1 KINGS 17: 2 – 18 : 15
Having completed his first assignment, Elijah receives further instructions from God. In response to God’s word, the drought would bring hardship and difficulty not only for the ungodly nation but also for God’s servant. Elijah was now being sent to a place where he could be cared for by the loving hands of his Master; where God would also prepare Elijah for his next assignment.
“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine So he did what the LORD had told him … and stayed there.”
GOD’S GUIDANCE IS PROMISED TO THE OBEDIENT SERVANT
In peaceful ways – <Psa 23:2>.In decision making –. In the right way –. In the uncertainties of life –
HOWEVER, THE SERVANT MUST SEEK GOD’S GUIDANCE
“Lead me, 0 LORD, in your righteousness ….. – make straight your way before me.”
God’s dealing with each of His servants is on a personal basis in the “secret place”. So here we see God sending Elijah to a secret place; secret in the context that the location of Kerith (Cherith KJV) is uncertain.
“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine “
A HIDING PLACE FOR DIVINE INSTRUCTION AND CARE
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
We must learn the necessity and importance of that secret place: < Mark 6:31>. We must recognize that it takes great effort on our part: . To those of His servants who enter, God will: < Psa.31:20 (intrigues – craftiness; underhanded methods);Psa 32:7 ; 64:2 >. It is a place of refreshment; a place where God’s servant can be spiritually refreshed: . There is spiritual food to enjoy: Bread, Flesh and Water: < Psa 104:15>. God’s supplies are plentiful and endless. and He ever cares for His servants: < Mal.3:10; 1 Pet5:7>
AFTER THE TIME OF CARE AND INSTRUCTION COMES THE TEST
“Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.”
Sometimes the servant of God is so overwhelmed by God’s goodness and provisions, the fact that others are dying in their sins is easily overlooked. Or, as in the case of Elijah, God’s testing of His servant becomes the only focus and nothing else is important. In Elijah’s situation there was a poor widow and her son who were soon to die because of the drought. At such times God has to remove those things that are dear to us, those things that we have come to rely on and are so involved with, so that we can see the need to “move on” in our service for Him. After the time of preparation and training comes the time for serious work. So we see in Ch.17:8-24 Elijah moves from the place of rest and learning to the “melting furnaces of service”.
“Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there “
Zarepath, later known as Serepta, was near the coast between Tyre in the south and Sidon in the north; these were cities of Phoenicia. The name Zarepath means “melting houses” indicating the presence of furnaces, no doubt for the glass factories of Phoenicia. Zarepath is now the modern Sarafend approximately 8 miles south of Sidon. (Zidon -KJV-refers to Sidon and was apparently the chief city of Phoenicia at that time). (Pict. Bible Atlas p107,111; Thompson Archaeological Sup!. p364)
On many recorded occasions in scripture, God has given explicit directions to His servants. It is only those who have followed in obedience these commands that have fully enjoyed His blessings. Little did these servants of God know the blessings God had in store for them: Abraham ; Moses ; Joshua
“I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.”
Why couldn’t God continue to supply His servant’s needs in the same way as before? Why now a widow, who has nothing herself? God’s servants have to learn the lesson of patience; we have to be tested, and tested, until we are proven worthy of His service. Thus God tests His servants in various ways. A Strange plan for war – . Demanding great sacrifices –. In difficult circumstances –<Deut.8:2; James 1:12 >
GOD’S SERVANT MUST EXERCISE FAITH IN SPITE THE ADVERSITIES
“The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.”
No rain yet God will maintain the food supply. So it is that God’s servant must serve and wait in faith. <see Luke 17:5; Dan.3:17>
THE TEST OF THE FURNACE
“Some time later the son of the woman ….. became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.: Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow …. The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.”
- God displays His power in impossible situations.
- Impossible situations are designed to make us people of prayer.
FACING THE IMPOSSIBLE TASK
“… the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab ….. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.” Elijah said, “As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
The servant of God now fully equipped and trained for the task, sets out in all confidence to meet the enemy.