Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.” So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land. Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
1 Kings 17:1-9
When we think of Elijah, we think of miracles. We remember how he raised the widow's son from the dead. We remember his showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. We remember how he prayed for rain until a mighty storm came upon the land. We remember how he was carried away by a whirlwind into heaven.
But where was he before the miracles? What prepared him for a public ministry? Where did he gain the faith to ask for miracles? What gave him the courage to face the prophets of Baal?
He was hiding from the ruthless King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. He was alone at the Kerith Brook. He was being fed by ravens, sent by the hand of God. He was camped in the wilderness, isolated from everyone. He was totally dependent upon God and God alone to meet his every need.
And there, by the Kerith Brook, God did an amazing work in Elijah’s life. God revealed himself as the Great I Am, the one who will meet every need at exactly the right moment. He had the opportunity to be ministered to by God himself, to sit quietly by the brook absorbing God’s love. He had the time to see God’s faithfulness, to learn to trust his heart.
It was in his isolation, his time of greatest fear and need, that God prepared him for a bigger ministry.
Isn't that just like God? He takes us to the end of ourselves, to a place where we are totally dependent upon him. He might strip us of everything that is important to us, take us to a place of utter brokenness. And there, in isolation by the Kerith Brook, he carefully tends to our needs. In the most unreal ways, he provides for us, feeds us, clothes us. And, in the process, we learn how much he loves us. We learn that we can trust him.
It is in our seasons of hurt and isolation that he does an amazing work in us.
But that amazing work in us is not for us alone. It is to prepare us for the amazing work God wants to do through us.
In his time of isolation, Elijah learned to trust God completely. He learned total and complete obedience to God. When God said, "Go," Elijah immediately went to boldly confront King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, the very people from whom he had been hiding.
Determined to prove that Jehovah is the one true God, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel. After watching them beg and plead with their gods to consume the offering they offered, Elijah steps forward. He soaks the altar and the sacrifice with water. He wasn't content to just have fire; He wanted to prove that his God was almighty.
At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, "The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!" 1 Kings 18:36-39
A public ministry. A show of epic proportions. A demonstration of power from the one true God. An out-working of faith born at the Kerith Brook, born from a time of total and complete dependence on God.
Have you been to the Kerith Brook? Are you at the Kerith Brook today?
Your Kerith Brook might look quite different from Elijah's. Maybe your Kerith involves unemployment. Financial ruin. Addiction. Maybe it stems from the death of a loved one, an unexpected and painful loss. Perhaps like me, your Kerith Brook is the pain of adultery and divorce. Maybe it is something totally different.
Regardless of circumstances, God's plan is the same: he wants to use this time of isolation, this time of pain and loss, to mold you into his image. He wants to meet your every need. He wants to prove that he is good, loving, faithful. He wants to show himself as the Great I am. He wants to build your faith so that you can eventually leave the Kerith Brook.
Then, when he sees that you are ready, he will lead you to a mighty showdown, a place where his power and might can shine through you. He wants to take you from your place of isolation and pain to a place where he can use you to show-off to the world. He wants to take you to a place where you can boldly stand up and proclaim that you serve the one true God.
Are you at the Kerith Brook? Trust him. You never know what kind of amazing ministry he might be preparing you for!
Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.
Publication date: April 22, 2015