“Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith.” (1 Kings 17:3)
Normally when we think of Elijah what comes to our minds is the showdown with the prophets of Baal. We have visions of fire falling from heaven and eating up the sacrifice and licking up the water! What a powerful showdown this was as thousands looked on. But have you ever considered the level of obscurity that Elijah was called to embrace?
First off, we know almost nothing about the man. He just shows up in 1 Kings 17 and single-handedly seems to take on the very powerful and wealthy King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel.
Go Hide Thyself!
How would you like to get a new assignment from the Lord that starts out with: “Go hide thyself”? God had a very good reason for directing Elijah in this way. A special judgment of God was decreed. It would take a few years for this judgment to have its effect on the nation of Israel. In the meanwhile God did not greatly need Elijah’s mix of ministry gifts! Imagine that.
So He hid him away in the wilderness by a brook. The ravens fed him. I once did a sermon on this passage and entitled it, A Prophet’s Reward: Road kill. I don’t really remember the sermon now. I don’t think the church does either! But I’ve never forgotten the title!
Actually I do remember at least the spirit of that sermon. I dealt with the struggle and enigma that often surrounds radical ministry. It seems 21st century western Christianity has discarded the biblical image of discipleship and endurance and has created its own image. Today it’s about pain-free living, abundant prosperity, and consumerist methodology.
Somehow, I’m not sure what Elijah would have thought about all this. Actually, Elijah’s biggest problems occurred when he was forced out of obscurity.
Here’s an idea to whet your appetite for the next posts:
As long as Elijah was not the big deal in his own eyes he was okay. But when he began to believe what the people were saying he began his nose-dive.
Are you intrigued? Stay tuned.