Chiseling at Cherith (I Kings 17:3)
I Kings 17:3, “Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.”
The setting of this story is after God allowed Elijah to announce a drought upon the land in the presence of the wicked king Ahab. The Lord spoke to His servant and sent him deep into the wilderness at the brook Cherith. The Lord had promised to take care of Elijah as he hid out by the brook. At Cherith, Elijah would find protection, provision, and preparation from the Lord.
As God’s messenger, Elijah announced God’s judgment against disobedient Israel. God would withhold rain for three and a half years (Deuteronomy 11:13-17). This method of judgment also mocked Baal because Baal worshipers believed he controlled the weather and was responsible for abundant crops. This drought (a long period without rain) came as the result of Elijah’s powerful prayers (James 5:17).
God provided for Elijah at Cherith because Elijah had stood with God against the people’s rebellion (I Kings 17:3-7; Psalm 25:10). When we attend to God’s purposes, He will attend to our needs (Psalm 68:19-20).
When the brook dried up, God directed Elijah to go to a territory occupied by Baal worshipers. There, God would provide for Elijah through a poor widow (I Kings 17:9). The experience further strengthened Elijah’s confidence in God’s care and guidance. Sometimes great difficulty occurs even though we are living in God’s plan. He uses such experiences to build our faith and do things beyond what we could have expected.
God faithfully and continually provided His prophet water and food in land of famine. God not only controls the rain but also the whole natural order. He even controls the ravens, ceremonially unclean creatures now used for God’s purposes of sustaining the prophet’s life. We know God provides for the birds of the air, and here He uses the birds of the air to provide for His prophet. Elijah is looking ultimately to the God Who reigns over nature for daily food and water, not to the raven or the brook.
God also provided a raven to feed bread and meat every morning and evening. Elijah recalled the wilderness meal plan. God provides “daily bread” in Matthew 6:11 and actually provided it more abundantly than in the wilderness, for Elijah ate both bread and meat twice a day in Exodus 16:8, 12-13.
God was hiding His servant in the wilderness so that He could mold his faith. The most powerful servants of God are those that allow time to be alone with God. We live in such busy times that it seems as if people are afraid to be alone. The phone is always ringing, the television is blaring loudly, the house is filled with family or friends and we allow no time for God. I wonder if we are afraid to hear the voice of God. It is often difficult for God to get past all of the “stuff” so that He can speak to His children.
We must find our place like Cherith, for in finding this place we can find the voice of God. In this place, God will cut away the unusable and unneeded things from our lives and He will mold us into something useful and wonderful. Elijah sat by the brook and allowed God to minister to him by sending the ravens with his daily supply of bread and meet. It must have been an unusual time in the life of Elijah as he watched this take place from day to day.
God sent Elijah to Cherith. Cherith means "a cutting place." God puts us through those cutting and chiseling times to mold and prepare us for future service. Cherith comes before the Mt. Carmel’s 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. The Lord uses His Word, life’s circumstances, or a submissive, meek, and humble servant to minister to us to knock off the rough edges in our life. God takes things and uses them to shape us and smoothen us. God takes and uses the pressures in life and it rubs against us for the purpose of conforming us to His image. Cherith was the place of loneliness, uncertainty, waiting, and hardship. God uses these elements to develop our character and knock off our rough edges. At some point in our lives, God will send us to “our Cherith’s”.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to never forget the places and circumstances that You place me in are for my good and for Your Glory. Thank You for always meeting my needs. I trust that You will use these times to draw others closer to You, In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.