In studying the life of men and women with like passions of ourselves - - we find one who stood single handed against his people and stemmed the tide of idolatry and sin and turned a nation back to God. AND HE DID IT WITH
RESOURCES WHICH ARE WITHIN REACH OF US ALL - - - this is the
fascinating story of Elijah's power.
This man by whom God threshed a mountain was only a worm at best -- This PROPHET OF FIRE who shone like a torch was originally but a piece of smoking flax.
Faith made him all he became and faith will do as much for us (if only we will exercise it as he did) to appropriate the might and power of God.
ALL POWER IS OF GOD and it hath pleased Him to store it all in the Risen Saviour as in some vast reservoir -- and those stores are brought to our lives by the Holy Ghost according to the measure of the receptivity of our faith.
OH FOR ELIJAH'S RECEPTIVENESS that we might be full of Divine power as he was and able to do exploits for God like he did.
But before this can happen we must pass the same education as he. -- (you must go to Cherith & Zerepapth before you can stand on Carmel). Even the FAITH YOU HAVE must be (pruned) & (educated) & (matured) that it might become strong enough to subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises and stop the mouth of lions.
Notice then: The successive steps in God's education of His servant and learn from it.
1. God's servants must learn to take one step at a time. God only shows us one step at a time -- and then the next one -- and He bids us take it in faith. As soon as Elijah took the step to which he was led and delivered the message, then, "The word of the Lord came to him saying, get thee hence, hide thyself by the brook Cherith". And it was only after the brook had dried up and the drops had dried into the sand -- only then did the Word of the Lord come to him saying "Arise get thee to Zerepapth".
I like that phrase "The Word of the Lord came to him", he did not go searching for it -- it came to him & so it will come to you and me. It may come through the Word of God, or through a distinct impression made on your heart by the Spirit of God, or through circumstances -- but it will find you out and tell you what to do.
God does not give all His directions at once lest we should get confused -- He tells us just as much as we can remember and do. Then we must look for more and so we learn by easy steps, the subline habits of obedience and trust.
2. God's servants must be taught the value of the hidden life.
"Hide thyself by the brook Cherith".
The man or woman who is to take a high place among his or her fellows must take a low place before their God. It is in the sequestered vale of some Cherith where God educates His servants. Every soul that would wield great power with men must win it in the hidden Cherith -- in the silence and solitude.
A Carmel triumph always pre-supposes a Cherith and a Cherith always leads to a Carmel. The acquisition of spiritual power is impossible unless we can hide ourselves from men and from ourselves in some deep gorge where we may absorb the power of the Eternal. Not one of us can dispense with Cherith where the sounds of earthly toil and human voices are exchanged for the murmur of waters of quietness.
3. God's servants must learn to trust God absolutely. We yield at first a timid obedience to a command which seems to involve manifest impossibilities. But when we find that God is better than His Word our faith grows exceedingly -- and we advance to further feats of faith and service. This is how God trains His young eaglets to fly -- This is the key to Elijah's experience.
How strange to be sent to a brook which of course would be subject to drought as any other. How contrary to nature to expect that ravens which feed on carrion would find such food as man could eat or having found it would bring it morning and evening. How unlikely that he could remain hidden - within the limits of Israel when the bloodhounds of Jezebel were searching for him. But God's command was clear and unmistakable - It left him no alternative but to obey, "So he went and did according to the word of the Lord".
What a lesson this is of God's power to provide for His child. Elijah might have preferred many other hiding places but that was the only hiding place to which the ravens would bring the supplies - as long as he was where God wanted him to be, God was pledged to provide for him.
Our supreme thought should be "Am I where God wants me to be??". If so God will work a direct miracle if need be rather than suffer us to perish for lack.
Illustration: A little boy in Germany having read this story about Elijah, with his widowed mother, one winters night as they sat in a fireless room, beside a bare table, asked if he could leave the door open for God's ravens to come in, he was sure they must be on their way -- The burgomaster (Mayor) of that German town was passing by and was attracted by the sight of the open door on such a cold day and entered inquiring the cause -- When he learned the reason he said, " I will be God's raven" and he relieved their need then and afterwards.
If we are doing God's work in God's way in God's will, He will supply our every need.
4. God's servants often sit by drying brooks. Cherith began to sing less merrily, each day marked a visible diminuation of its stream --its voice grew fainter and fainter till its bed became a course of stones, baking in the scorching sun.
What did Elijah think???
Did he think God had forgotten him?.
Did he begin to make alternate plans for himself?
This would have been only human, but he waited quietly for God.
Many of us have had to sit by drying brooks -- perhaps you are sitting by one now. It is so hard to sit by a drying brook --much harder than to face the prophets of Baal on Carmel, but we must sit and wait.
Why does God let them dry???? He wants us to trust in Himself not in His gifts. He wants to drain us of self as He drained the Apostles by ten days of waiting at Pentecost. He wants to put in stronger contrast the river of His throne where the water never runs dry.
If the brook hadn't dried up Elijah might have been tempted to stay there and he never would have experienced the great victory of Carmel. Elijah needed the ministry of the dry brook in order to prepare him for something greater.
Notice what he did - He waited, He trusted, He prayed, then the Lord spoke to him. God showed him how He could change defeat into glorious victory. God overruled this calamity to the enrichment of the Prophet's life.
HE CAN DO THE SAME FOR YOU!