A Safe Place

Sometimes things do not work out the way we think they are going to – take Elijah’s first God given task, a commission to contend with the king of Israel. Elijah obediently speaks the word that God has given him to the king – but it was not well received, in fact, just the opposite! Elijah is then sent by God into hiding.

Was he expecting that, was that the reaction he had been hoping for? But God had things under control, and we read that he sent Elijah to a safe place.

I wonder when Elijah arrived at the Kerith Ravine, a desolate and lonely place, whether it looked like a safe place to him. It is unlikely that this is where Elijah would have thought he would be – from the palace, straight to the wilderness. Sleeping rough, camping out in this ravine or canyon next to a small brook.

Do you feel that you have been in a safe place over the last few months or has it felt lonely and desolate? We certainly did not anticipate this season, and in fact we may have been looking, or expecting something totally different from 2020.

God provided a natural supply of water for Elijah and a supernatural supply of food. God told Elijah that He would direct ravens to feed him. This would have seemed very bizarre to Elijah, as an Israelite who was being obedient to God’s laws, ravens were unclean birds. The meat of dead animals – carrion – that ravens would naturally feed off were also regarded as unclean. What was going on?

God’s provision was there, indeed it was a very safe place. The king of Israel sent men throughout the land, and the surrounding nations, searching for Elijah, to kill him, but they never found him. Although Elijah only found this out later – he was hidden by God.

We are often unaware of what God is hiding us from, when He keeps us in a ‘safe place’. We may be frustrated as to why we are in this wilderness, a barren place, with no visible sign of growth. We may be focusing on the restrictions, which then become barriers preventing us from seeing what lies beyond, or even beneath. Often, the greatest growth is the change that God works within us!

We look for a change without – in our circumstances or in those around us – but God is looking for a change within!

For Elijah, there was fresh clean water for him to drink and he was undisturbed. The ravens brought him food, bread and meat for breakfast and supper. This was a miracle, they are scavengers and will feed on what they find, where they find it, but God directed them to carry food to his prophet. The ravens also had another less obvious role they helped to keep Elijah hidden. To anyone observing ravens flying or hovering in an area this was a sign of death – that they were there feeding off a dead animal. No-one would suspect on seeing ravens that they were bringing life, by providing food for a man in hiding. All things are possible to God!

This season of being alone and depending on God’s word every day was preparing Elijah for what was to come next – it was here that he would learn that ‘man does not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’

We will all have our own unique experience during this pandemic, but we can make a choice to dine at the King’s table – even through difficult times! What we choose to feed off will affect our health – what we choose to think, talk, and give time to, will grow as we keep feeding on those things. Fear, anxiety, resentment and frustration can easily take a hold or we can choose life, to dine on the word of God. As we allow His word to nourish us we can replace fear with trust, anxiety with peace, resentment with contentment and even frustration with satisfaction!

I would suggest that Elijah became comfortable in the Kerith ravine. For those of you who know the story, the brook dried up, the natural water supply came to an end, due to the drought in the land. Then God spoke to Elijah with new instructions, it was time for him to move on – and without water, he had no choice. This gave Elijah a push – after all the ‘lack’ of water was no problem to God, He could have provided a fresh water supply, supernaturally, if that had been part of his plan.

Some of us may have become comfortable, in this slower, quieter rhythm of life, will we be ready when it is time to move on or will we have become comfortable and need a push? Sometimes God allows circumstances, to appear to work against us, for our good.

It was time for Elijah to move on and to apply the lessons that he had learnt in the Kerith Ravine in the next season of his life. What he had learnt for himself, he was now to put into practice and to speak into someone else’s life.

God can redeem the time for each one of us, if we are willing to trust in Him. What we learn now in this season may be an essential component for the next, to apply and to pass on, even to, bless someone else.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

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13 thoughts on “A Safe Place

    1. Thank you Linda – I think the song was released in March which was when we first went into lockdown – I hadn’t heard the artist before – but loved this song and the timing was perfect!

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  1. I had never thought about the ravens been unclean birds that God was using to provide food for Elijah. What an interesting thing to think about! It really goes to show that God doesn’t do things as we would, and sometimes uses the least expected or desirable things to us to bring forth His purposes and good.

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    1. Yes exactly – I would suggest that God was teaching Elijah that He is not confined or constrained to any place or in any way – God is so much bigger than we allow! Thank you for responding 🙂

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  2. Sharon, such a good post today. You looked at things differently; for example: “The ravens also had another less obvious role they helped to keep Elijah hidden. To anyone observing ravens flying or hovering in an area this was a sign of death – that they were there feeding off a dead animal. No-one would suspect on seeing ravens that they were bringing life, by providing food for a man in hiding. All things are possible to God!”

    This never occurred to me!

    Also, your idea of the brook drying up giving Elijah a much needed -push. So true! Ordinariy he woudn’t have approached a widow for help!

    I am acquainted with events giving me a push. I always hoped they were one-time events, but it’s true we often have to become uncomfortable before stepping out.

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    1. Thank you – encouraging to hear that you got some fresh insight – it just always amazes me the intricacy with God, how well He knows us and how He works ‘all things for our good’ Blessing to you!

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  3. Thank you so much for this perspective of contemplating how we will navigate “from our safe place” back to a faster paced life, what lessons and good habits have we developed during that safe place time will we continue to practice. I confess that I have noticed old discontentments already rearing their ugly head now that life is back to a bit more normal whereas during the shut down, I became content with very little. How soon I have forgotten.

    Thank you for this additional nudge to carry on the good habits I developed during that “safe place” time.

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  4. I had a double quarantine – I had spinal fusion surgery in January – so for 6 weeks, I couldn’t do anything – literally. Then the covid quarantine. We have been surrounded and protected, like being in a cocoon – and I’ve loved it for the most part, but God is doing something new, something different, a big change – and I am being brave enough to step into it! Your post hit me at the perfect time – like God reinforcing this “Yes.” Thank you Sharon for this post! It blessed me in so many ways!

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    1. Sorry for being so long in responding – your comment had gone into my spam for some reason! So encouraged to hear that this word spoke to your heart and blessed you – praise God for a new season, let Him nudge you out and push you forward into all that He has in store, blessings!

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  5. There is a tendency to “get used” to God’s miracles (of provision and more) and even begin to take them for granted. Sometimes, He has to dry up the brook to remind us we desperately need Him. I definitely have a tendency to get “too” comfortable or too settled. I really enjoyed this post – it was thought-provoking for me today! Thanks.

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    1. There are many of us who are just like that, myself included, who need the little push, and thank God, He is so patience with us and will keep on nudging us out into the wide open space of His grace, where anything is possible! Thanks for responding 🙂

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  6. What a great reminder that God takes care of us and keep us safe even when we are in a wilderness season. I find a lot of comfort in remembering He is a hiding place, a refuge, a strong tower, and a Good Shepherd. I recently posted about verse three from Psalms 23 about how God guides us like a good shepherd, if interested. This post reminded me of that. Our ways are not His ways. He knows the reason for our difficulties and stresses. He is worthy of being followed as the Good Shepherd.

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