God's Prophet, Elijah - Sent Into Hiding
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah...
I Kings 17:2
God's prophet, Elijah, confronted King Ahab and told him there would be a drought. Elijah made it clear he was there at God's (Elohim) direction, the One he served. Ahab and his wife Jezebel had brought Baal worship to Israel, and God was not happy.
Imagine you were the king, and some man stormed into the palace declaring there would be no dew or rain until he gave the word; that he was a servant of the living God. What would you think?
We aren't privy to Ahab's reaction, but God knew and acted accordingly.
Go Hide in the Kerith Ravine
The word of the Lord came to Elijah: "Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan." (v. 2-3)
Have you ever thought about how the word of the Lord came to Elijah? Was it a physical voice he heard? If so, how did he know it was the Lord speaking?
The Old Testament is full of accounts of God speaking to individuals He was using for His purposes. They knew it was God speaking. We occasionally read in the Bible how God revealed Himself. For example, God came to Moses in a bush that was on fire but didn't burn up. God spoke from the bush and revealed Himself as the God of his father, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We don't have much of a back story for Elijah. We have no record of God calling him to be a prophet or ever having spoken to him. We only know he lived in Gilead in a community called Tishbe. And he traveled to Samaria to see King Ahab. And now he is going back in the general direction he came from to hide in the Kerith Ravine (see map, and notice the question mark next to the Ravine of Kerith because its exact location is unknown).
We can conclude that God did call Elijah to be His spokesperson and confront King Ahab. How else would Elijah know it wouldn't rain until he gave the word? Elijah didn't have the authority to say this on his own. And now, for the first time in the story, we hear God speaking to Elijah, telling him where to go and hide.
I Will Take Care of You
You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there. (v. 4)
God not only tells Elijah where to hide, but He tells him how He is going to take care of him by making sure he was safe and had his physical needs taken care of.
Imagine you are Elijah...can you think of anything else you would want? Would you have a zillion questions running through your mind?
When I think of the things I consider my needs, I'm not sure I would be too excited about the prospect of hiding out and depending on ravens to produce food for me.
But we aren't Elijah, and he lived in a different time. I'm thinking God's grace was on him, just like it is on us when we are asked to do something we can't imagine doing or are afraid to do. When we obey, we can depend on God to give us what we need, whether it's strength, wisdom, or provision.
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. (v. 5)
So there you have it. Elijah did what God told him to do. He turned and went in the general direction he had come from. Elijah stayed on the path God had for him. Was he familiar with the ravine already, or did God lead him to where it was?
The important thing to see here is Elijah obeyed. Obedience was key for him and it is vital for us today. Our obedience says to God, "I trust You to show me the path You want me on, and I'll go where You lead."
Our pastor shared something I thought was really good. We don't have the audible voice of God giving us exact instructions like Elijah did. So when we make decisions, it's not always clear where God is leading or if the decision we made fits with His plan. Our pastor told us we don't need to be afraid of making a wrong decision. As long as we are doing our best to live in a right relationship with God, He will lead us where He wants us using the decisions we make.
God Does What He Says He Will Do
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (v. 6)
Ravens bringing you bread and meat is not normal; it's a supernatural act of God. God took care of Elijah by both natural (the brook) and supernatural means (the ravens). He did what He said He would do.
When we make promises, sometimes we can't keep them. But that is not true of God. He always keeps His promises. The Bible is full of the promises of God.
God was not only taking care of Elijah's physical needs, He was using this time to prepare Elijah for what was ahead.
Elijah may have felt loneliness or fear as he saw the water dwindling away day by day. Maybe he experienced boredom as there wasn't much to do or impatience because he had no idea how long he would have to stay in hiding. I'm sure he was grateful for the ravens bringing him food, but they weren't very good company.
Elijah was learning to trust God day by day.
When You Are Left Waiting
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. (v.7)
We don't know how long Elijah had to stay at the Kerith ravine, but it was long enough for him to see the brook dry up. Did he panic? Doubt? Complain? Or wait patiently? Maybe all of them at one time or another.
We aren't told, but we can ask ourselves what we would have done in his place. Or what we do when it feels like our world is falling apart.
It's hard to trust God when we can't see what He is doing or why He hasn't provided what we think we need now. It's not easy to patiently wait when life feels so uncertain, or we can't see a way out. But these feelings don't make God less faithful.
When our emotions are out of hand, we need to tell ourselves the truth and remember God's faithfulness in the past. Or we can pull out the promises in the Bible for encouragement and cry out to God, who not only hears us but answers. Finally, we can ask ourselves, "Do I trust God right now?"
I like to think that Elijah patiently waited because He trusted God and knew He was faithful. And he knew God wouldn't send him into hiding only to let him die from lack of water. God wouldn't make sure ravens brought him bread and meat but not care or realize Elijah no longer had anything to drink.
Elijah was human, just like us. So, he may have complained...or panicked or doubted first.
Recently, a question was posed to a group of people: Are you the type of person who complains when you encounter a problem or figures out what you can do about it? One person responded with, "First I complain, and then I do something about it."
That answer reminds me of David. David, the man after God's own heart, often can be heard complaining, panicking, or letting confusion set in. But his emotions always caused him to cry out to God, and after he gave God an earful, he came back to trust and praise.
So, what type of person are you?
Elijah went into hiding because God told him to go. He didn't run away in fear or hide to get away from the problem but went to the ravine in obedience to God.
Has God ever put you in a place of hiding? If so, why? Was He preparing you for something?
Elijah didn't have to wonder how he would survive. God told him what He would do to take care of his physical needs, and He did. But God didn't tell him everything, and some days, he may have been lonely, or fears may have crept into his heart. So Elijah would have to trust God every day.
Have you ever felt lonely, fearful, confused, or weary? What did you do with these emotions?
When the brook dried up, Elijah was still waiting. We have no clue of his state of mind, but we can imagine what ours would be.
Are you waiting on God? Do you feel like the "brook is dried up," and you don't know what to do? How well do you handle waiting?
God didn't leave Elijah at the Kerith Ravine. Next time we will find out what happened when the waiting was over, and God told him the next thing to do.
If you made it to the end, thank you for reading. Say hello in the comment section below. Or let me know what you think about what I wrote. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.