Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS
For a month the Lord has been dealing with me how He sustains the servants who walk in obedience and faith, during times of spiritual and natural famine; especially when it appears that situations and circumstances of lack points to lesser than less. I immediately began to focus my attention toward Elijah when God requested that he come out of the spot light to go into seclusion for 3 1/2 years. For this Golden Nugget I would like to expound upon a thought “When Somewhere is Nowhere BUT THERE.” To provoke further gospel provocation, the following scriptures will be used to establish my premise:
1Ki 17:1-5 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee THERE. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
As I was studying this exploit of the prophet Elijah, I was captivated by the word “THERE“, it jumped off the page at me, which was included in the words God conveyed unto Elijah prior to going into seclusion to be enhanced in the things of God!
These words are so full of immense instruction. Elijah had taken a very prominent place in the presence of Israel, occupying a high place of respect in the presence of his brethren, but he also held a low place in the presence of God. Elijah’s flesh had to be subdued, he had to be proved by God. It is so imperative that our time of training in secret, far exceed our time of performing in public. Elijah ministered publicly for a brief moment, and that too, was subsequent to being alone with God prior to being called to be in seclusion for 3 1/2 years.
Saints the Lord also knows our temperament and tendencies, hence He deals with us accordingly also, because if we are not walking in the Holy Spirit we can become full of self, and vainly imagine that we are more than we are. This is why the Apostle Paul stated in Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Hence, like the prophet Elijah we are constantly reminded to “hide ourselves” to get away from public view so God can enhance us through fasting, prayer, and reading his word!
Once we experience these things the spiritual man can embrace the things of God more relevantly. Even Jesus when He walked on this earth He constantly sought solitary moments to pray to the Father. Please understand my brothers and sisters it was not because Jesus needed to hide Himself, for His entire path on earth was a hiding of self, for His only will was to please God. The devil tries to influence our thoughts perpetually to think about ourselves, so that we can get all the glory!
It was “THERE” at the brook of Cherith that Elijah remained for many days not able to provide for himself, but he was given an absolute promise from God that his provisions would be met, for He said “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee “THERE” no other place would Elijah be provided for other than the place where God had chosen for that set time! This meant if Elijah went any place other than “THERE” he would of starved, and died of thirst.
The Lord proved to take care of His dear servant while hidden from public view, and ministered to his necessities through the instrumentality of ravens. Wow!; you talking about a really strange provision! This was something that was contrary to natural laws, hence it took a perpetual amount of faith by Elijah to look for a daily visits from birds that would naturally desire to eat the prophet’s provision! But Elijah remembered the word of the Lord “I have commanded.” Hence it was God who provided, and not the ravens. He had the God of Israel with him in his hiding place, hence he had to live by faith concerning the promise of God! The Psalmist stated in Psa 91:1-2 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
I am always happy to be lifted above and beyond the power of any circumstance in apprehension of God’s presence and loving care! Please note that while Elijah was hiding himself from man, God was showing Himself to Elijah. This will always be the case when we set self a side and allow God to reveal himself to us. If Elijah had not left when the Lord requested him to leave, he would not of been provided for. “I have commanded the ravens to feed thee THERE.” If the prophet were anywhere else but “THERE“ he would not have received anything from the Lord!
My brothers and sisters there is so much meaning in this little word “THERE.” Elijah had to be “THERE” and nowhere else, in order to enjoy God’s supplies; likewise it is with all believer in Jesus Christ now; we must know where God would have us to be in Him, and abide there! We have no right to choose our place, for the Lord “orders the bounds of our habitation,” and it is a marvelous thing for us to know this, and submit to His wise and gracious orders. It was at the brook Cherith, and only that place, that the ravens were commanded to take bread and meat to the prophet. It might not of been the most comfortable place to reside, he may have wanted to go somewhere else, but if he had done so he would of had to provide for himself. Elijah knew it was much better to allow the Lord to provide for him. Saints, Gods divinely appointed provision had to be in the divinely appointed place. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Elijah went from solitude to solitude. He had come from the mountains of Gilead, instructed to render a message from the Lord God of Israel to Israel’s king, and after delivering that message, he was commanded again by God, to back into unbroken solitude so that his strength would be renewed in the presence of the Lord.
I tell you, in times like these, who wouldn’t want to have some time alone with Jesus, not merely a sentimental expression, but a really practical and experiential time alone with Jesus! Moses had it at the mount of God, Sinai; Aaron had it in the tabernacles, in the most Holiest Place; Elijah the prophet had it the brook Cherith; the Apostle John had it while on the island of Patmos; and above all, Jesus had it on the Mount of Olive.
Let me express what I think it is to be alone with God. It is to have one’s self and the world set aside; to have the Holy Spirit impress us with the thoughts of God, and His perfections and excellencies; while allowing all of His goodness to pass before us to see Him act on our behalf, and in us; to dwell above the fleshly realm of our minds as we come against Satan and all his accusations!
These are just some of my experiences concerning what renders results when alone with God. Yet, I know that each spiritually-minded saint will have their own perspective accordingly, and can only be internalized best, based on their experience.
Saints, Elijah’s faith rendered him to be happy alone by the brook Cherith, he was being taken care of as God had promised. But faith must perpetually be put to the test. This man of faith could not be allowed to settle forever on one experience; he had to be emptied from vessel to vessel; any child of God must pass from faith to faith in the school of Christ, and having mastered, through grace, the difficulties of one experience, they have to experience another. Hence; the prophet had to be tried to see whether or not he was depending upon Cherith, or upon the Lord God of Israel; for the word states, “it came to pass, after awhile, that the brook dried up.”
Brothers and sisters we to are in danger of the same thing through the infirmities of our flesh, by having our faith measured by our circumstances, for when things are favorable, we act like our faith is strong, and vice versa. I have learned after 38 years of walking with God that faith should never look at circumstances; it has to look around the circumstances and directly to God and His promises.
I’m sure by now that Elijah realized that God was his unfailing exhaustless fountain. The brook may have dried up due to the excessive drought of no rain, but Elijah knew no drought could affect God’s promise for provision. Hence, the Lord came again and said “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell THERE behold I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”
Again we have a premise of immutability of Elijah’s faith, “I have commanded.” In life circumstances change; human things fail; finances are altered, but God and His Word is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. It is because of this revelation through experience that the prophet does not seem to be disturbed because of his next directive from on High! He had been conditioned like the Israel of old to pitch and strike his tent according to the movement of Jehovah’s cloud. Elijah would take up his solitary post by the banks of Cherith, and go to Zarephath of Zidon without hesitation in obedience to “the word of the Lord. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Please recall that Israel of old were not allowed to have any plans of their own; God planned and arranged everything for them. He told them when and where they were to move and stop; at various intervals He showed His sovereign direction to them by the movement of the cloud above their heads. Num. 9:21-23 And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
Whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not; but when it was taken up they journeyed. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in their tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.” they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
Such was the happy condition of the Lord’s redeemed, while passing from Egypt to Canaan. They never could have their own way, as it pertained to their movements. If an Israelite had refused to move when the cloud moved, or to stop when it stopped, they would have been left to starve in the wilderness. The rock and the manna followed them while they followed Jehovah; in other words, food and refreshment were alone to be found in the path of simple obedience. It was the same expectation for Elijah; he was not permitted to have a will of his own; he could not fix the appointed time at Cherith, nor the time for him to go to Zarephath; “the word of the Lord” settled all for him, and when he obeyed it he found sustenance.
What a lesson this is for all of us! The path of obedience is alone the path of happiness. If we would strive to listen less to Satan and our flesh we would be better spiritually, which can keep us on the path of happiness. This is how Elijah could say when he was on mount Carmel “If the Lord be God, follow Him,” if his own path would of interfered with Gods path prior to mount Carmel he could not of said this boldly and confidently. But he could because he had not walked in an self willed and rebellious spirit! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Now don’t get me wrong! The path of obedience is not always an easy one; it involves a perpetual denial of self, and can only be pursued when we keep our eyes on God, and our conscience cleansed by embracing His Word of truth. This takes conditioning and commitment through obtaining one victory after another. Elijah was first called into isolation by taking his place by the brook Cherith, to be fed by ravens! The Carnal mind alone could of never understand such an act!
Hence when the brook failed, he was called away to a distant city of Zidon, there to be nourished by a destitute widow who seemed to be at the very point of dying of starvation! Here was the command: “Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon, and dwell THERE: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”
“So he arose, and went to Zarephath, when Elijah arrived there he could not of derived any encouragement from how things appeared, everything through the carnal eye should of established doubts and fears as he looked upon the circumstances, but when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks; and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the Lord thy God lives, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
My brothers and sisters, this was the scene presented to Elijah, one of gloom and depression. But Elijah did not look at it through a natural eye, he saw it through Gods eyes, because his purpose for being there was established and sustained by the immutable Word of God! Saints, sometimes things look dark and heavy through our natural vision, but when viewed through the eye of faith, it pierces through every dark cloud, and allows us to see beyond them because we can stand on a firm foundation in God’s excellent Word!
Wow, what a circumstance! A widow and her son starving, two sticks, and a handful of meal! And yet the word was, “I have commanded a widow woman THERE to sustain thee.” This most definitely was going from lack to lesser than less! You know this had to be a God thing!
But Elijah staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. He knew that it was the Most High, the Almighty God, the possessor of Heaven and earth, that was to meet his needs; hence, even though there had been neither oil nor meal, it made no difference to him, for he looked beyond circumstances to the God of circumstances. He did not see the widow, but God. He did not look at the handful of meal, but at the divine command; hence his spirit was perfectly calm and unruffled in the midst of the circumstances which would have crushed the spirit of one walking only by sight. Elijah was able to say without a shadow of doubt “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.”
My brothers and sisters “Thus says the Lord” settled everything! Therefore they all were sustained until the drought was over. As we continue to walk with Jesus, let us remain cognizant during this journey that there are times “When Somewhere is Nowhere BUT THERE.” Please continue to walk in obedience to God’s word, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit! Have a “JESUS DAY“