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What are we to do with a dried up brook? God allows events to transpire in everyday life that has a tendency to test faith. The story of Elijah the prophet is first mentioned in 1 Kings 17, where the prophet steps onto the page without any prior mention. Detailed in this book is the timeline of kings that ruled Israel after David's reign, opening with David's death, and God's discipline and grace with the nation of Israel. 1 and 2 Kings make up one book in the Hebrew Bible, split into two books in the English translations. This post will lightly cover 1 Kings 17 with a sermon from Community Bible Church.
The time of testing usually requires sacrifice and faith, both interchangeably. For Israel, this time of testing would be over the course of three years when the prophet Elijah is told by God that there would be a drought in Israel.
"Now Elijah, the Tishbite, who said to Ahab, "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" (1 Kings 17:1, NASB).
A quick history of Israel:
Now that the history of Israel has been recapped, 1 Kings 17 will be better understood. God rises up Elijah, a Tishbite (a resident of Tishbe), to be a prophet to Israel. Elijah told the current king (Ahab) that there will be a drought in the land of Israel. Jezebel, the wicked wife of Ahab, wants Elijah dead and so God tells him to hide himself by the Cherith book, east of the Jordan River. God provided for Elijah here by using ravens to bring him food and the brook to provide him water.
After a while, the brook dried up that had provided Elijah with the nourishment of water. God was calling him forward, out of his silence. God directed him to Zarephath, the land of Sidon. This is the very land that Jezebel was having the prophets of God killed for not worshiping the demon Baal. God was directing him there to strengthen his faith and the faith of a widow that lived here with her son.
"The word of the LORD came to him, saying, "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." 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. It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you" (1 Kings 17:2-9, NASB).
The above picture shows the distance of Zarephath to the Cherith brook. It is not detailed how Elijah traveled (whether on foot or by animal), but it is detailed that Elijah followed God even to the heart of this city where Jezebel was murdering the prophets of God--knowing full well that he could be next. The brook that had provided him so much nourishment and tranquility had dried up and God was pressing him forward. This passage details the majesty and sovereignty of God, highlighting that not only will He not forsake His people but also that God is in complete control amidst chaos and confusion.
For the full chapter, please see Bible Gateway.
1 Kings was written to detail Israel's history and bring glory to God. The Bible wasn't written to be about us, but God. Careful precaution has to be made when making a modern application to today's life as to not take the passage of scripture out of context. The modern application of 1 Kings 17 is that even when trials dry up our resources and our prosperity and we are in God's will (because there will be times when Christians are outside His will and He will take provision away in discipline) God is still in control. The Coronavirus is God's instrument today to show the world He is still in control for all things are known to Him. As Christians, our duty is to trust God even when the brooks dry up and to keep moving forward, trusting that God will provide for and sustain His people. Below is a sermon by Community Bible Church entitled "Trusting God in the Difficult Times," covering 1 Kings 17:1-7.
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