“It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.”
In the 17th Chapter of 1 Kings, we find an incredible story. Elijah goes before King Ahab and makes an absurd claim: “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” You do not make such a claim unless you know that you have heard from God. Ahab must have laughed. If the King had believed the Prophet, he might have had him killed or imprisoned and tortured, but he let him go.
Then, Elijah has a problem. If it does not rain in Israel, it does not rain on the Prophet. If there is a famine in Israel, Elijah has nothing to eat either. God, however had a plan and He told the Prophet, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. It shall be that you will drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” That sounds as improbable as saying that it will not rain again until I say so.
Elijah, however was obedient and went where he was told. We read, “So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.” That is a comfortable position. The nation is in a famine but the Prophet has bread and meat and a supply of water… This is supernatural! One might live out their life in such a situation. But, on this earth, nothing lasts forever.
We soon read, “It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.” Panic Time! God has ceased to supply. The Prophet is where God told him to be, doing what God told him to do. He is comfortable and cared for… This is the life! Then, suddenly and without warning, the Prophet has a real problem. Without water, the Prophet will die and God has turned off the water. Can you hear the Prophet crying and fussing as he goes out to eat breakfast and finds that there is not even enough water to fill his cup?
I can picture myself in such a situation. I don’t know if I would be mad at God or just scared. There is no water here and there is no water in most of the nation… What do I do now? I have been there. I have been very comfortable, knowing that I was where God wanted me to be, assured that I was doing what God wanted me to do, blessed and provided for by the hand of God, when, without warning, the job and the income stopped. That is a frightening place to be. What happened? What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? Doesn’t God care?
Have you ever been there?
The fact that I am writing this and you are reading it is proof that such situations, while very uncomfortable, are neither permanent nor deadly. I will be honest with you though, those situations are very, very uncomfortable. Perhaps you are there now. If you aren’t, the greatest possibility is that you will be soon. When the Brook dries up, it is not time to scream or fuss, it is time to move on and to move up.
1 Kings 17:1 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath, and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Please get me a little water in a jar, that I may drink.” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no [e]bread, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the earth.’” 15 So she went and did according to the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bowl of flour was not exhausted nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.
When the Brook dried up, the Prophet got up and moved. God told him where to go and what to do. God not only told him what to say to the lady but He gave this poor widow lady the faith to believe what this stranger said, and the good will to serve the Prophet ahead of herself and her son. Now, the Lord has elevated the prophet’s situation. Elijah is no longer living in a cave, he is living in a house. No longer is he eating what birds drop for him, he is eating bread, fresh out of the oven. No longer is God taking care of just the Prophet, He is taking care of the Widow woman and her son as well.
When your Well dries up, don’t panic. Continue to be grateful. Continue to praise God but don’t just sit there. Ask God for directions. Listen carefully and then do what God tells you to do. God may now promote you. The God who has been taking care of you, may now decide to use you to take care of others. God may ask you to challenge others with impossible requests. If God tells you to ask a widow woman for her last piece of bread; ask her for her last piece of bread. If God tells you to promise that He will care for her and continue to provide, tell her so.
That of course, will not be your exact situation. However, you will be challenged to do the unlikely and the uncomfortable.
Sometimes we forget that Elijah and others in the Bible were human.
Please don’t think that it did not cross Elijah’s mind that it might rain the day after he spoke to Ahab or that the Widow might starve to death after baking him a cake. Elijah was a prophet. Elijah was obedient but he was also human, just like you are.
If you don’t believe me that he and the other prophets were human, let me close with one more story…
We should go on to the 18th chapter of 1 Kings. There we find a familiar story. Elijah prays and the rains return, then he challenges the prophets of Baal to a test. One prophet of God against 400 prophets of Baal. They build altars, slaughter bulls and put them on the altars. Elijah tells the prophets of Baal to pray for fire to come down from Heaven and consume their offering.
This should have been easy. Baal was the god of rain and thunder and lightning… this was Baal’s bread and butter. They prayed and cut themselves (like Muslims do today) but nothing happened.
Elijah encouraged them to continue, suggesting that Baal had stepped out to go to the bathroom.
They continued for hours but nothing happened. Then Elijah had them pour water all over his offering. When Elijah prayed, fire fell, consumed the sacrifice, lapped up the water and even destroyed the stones of the altar….
The people then got together and killed all 400 prophets of Baal. Not a good day for the pagans…
But then… we get to chapter 19…
19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”
3 >>>And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life<<<
and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
After all of those miracles, Elijah was afraid of a demonized, pagan woman…
Have you been there?
God came to Elijah and the Angel cared for him there. This was not the end of his ministry. I share this with you because such times and situations are common to all God’s people. When the Brook dries up, get up and move. Face the enemy and challenge the righteous. Listen to God and do what He tells you to do. Are you afraid? So was the Prophet of God. Have you run for your life? So did God’s Prophet. These times of pain are not the end… as a matter of fact, it is most likely a promotion in disguise.
Get up, wash your face and get moving. God is on your side.