Suff. Bishop Faulk's Golden Nuggets
REDUX: When Somewhere is Nowhere BUT THERE
Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
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 point to lesser than less. I immediately began to focus my attention toward the prophet Elijah, when God requested that he come out of the spot light as a major prophet and go into seclusion for 3 1/2 years to be proved, and ministered unto. Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to expound upon the 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.”
1Ki 17:8-9 “And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman THERE to sustain thee.”
Php 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
As I was studying the exploits of the prophet Elijah, I was captivated by the word “THERE,” this word jumped off the page at me! It was the essence of the command that the Lord conveyed to Elijah; prior to going into seclusion, to be enhanced in the things of God!
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 lowly place in the presence of God. Elijah’s flesh had to be subdued, hence he had to be proved by God. It is so imperative that our time of training in those secret places, 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 go into seclusion for 3 1/2 years.
Saints, the Lord always know our temperament and tendencies, hence He deals with us accordingly. It has been proven down through the ages, that if we are not walking in the Holy Spirit we can become full of self, and vainly imagine, that we are more than what 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 sometimes from public view, so that our walk in God can be enhanced through fasting, prayer, and the study of 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, 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 purpose on earth was the hiding of self, because His only will was to please the Father. For Php. 2:5-11 states “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Hence we are reminded that Satan’s job is to influence our thoughts perpetually, to think more about ourselves, than the things of God; so that he, and we, can get the glory!
It was “THERE” at the brook Cherith that Elijah remained for many days not being 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 during the famine that was in land! GOLDEN NUGGET!
The Lord (Jehovah Jireh) proved to take care of Elijah, his servant while hidden from public view, as He ministered to Elijah’s necessity through the instrumentality of ravens. Wow! You talking about a really strange provision! Please know that this was something contrary to natural laws, hence it took perpetual faith for Elijah to look for a daily visits from ravens, which were carnivorous birds, who naturally would of desired to eat the prophet’s daily provision! But Elijah remembered the word of the Lord “Ihave 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’m always happy to be lifted above and beyond circumstances, that will propel me to apprehend the power of God’s presence and loving kindness! 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.” I reiterate; 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;” 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 will. 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. This was almost an impossible task based on the severe famine in the land, which caused many to become cannibalistic. Elijah knew that Gods divinely appointed provision would always be in His divinely appointed place. GOLDEN NUGGET!
Elijah went from solitude to solitude. He had come from the mountains of Gilead, as 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 go back into unbroken solitude so that his strength would be renewed in the presence of the Lord. This reminds me of how we sometime can be distracted along the way, and our “THERE” can lead us to a disastrous end; when we do not take heed to the Lords instruction! Please note the following incidence!
1Ki. 13:6-10 “And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Intreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before. And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward. And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel.” 1Ki 13:17-18 “For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.” 1Ki 13:23-24 “And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase.” GOLDEN NUGGET!
I tell you, in times like these, who wouldn’t want to have some time alone with Jesus, not merely a sentimental expression, but some 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 at 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, and the Garden of Gethsemane.
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 infuse us with the thought of God’s perfection and His excellencies; while allowing all of His goodness to pass before us; that we may see Him act on our behalf, and in us. This allows us to dwell above the fleshly realm of our mind, as we war 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 this can only be internalized best, given ones experience.
Saints, Elijah’s faith rendered him to be happy alone by the brook Cherith, he had been 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 that 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, have to experience another. Hence; the prophet had to be tried to see whether or not he was depending upon the brook 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 exemplify that our faith is strong, and vice versa. I have learned after many 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 was cognizant that God was his unfailing, exhaustless fountain. The brook may have dried up due to an excessive drought because of no rain, but Elijah knew no drought could affect God’s promise for his 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, today, 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 the Lords cloud in the wilderness. 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 in the wilderness, 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 were the blessed conditions 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 the Lord; 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 brook Cherith, nor the time for him to go to Zarephath; the word of the Lord had been settled 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 will 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 with boldness and confidence. I reiterate, it was because he did not walk in self will, nor a rebellious spirit! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Now don’t get me wrong! The path of obedience is not always an easy one; it involves an perpetual denial of self, and can only be pursued when we keep our eyes on God, and our conscience cleansed by embracing His Word. 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 will never be able to perceive 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 rendered doubt and fear as he looked upon the circumstance, “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 the natural eyes, 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 that is found in God’s Word! GOLDEN NUGGET!
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“