Elijah hiding by the Kerith brook.
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.
An unlikely looking safe place
When Elijah arrived at the Kerith brook, 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 or are in a safe place? Over the last few months, due to the restrictions because of the Covid virus, it has felt lonely and desolate for many people. No-one had anticipated this season, and in fact we may have been looking, or expecting something totally different.
Why did God send ravens to feed Elijah?
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?
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!
God provides all that we need
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.
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
What did Elijah do when the brook dried up?
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.
It was at the Kerith brook that Elijah learnt that ‘man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ This season of being alone and depending on God’s word every day was preparing him for what was to come next.
Time to move on
It was time for Elijah to move on and to apply the lessons that he had learnt in his safe place – the Kerith brook – to 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 sent him to Zarephath, to a town hit by famine, to be fed by a widow who had just enough left for one last meal….
Whatever experiences we are going through, 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!
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.
Sometimes God allows circumstances, that appear to work against us, to work for our good. And sometimes we can become too comfortable where we are. Will we be ready, when it is time to move on, or will we to need a push?
“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.”