the grace and mercy of God.
Elijah is in the perfect will of God and walking in obedience to the Lord. The Lord is providing for Elijah just as He provided manna for Israel in the wilderness. Yet these ravins bringing bread and meat is a challenge to Elijah’s heart. As Elijah sits there day after day, the brook of water that God brought him to dries up. This must have been so hard for Elijah. To be in the exact place that God told Him to go and he slowly watches the water dry up before his eyes. He must have wondered as you and I often do, God what are you doing? Why have you allowed this to happen?
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Sometimes the best way for the Lord to reveal His strength in our lives is in our weakness. His strength will never be perfected unless the brook dries up. So we learn not to trust in the brook but to trust in Him. The Lord is the fountain that never ceases to flow. When the brook dries up it reveals where our trust really is and brings us to a place of greater dependence on the Lord.
When the brook dries up, we need the same thing Elijah needed. We are told in 1 Kings 17:8 that it was when the brook dried up that the word of the Lord came to Elijah. It was at that point the Lord directed Elijah to his next step. The Lord will bring Elijah to a place where he will see God’s hand and provision in a tremendous way. A place where Elijah will learn the heart of God in a deeper way than he ever knew before.
Maybe today, you need to hear from the Lord. Maybe you are in a place where things seem like they are drying up before you. Like Elijah you are wondering why God is allowing these things in your life. I would encourage you today to keep looking to the Lord, look to His word. The good news is that the Lord hears us when we cry out to Him and He gives strength to those who have no might. Perhaps the Lord would teach us today about His strength in our weakness. Perhaps today like Paul we need to glorify God in our weakness that the power of Christ might rest upon us.