When things don’t work out as we expect.
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.
When, where we are doesn’t look like a safe place!
When Elijah arrived at the Kerith Ravine, a desolate and lonely place, did it look like a safe place to him? It is unlikely that this is where Elijah would have thought he would be. He was sent straight from the palace to the wilderness. He was sleeping rough, camping out in a 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.
Trusting in God’s provision
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. Although Elijah only found this out later. He was hidden by God.
In a safe place
We can be unaware of what God is hiding us from, when He keeps us in a ‘safe place’. In the wilderness, a barren place, with no visible sign of growth, we may become frustrated as to why we are there. Often we focus on the restrictions, which then become barriers which prevent us from seeing what lies beyond, or even within. The greatest growth is often 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!Tweet
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. God, however, 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!
The wilderness is the preparation ground
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, however difficult our situation, we can make a choice to dine at the King’s table. What we choose to feed off will affect our health. And 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, and 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. 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.
Time to move on
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.”
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