Friday, July 18, 2014

When The Brook Dries Up

Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.  1 Kings 17:9

Yesterday we learned about Elijah and how God had miraculously provided a brook for him that for all practical purposes should have been dried up.  In the midst of a drought, there was a brook for him.  Unfortunately, it did not last.  The same thing can happen to us as well.  We have a life-giving, sustaining source, a brook.  Then all of a sudden one day it is dried up and gone, leaving us parched and thirsty.  Let’s see what happened to Elijah when the brook dried up.

Just when things are starting to look up again for the prophet, one morning Elijah wakes up, bends down to wash his face in the brook…and the brook is gone.  The miraculous brook that should have never been there in the first place has finally dried up along with the rest of the countryside.
This is the point in the spiritual cycle where most Christians get frustrated and lose hope—when God removes His manifest presence.  It’s the most frustrating moment.  It’s the darkest hour.  It’s the most likely point for an emotional crash.

God provided some morsels in the past, but now—nothing.  It’s where most Christians say, “That’s it! I’ve taken this God-thing as far as it can go.  I’ve given it my best shot.  It worked for a while, this depending on God thing, but now I’ve got to rely on the one person that really never lets me down—me, myself, and I.”

When the brook dries up—the real crisis point has arrived.  There are really only two alternatives:  We either persevere in the life of discipleship, or we turn to the natural alternative—the human path of self-preservation.  There has to be a point where God takes His hands off of us, because only then, can we demonstrate that the training He’s given us has sunk in; only then can He prove that we are authentically on the path of Christ-likeness.  I promise you this: When God appears to take His hand off of you to let you live by faith, He will absolutely, unquestionably, take you back into His arms soon.

Remember: seasons of drought and doubt are just that—SEASONS
By nature these are temporary.  They may be long, but they ALWAYS END.  If God kept His hands off of Elijah too long, he would have surely died.  But God had a plan as we can see in the verse above.  He told Jonah to go to Zarephath and there would be widow there to take care of him.  Elijah must submit to rely on a poor, starving widow.  In this ancient culture, the widows were often the lowest on the social order; the neglected, the downtrodden.   Elijah would have to humble himself to accept her help. 

She has only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. Her plan is to use these sticks she is gathering to make a fire to cook her own last meal and then die.  Yet again God jumps in and says, “I’m going to bring these three despairing people together to demonstrate my divine compassion!” They were both in a dry season, a drought, but God used them to help each other.  By the widow’s blind obedience combined with the prophet’s faith, God uses one handful of flour and one jug of oil to miraculously support them for months.

What is the season of drought in your land?  Maybe it is a financial drought.   God has allowed a brook that you used to drink from every day to evaporate.  Maybe your famine is in a relationship.  Maybe you are wandering in a spiritual desert.  You are not the first to go through a spiritual drought. Many have gone before you and many are there now, probably some people around you that you don’t even realize they are there.  You see that’s the amazing part about wilderness times.  We have no idea, how or when God is going to display His brilliance in crafting our rescue!  It’s like digging a tunnel through a mountain.  You have no idea when the end will come until your pick strikes a beam of light!  God’s plans of rescue are better than any a novelist could devise!  The exciting part is you need the faith to use today’s blessing to make sure tomorrow’s comes! And it will.  He’s the God of unending abundance.  The God of surprise endings!’

Scripture to Claim
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:18-19

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