Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.”
Deuteronomy 8: 2
“I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain, or sea;
I’ll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.”
Today’s Study Texts:
“After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came to him (Elijah): ‘Arise and go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
1 Kings 17: 7-9
“Life In Zarephath – Part 1
“When It’s Time To Move”
A Prayer for Transition
You call us on a journey to a place we do not know.
We are not where we started.
We have not reached our destination.
We are not sure where we are or who we are.
This is not a comfortable place.
Be among us, we pray.
Calm our fears, save us from discouragement.
And help us to stay on course.
Open our hearts to your guidance so that our journey to this
Unknown place continues as a journey of trust.
The Reverend Canon Kristi Philip
How would I have felt had God sent me to Zarephath to live with someone I didn’t know?
What challenges do I think Elijah faced when God told him to ‘arise and go to Zarephath’?
“Some characters can only reach the highest standard of spirituality by the disturbings or displacings in the order of God’s providence.”
F. B. Meyer
Elijah And The Secret of His Power
For nearly a year, Elijah made his home by the Brook Cherith. While you and I may have found this to be an uncomfortable dwelling place without our hot-curlers or our soft mattress, for Elijah, this was an outdoorsman’s dream. Away from the daily duties of life in Gilead, the serenity of canyon-life was familiar to Elijah. Communion with God under a starry sky and the gurgling of Cherith’s cool water became the restful companions that brought tranquility to his heart. This lonely environment was where Elijah learned to totally depend on his Father’s loving care.
However, when the effects of the drought, predicted by Elijah himself, started to hit close to home, one wonders if God’s prophet didn’t begin to second-guess his situation. If I’d been in Elijah’s place I think I would have at least hoped God would take care of me. That He wouldn’t let me die of thirst because of a dwindling stream.
But there’s even a bigger question that comes to my mind. It goes something like this: “If God called me to Cherith, and it’s running dry, perhaps I misread His call in the first place? Possibly I just thought God was leading, maybe He really wasn’t?”
I appreciate the way F. W. Krummacher, in his book entitled, Elijah, The Tishbite, explores this line of thought. If providence was guiding Elijah and directed him to the Brook Cherith, which now had run dry, “O what peculiar guidance!” is the way Krummacher expresses Elijah’s potential response. He continues with this observation: “Yes, it is so -- the brook is diminishing daily, the bed of the rivulet begins to appear, and soon, where water flowed, all is become dry. ‘What meaneth this?’ Even as Elijah might well cast in his mind what manner of providential dealing this should be. At last water was no longer to be found…what a severe trial! ‘What meaneth it? To be preserved so long, and now apparently forsaken. Such sure promises, get such a result? Where is the Lord God of Israel? Am I no long His prophet? Have I sinned against Him, that I am now deserted? Does it repent Him that He has employed me?”
I find this portrayal to not only be likely, but to contain some of the identical thoughts I’ve had, when after doing what I believed to be God’s will, after thoughtfully and prayerfully seeking heavenly guidance with all my heart, I have ended up on the receiving end of a drying brook without any sign of rescue on the horizon. “Where is God? And why would He drag me along this far only to fail me now?” These questions are natural for any of us when we are standing on the edge of the Red Sea with an Egyptian’s spear in our back, just like the crisis the children of Israel found themselves in or if we are like Elijah whose only source of water is dry as a bone! F. W. Krummacher sums up Elijah’s situation appropriately when he states, “Yes…it is one of the sorest trials that can possibly befall us, when, having been placed by the kind providence of God in the midst of peculiar comforts, and just beginning to enjoy them with lively gratitude and hope, (Elijah) is suddenly torn from them, or bereft of all.”
At this moment in Elijah’s life, when death by dehydration appeared imminent and God’s failing to act only added pain to the physical drought Elijah faced, one can only imagine that a spiritual drought, a drying up of Elijah’s faith threatened him as well.
What we learn as we reflect on Elijah’s life at Cherith is that the great lesson his heavenly Guide had taught him -- to totally and without hesitation depend on God -- was all Elijah could count on at his lowest point. He had nobody else to rely on. He had nothing else to lean on. And because Elijah had learned this lesson well at Cherith, he did what is so difficult for any of us to do: He waited! As the prophet Isaiah so perfectly describes, “He (she) who believes, (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away in sudden panic” (Isaiah 28: 16, Amplified Bible).
I just love this passage for in my mind’s eye I can see myself, as the creek runs dry, grabbing everything I have and racing as fast as I can to find another watering hole.
But this wasn’t part of the lesson that God taught Elijah at Cherith. Here at a brook’s edge, God instructed Elijah, not on self-reliance but on God-reliance. He learned to trust in a God who never let him down.
The result we are told was that, “”the word of the Lord came to him.” (1 Kings 17: 8, Amplified Bible).
Elijah didn’t have to go hunting for a solution. Instead, he waited and listened, and he heard. God told him it was time to move. At the right time, when everything was in place, God said, “Get up and go!” And this is just what Elijah did. His total dependence gave him total confidence that his Father knew what he needed next.
It’s quite likely Elijah had become very comfortable at the brook. But a clear command came and without regard to how this uprooting might inconvenience him, Elijah obeyed…he stepped out…he did what God asked.
I love these words written by Ethel Crawford for they so aptly describe the feelings each of us may confront when God comes to us with a call to change…to transition…for He has a new lesson for us in a new place: “With God’s help, I shall not fear change.
Some changes will cause great pain others will bring joy. Some will pass by barely noticed; others will alter the deepest parts of my being. I will bring about many changes myself; but changes I experience will also be brought about by others around me, and I will be the tool God uses to change others’ lives.
With God’s help, I shall accept that change will happen every day; for I am not alone.
God shares the changes with me. God rejoices with me and comforts me through the difficult days. As the quiet, solid center that gives me something to cling to, God is the constant in my quicksilver existence.
With God’s help, I shall embrace it all.
Therefore, I shall not fear change. I shall trust that I can face all the changes, welcome them all, and be stronger after thy have done their work on me.
I can do all this, with God’s help.”
“Some never get started on their destiny because they cannot humble themselves to learn, grow, and change.”
Time To Go
“Time to go.
Reluctant or eager,
fearful or full of hope,
It’s time to go.
Spirit of the way,
May we carry with us
…oil of kindness for bitter partings
…salt of courage for uphill struggles
…spice of delight for new surroundings
…water of refreshment for parched imaginations
and sweet grace to surrender all we cannot
finish into other hands.
Time to go.”
Talking to the Bones
“For You (God) are all around me, on every side. Before me and behind me, Your hand is upon me. And You know my ways and You search me out.”
(Adapted from Psalm 139)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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