Thursday, January 18, 2018

When the Brook Runs Dry

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (I Peter 5:9)

When we suffer according to the will of God, we should realize we are not alone: 

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
(I Peter 5:9)

There is an interesting Old Testament account of a man who experienced suffering within the will of God. That is the account of the prophet Elijah. Elijah experienced all types of suffering as he prophesied God's message toward Israel. But the particular account we want to focus on today is found in I Kings 17.

When God first directed Elijah to the Brook Cherith, He provided for him miraculously. Ravens came to feed him, and the brook provided fresh water in a time when the nation was experiencing drought and famine. But eventually, the brook dried up. Why would God send Elijah to a brook He knew would dry up?

The will of God sometimes involves dry brooks. But when we experience such difficulties it does not mean we missed God's will. Elijah had not missed the will of God. The Lord led Elijah to Cherith. He enjoyed its waters. His needs were provided. He was blessed of God. But when it was time to move on, God allowed the brook to dry up. This got Elijah's attention.

Storms of life are inevitable and uncontrollable, as illustrated by this parable of the two houses: 

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.  Matthew 7:24-27

Storms will come to those who have built their lives upon God's Word as well as those who have not done so. The foundation of a man's life is what will determine the outcome of the storm.  

Suffering is to be expected as part of the will of God:

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (II Timothy 3:12)

For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. (Philippians 1:29)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 
(II Thessalonians 1:5)

For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass and ye know.
 (I Thessalonians 3:4)

We suffer for His name's sake:

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
 (Matthew 24:9)

 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.  (Luke 21:12)

Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20)

Part of the follow up plan in establishing early churches was to teach believers that they would experience suffering. This is missing in many churches today:

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

The call of Jesus to followers is one of denial of self and suffering:

And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
(Matthew 10:38)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.(Mark 8:34)

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (Mark 10:21)

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)

Perhaps God has directed you to a "Brook Cherith" in your life. You knew you heard His voice of direction. He blessed you at your brook. Your needs were met and you rejoiced in God's blessings. But then the brook ran dry. Maybe you no longer experienced the flow of God's power. Perhaps people turned against you. Perhaps leadership above you dammed up the brook and stopped the flow. For whatever reason, your beautiful brook ran dry.

When the brook runs dry you can do one of two things:

*   You can sit on the bank, spiritually speaking, and complain about your fate. You can spend the rest of your life wondering why it happened and weeping over the dry creek bed. You can question the leading of God. Did He even bring you here in the first place? If He knew the brook was going to run dry, why would He have brought you here? Did you miss God's will? Or. . .

*  You can realize that as surely as God brought you to this brook, He is now ready to move you on to a new dimension of His will. He is gaining your attention through the dry brook.

If brooks never dried up. . .if God never let difficult times come. . .He would never get our attention. Like Elijah, we would settle right where we are and never move on to new things. We would never stray beyond the banks of security of our brook. Drying brooks lead to greater things. Before the experience at Cherith, Elijah had ministered only to individuals. After this faith-building encounter, Elijah ministered to multitudes. He stood on Mt. Carmel and proclaimed before a nation of idolaters that God was the true and living God!

When you face drying brooks, your faith must not fail. You are on the banks of receiving new revelation from God. Do not question dry creek beds. Move on to the next dimension of God's plan.

Lastly, remember Peter's word on suffering:

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
(I Peter 5:10)

(Biblical Studies)



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