This is a brief excerpt of the sermon given by Pastor Alexander
Thomas during the Watch Night Service on Saturday, December
31st, 11:30 PM 2016 at the International Church, Atlanta,
This New Year 2017 message was taken from 1 Kings Chapter 17
Verses 1 - 7
Elijah's brook dried
up. Why did the Lord allow this to happen? To teach him to trust
in God and not in the brook. His name was significant because it
conveyed his message. Elijah means "my God is Yahweh," a name
that shouted defiance to Ahab while declaring allegiance to the
Lord. From 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 9, the central figures in the
history will not be kings but two prophets, Elijah and Elisha.
God did not raise up an army or an organization to oppose the
power of an evil king or the spread of heathen worship. Rather,
He used two men who were armed with the word of the Lord.
There will be
neither dew nor rain in the next few years, except at my word.
Elijah's message to Ahab was brief, but it
went like an arrow to the central issue. And with those brief
words, the prophet was gone. He had defined the issue and drawn
the battle lines. Elijah was convinced that the Lord, in
contrast to Baal, was the living God. Canaanite mythology talked
about Baal dying each year and coming back to life to bring the
rains. Elijah knew that such a belief was nonsense, since Baal
was a fraud, the Lord alone was the living God. Furthermore, he
was the sovereign God who claimed the nation as his own, "the
God of Israel" who would tolerate no rivals.
calls us to fight for the glory of God, standing alone, if
necessary, against the false gods of our generation. The hiding
of Elijah was actually a judgment upon the nation. The nation
needed Elijah. If people refuse God's blessings and His message,
He will take it away.
Drink from the brook, ... the ravens feed
demanded faith because the brook that ran through the Kidron was
a wadi, a stream that flowed only during the rainy season, and
ravens were untamed scavengers, not providers. How could they
serve as a food source? Nevertheless, Elijah followed God's
instructions. He made his way to the Kerith, where he spent a
period of time. It was a place of total dependence upon God, and
the Lord demonstrated his sufficiency by providing food and
water for Elijah. In the midst of the drought, God demonstrated
that He, not Baal, was the God of nature who could provide all
the resources that Elijah required. This was crucial training
for the later event at Mount Carmel. Elijah was learning the
absolute reliability of the Lord.
GOD'S CHILDREN ARE OFTEN CALLED UPON TO
SIT BY DRYING BROOKS.
Elijah served his God in one of the most
dangerous periods in history. The issues of syncretism and
pluralism, so significant in Elijah's day, are with us today in
somewhat different form. These are times when followers of
Christ need to be at their best.
Drying brook of our popularity
Drying brook of our
brook of our needs
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN TO TAKE ONE STEP
AT A TIME.
gave Elijah his new assignment to go to Cherith Brook because he
completed his first one in going to Ahab. God does not grant
fresh revelation until there has been compliance with that which
has been already received. If you are confused about the will of
God today, it may be the result of not obeying the will of God
yesterday. People do not grow in the Lord because they do not
put into practice truth already taught.
Psalms 37:23—Steps are
ordered by the Lord. "Give us this day our daily bread."
MUST LEARN TO TRUST GOD COMPLETELY.
God sends Elijah to Cherith. Cherith means
"a cutting place." God puts us through those cutting times to
prepare us for future service. Cherith comes before the Mt.
Carmels of our life. The cross comes before the crown. Trials
come before blessings. At Cherith Brook God will cut off the
rough edges of Elijah's life. Cherith was the place of
loneliness, uncertainty, waiting, and hardship. God uses these
elements to develop our character and knock off our rough edges.
The Lord fed
Israel with manna and led them by a cloud.
MUST LEARN THE VALUE OF THE HIDDEN LIFE.
At Cherith, Elijah would develop his
relationship with the Lord. He would grow in faith, prayer,
patience, and humility. He would grow in humility because this
was a humble place. It was a brook, not a river. It was a
wilderness, not a castle. The Lord uses our Cherith Brooks to
keep us level-headed instead of big-headed and proud.
Moses on the backside
of the desert
Paul in Arabia
John on Patmos
John the Baptist in the wilderness
Jesus alone in the mountain
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST
LEARN TO TAKE ORDERS.
Elijah is ordered to Zarephath. There was
another challenge to Elijah's faith: some time later the brook
dried up. The irony was that God was answering Elijah's prayer
that there would be neither dew nor rain (17:1), and Elijah was
experiencing the consequences of his own prayer being answered!
Nevertheless, he did not leave the place where God had sent him
until the Lord said he could. He was submissive to the Lord's
timing, and he waited for the Lord to communicate the next step.
Kerith was Elijah's "boot camp" where he learned that God, not
Baal, was the Lord of creation, the God of rain and crops.
ordered to Egypt. Jonah is ordered to go to Nineveh. Paul is
ordered to go to the Gentiles.
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN ELIJAH'S GOD
Psalm 37:7—Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret
not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of
the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord,
they shall inherit the earth.
Psalm 46:10—Be still, and know that I am
God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in
Before God exalts, He humbles. God will exalt Elijah at Mt.
Carmel. The Lord allows Cherith Brook experiences in our life
because He wants us to realize that our usefulness to Him is not
dependent upon our station in life or upon the honors of men. It
is dependent upon our willingness to walk humbly before God at
all times. This is what the Lord was endeavoring to teach Elijah
and this is what He tries to teach us too.
Elijah would need
patience for the waiting ahead. If we do not learn to wait upon
the Lord, then we have a tendency to get ahead of Him. The
result is disastrous. Saul found this out in his own life. His
impatience with Samuel ruined him (1 Samuel 13:8-13). It ruined
Abraham too. God uses Cherith Brook to get us alone with Him and
dependent upon Him.
James 5 says Elijah was a man of like
passions—a man just like us—and yet he prayed and the heavens
were shut up. In other words, he was heard by God. James goes on
to say that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man
avails much. The reason Elijah was so powerful in public was
because he was prayerful in private.
When the brook began
to dry up, Elijah found himself in an interesting situation. As
he sat there, he saw the flow slow down. He saw the depth
decrease and finally disappears altogether. But Elijah didn’t
beside a drying, dying brook? Is there a relationship that is
drying up? Are your finances drying up? Is your physical
strength drying up? If you’re wondering why the brook to which
you thought the Lord led you is drying up, I want you to see
these possible reasons… When you’re beside the drying brook, you
might rejoice, knowing God is keeping you from getting ahead of
Him, renewing you in your knowledge of Him, and reminding you
that no one else can but Him. May God grant you understanding as
you sit there and wait until you hear Him say, “Arise.”
The lessons we
need to apply to our life this New-Year 2017 is
The God that supplies every need
The God that answers
that gives victory over all enemies.
Each generation faces the battle to live
out their loyalty to the Lord Jesus.
Our greatest calling is to declare God's
will faithfully and fearlessly to our times.
God not only works
through us; he works in us to prepare us for his next great
grows as we trust God's word and see his faithfulness to his
difficult places of life are God's training ground.
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