Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 17-19
Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 17:5-7
5) So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6) And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7) And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
God sent the prophet Elijah to Ahab, the king of Israel, to tell him there would be a drought in the land because of the wickedness he had led the nation into. Afterwards, God told Elijah to leave Israel and go to a brook called Cherith where there was still water. For a while. As the text says, eventually the brook dried up. These were ancient times. No running water. No bottled water. If there was no rain, there was no water to drink. And if there was no water, it wouldn’t be long before there was no life. This was the situation Elijah found himself in.
We’ve seen many instances in scripture where people suffered calamity and disaster because of their sins. But here we see a prophet of the Lord, who obeyed all of God’s instructions, now in a dire life-threatening situation. How could this be where God led him?
We too might find ourselves in situations where we have followed God faithfully, obediently done everything He has asked, sacrificed our time, energy, talent and effort in His cause. And instead of being blessed and rewarded we find we’ve lost jobs, relationships, friends, money. We’ve obeyed God and found our water has run dry. We’ve done everything He’s asked and as a result we’re now dying of thirst. How can this be?
Our water may run dry because this is a sinful world. The consequences of sin are death and all of its friends. None of us are spared or immune. This means dark days will fall into each life, even the lives of the faithful and obedient.
Our water may run dry because God allows people free will. Sometimes though we are obedient we may suffer because of the actions of others. Sometimes we may be obedient now, but are suffering because of the consequences of our own past mistakes. Though our sins may be forgiven, the effects of sin are farther reaching than we can imagine (see the stories of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar or Jacob and Esau)
Our water may run dry so others can see our witness. We often think everything that happens to us is about us, but God is working on a much bigger canvas. Sometimes the things we go through, good and bad, are as much to present a witness to others than for us. Seeing how God’s people handle challenges, difficulties and trials provides a powerful witness for others (see the story of Job).
Our water may run dry for a time, but our ultimate hope is for a place where our water never will run dry. Though Elijah’s water ran dry, God eventually led him to a place where he received sustenance. Even with this, Elijah eventually would have died. But ultimately God took Elijah to heaven, where there is eternal life and no droughts. We will often find in our dry river bed moments, that God eventually delivers us. But even if He doesn’t, our true hope isn’t in this world but the world to come, a place ‘where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal’ (Matthew 6:20). So when you’ve obeyed God and your water runs dry, don’t worry, don’t fear you’ve gotten God wrong, just keep doing what He’s asked of you, and trust that your deliverance is coming.