Elijah: The Prophet Of Courage And Confrontation
1 Kings 17:2-7
DRY BROOK UNIVERSITY
Intro: Boot camp: for those who have served in the
military, it is a place that they well remember. For
many, it was their first time away from home. It was a
time of brutal discipline, unending work, regimented
training, cold fear and acute loneliness. Yet, it is in boot
camp that soldiers are born. A soldier would never be
able to serve on the battlefield unless he has first been
through the training of boot camp. In boot camp,
soldiers have their self-will striped away. They lose any
rebellion that may in their heart. They learn to follow
every order from a superior without question. They
learn to follow their leader, even to death, if necessary.
Of course, the positive side of all the training, the
discipline and the pressure is that the soldier grows
stronger, more disciplined and more mature. He is
transformed from a common man into a battle ready
soldier. You might say that boot camp is much like
enrolling in a compressed university program. The
soldier learns much in his short time there. However,
what he learns in boot camp is essential to his survival
on the battlefield.
God has place that each of His children must pass
through. He has a university, a training experience, for
each of those He intends to use. Elijah is about to
enroll in this university in the verses we are considering
this morning. When we think of Elijah, there are usually
two events that seem to characterize his life. The first
is the fact that he was carried away to Heaven in a
chariot of fire. The second has to do with his great
victory on top of Mount Carmel. I think we need to be
reminded that before we can be trusted to stand on
Carmel, we must first pass by the dry brook. What I am
trying to communicate is the truth that before God can
use His servants, He must train them. Before He can
use us greatly before men, He must first break us
Surely, every child of God in this room today wants
to be used by the Lord. However, before that can
happen, we must first pass through God's university.
There are lessons that we must learn. There are
courses that we must have. Before God can place us
on the battlefield as a soldier of the cross, He must first
send us to boot camp. This isn't a truth we enjoy
thinking about, but it stands to reason that before God
can really use us, He must first remove from us all that
hinders His will from being done.
Therefore, let's join Elijah this morning as he enrolls
at Dry Brook University. His experience contains
several elements of truth that we need to explore
together today. These things will help you when it is
your time to enroll at Dry Brook University.
I. V. 2-4 THE PLACE GOD ORDAINED
(Ill. The context. Elijah has just stood before the
King of Israel and delivered the message of
judgment that God had given him. Now, the next
word from God is command to hide himself away.
It seems to me that God would want to keep Elijah
in the face of Ahab. However, God's ways are not
our ways! You see, God has a plan! He wants to
transform Elijah from Elijah the Tishbite (17:1) into
Elijah the Man of God (17:24). To accomplish this,
God is going to have to send Elijah to school.)
A. V. 2-3 The Name Of That Place - Cherith - The
word means "to cut off, to cut down". God has
cut off Elijah from public view so that He might
cut him down to size.
(Ill. One of the hardest lessons the child of God
will ever learn is that God must send you to
Cherith before He can use you for His glory. He
must hide you away and cut you down so that
His image may be more clearly revealed in you.
Just as the silversmith heats the silver and skims
off the dross until he can see his image in the
silver, so God will work in our lives to bring us to
that place where His image is seen in us, Eze.
B. v. 3 The Nature Of That Place - It is a hidden
place. Note the command from God, "Hide
thyself", v. 3. Cherith is by nature a hard and
lonely place. Here Elijah would be removed from
the spotlight. Here he would dwell alone while
the Lord worked out His will in the prophet's life.
(Ill. Of all the lessons that we can learn from
these verses, one of the most powerful is that we
must never overlook the power of the hidden life.
It was in this place, hidden away from public
view that Elijah became a man of God. It was
here that he learned to trust God totally. It was
here that Elijah was forced to learn to lean on
the Lord. You see, before we can ever give out,
we must first take in. Before God can pour
anything out of our vessels, He must first put
something in them.)
(Ill. We all need to learn the value of the hidden
life. You see ,there is a part of us the world sees
and a part of us they do not. It is the part that
men do not see that defines us. It is that time
spent alone, in the presence of God that can
make us great for His glory. How much time are
you devoting to the hidden life?)
((Ill. Of course, there are times when we think
God should use us more than He does.
However, when He hides us away from the eye
of the world, His plan is to grow us up in private
so that He might display us for His glory in His
time. A life that is lived in solitude, before the
Lord is a life that will one day be used to bring
Him great glory. You see, God wants us to
come to the place where we are found faithful in
the hidden life. When we are found faithful
there, He will expand our sphere of influence
and bring us out of the hiding place, "He that is
faithful in that which is least is faithful also in
much: and he that is unjust in the least is
unjust also in much.", Luke 16:10. Therefore,
we must come to the place where we are as
willing to be hidden away, as we are to be
used. That is the nature of Cherith! It may
mean being passed over. It may mean being left
out. Never forget, though, that God knows
where you are. If He has sent you to Cherith, He
has hidden you away so that He might reveal
you in His time!
C. V. 4 The Necessity Of That Place - Notice the
use of the word "there". Cherith was a specific
place. It was the only place Elijah could be and
be right with God. If he had gone anywhere
else, he would have starved to death. God had
ordered provisions for Elijah, but He had ordered
them to be delivered to Cherith. It was the only
place to be.
(Ill. When the Lord sends us to a difficult place in
life, there is the tendency to want to be
somewhere else. After all, who likes pain? Who
likes sickness? Who likes financial trouble?
Who likes to struggle? What we must learn is
that if God sends us to a Cherith, He knows what
He is doing. The only place for us to be is where
God sends us! If we find ourselves in a difficult
situation, we can do not better than to submit to
it as the will of God for our lives and learn to trust
Him while we are there. I really think we forget
Who is in control! I just want to remind you that
is the Lord has sent you to Cherith, it is merely
part of His plan for your life, Rom. 8:28.
Therefore, you have only two choices. The first
is rebellion. You can fight God and stay in your
Cherith longer, or like Elijah, you can submit to
God, v. 5, and He will work out His plan in your
life. In other words, you can either choose to be
miserable as you go through the difficulties of life
or you can choose to rejoice in spite of the
situation, 1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6-7.)
(Ill. There is a place for you that has been ordained
by God. You can do no better in life than to willingly
follow Him there. It may be a hard place. It may be
a place that hurts. It may be a frightening place.
However, if the Lord ordained that place for you,
then you can do no better than to submit to it!)
I. The Place God Ordained
II. V. 4-6 THE PROMISE GOD OFFERED
(Ill. The context. Elijah is sent to the middle of
nowhere to hide. Of course, we know that God sent
him there for two primary reasons: Protection and
Training. God promise Elijah that his needs will be
met while he is there. The lesson of these verses is
this: God's call is always accompanied by God's
provisions. He will never send you to a place in life
that He does not give you ALL you need to make it
through that place. His place is always complete
with His provisions for that place!)
A. V. 4 Involved Advance Planning - Notice that
before the need arose, God already had the
provisions in place. When He formed the world
He made sure to form that little brook just for
Elijah. Before He told the prophet to go to
Cherith, God had already commanded the
ravens to take care of God's man. This lets us
know that nothing catches God by surprise.
When this came up, God did not wring His hands
in despair and say, "Oh no! What am I going to
do? How will I keep this man alive?"
(Ill. We need to remember that our Cherith
always comes equipped with God's provision.
We serve a God Who is already alive tomorrow!
That is a truth that we can never comprehend,
but one which we certainly can enjoy. Before the
dawn ever breaks tomorrow, the Lord is already
there and He has already placed what I need in
the path I will take. Regardless of the
circumstance or difficulty, God has already
prepared the path that I will take, Psa. 37:23.
This is the truth Paul encountered during his fiery
trial with the thorn in the flesh, 2 Cor. 12:7-10.
Paul was told that the Lord had already supplied
his need before it arose!
B. V. 6 Involved Amazing Provision - God used a
bubbling brook and some ravens to feed Elijah
while he was stationed at Cherith. This is
remarkable because ravens are scavengers.
They feed of the flesh of the dead. Yet, God
used them to bring life sustaining food to the
prophet. (Ill. Have you ever wondered where
they got the food? Maybe from Ahab and
Jezebel's table!) At any rate, God suspended
the "laws of nature" to meet the need of His
child. Never forget that God knows what you
need. If He has too, He will move heaven and
earth to see that your need is met. He knows
where you are and He knows where the
provisions you need are. He will direct your path
to the place where He can meet your need, Phil.
C. V. 5 Involved Abundant Peace - Note the
phrase, "So he went and did according to the
word of the Lord." When God called, Elijah
simply stepped out in faith and obeyed. That is
the secret to surviving your Cherith experiences!
Coming to the place where we do not question
God, but when He speaks, we respond by doing
what we are told to do. You see, when we are
on God's payroll, He will pay our way, Matt.
6:25-34. However, when you choose to walk a
path He has not ordained, you will pay your own
way. Ill. Jonah - Jonah 1:1-3. This is the
primary lesson of Cherith. God's servants must
come to the place where they trust God alone
and they must trust Him absolutely. Elijah had
nothing but the promise of God, yet for him that
was sufficient to let him know that all would be
I. The Place God Ordained
II. The Promise God Offered
III. V. 5-6 THE PLAN GOD ORDERED
A. It Was A Sovereign Plan - Notice that God was
in absolute control of the situation. The ravens
did as He had commanded them and they
brought bread and flesh to the prophet twice per
day. The brook continued to provide liquid
refreshment as well. All of this was ordered by
the Lord to teach the prophet that God was in
absolute control of what happened. When the
Lord puts you in a place where you can do
nothing but trust Him, He had done you the
greatest favor that He can extend, outside of
salvation. When we come to the place where we
are trusting Him and Him alone, we have
reached a great level of growth.
B. It Was A Satisfying Plan - Satisfying because
Elijah enjoyed the fulfillment of the Lord's
promises to him. He received just what he Lord
told him he would. He found God to be true.
Nothing means as much to a suffering saint as
the peace of knowing that God is in control! We
may not like the situation in which we find
ourselves, but if we know that God is going to
take care of us, then we can be satisfied
anywhere, with anything.
C. It Was A Submissive Plan - Notice that verse
5 tells us that "he went and dwelt by the
brook." The word "dwelt" means "to live".
Elijah wasn't headed out there for an overnight
camping trip. He went out there to that brook
and set up house. He intended to live in that
place until the Lord came and told him to go
somewhere else. That is when we begin to
enjoy real victory in our lives, regardless of the
circumstances we find ourselves in. When we
arrive at the place where we can submit to the
Lord's will for our lives, no matter how bad we
might think it is, then we are on the path to help
and blessing. (Ill. Paul - Phil. 4:11-13; 1 Tim.
4:6-8.) Have you submitted to your Cherith?
(Ill. The whole purpose in God's plan was to help
Elijah come to the place where he could trust God
for one day at a time. I would imagine that there
was some fear in the prophet's heart that first
evening. Would the ravens appear? Would there
be flesh and bread in the morning? But, as the days
passed and God proved Himself to be faithful and
trustworthy, Elijah learned to walk by faith. Friends,
that is where the Lord wants to bring us as well!
The Bible tells us that "the just shall live by faith.",
Rom. 1:17. God wants us to come to the place
where we do not know which step to take next. He
wants us to be totally dependent upon Him. He
wants us to rest in His arms by faith, without fear.
And, He will put us by Cherith to bring this to pass!
He will cut us off and cut us down to teach us to
trust Him fully!)
I. The Place God Ordained
II. The Promise God Offered
III. The Plan God Ordered
IV. V. 7 THE PROBLEM GOD ORCHESTRATED
A. A Dry Brook - This steam of life giving water ran
dry! Imagine how Elijah must have felt as he
watched that stream grow smaller each day.
One day, it's voice wasn't as loud as it had been
the day before. As the days passed, the little
brook began to get narrow. Then, one day it was
all gone! Nothing was left but a dry, cracked
(Ill. This happens to us as well! That job that we
have invested our lives in dries up. That mate
that we have given ourselves to completely
walks out on us. Our health that has always
been so robust breaks. Regardless of the
circumstances, the brook has dried up! When we
are faced with these kinds of trials, we must
never lose sight of two great truths
1. The God Who provides the water can also
withhold the water. He is in control of our
lives! As Elijah was about to find out, God
had another place already prepared for him.
So it is with us! When our brook dries up,
God has another channel of blessing already
lined up for us!
2. A dry brook is not always a sign of God's
displeasure. Certainly, God uses the events
of life to chasten us when we walk outside of
His will. However, there are times when He
will let your brook dry up in the midst of your
serving Him. It happened to Abraham when
he was called on to offer up Isaac. It
happened to Joseph as he ministered in
Potipher's house. It happened to Paul as he
faithfully served God in Lystra. It happened
to Jesus as He agonized n Gethsemane and
as He gave His life a ransom for sin on
Sometimes, the brooks of life dry up
because God is pleased with us and desires
to take us on to new and better things. He
knows us and He knows that we would be
reluctant to leave a place where everything
was going perfectly. Therefore, He will dry
up our brook causing us to be willing to go
where He leads us.
Sometimes, God allows the brook to dry
up because we are guilty of trusting the brook
more than we trust Him. We are to learn to
look to the Lord and not to His gifts! Even
when the gifts are gone, we are to trust Him
B. A Devastated Prophet - I can hardly imagine
how Elijah must have felt as that brook dried up
before his eyes. I wonder if he felt abandoned
and forsaken? I wonder if he felt that God has
somehow let him down?
(Ill. Have you ever felt abandoned by the Lord
when one of your brooks dried up? I just want
you to know that God hasn't forsaken you. In
fact, when you are standing there looking at a
dried up brook, you are more His concern then
than at any other time. Friend, He cannot forget
you. Notice His promise in Isa. 49:14-16.
God will often allow His people to sit by a
drying brook. When it happens, and it will, never
believe for an instant that God has somehow
forgotten about you or forsaken you. If you are
in His will, where He wants you to be, then you
can rest in His promise to take care of you. Like
Elijah, when your brook dries up, God has a new
channel of blessing that He will reveal in His
C. A Dynamic Situation - For Elijah, that dried up
brook should have been something to shout
about. Why? Because of two things:
1. His Prayers Had Been Answered - James
2. His Prophecy Had Been Fulfilled - 1 Kings
Elijah's dry brook came about because God was
pleased with the prophet. That doesn't make
sense from a human standpoint, but it is true
nonetheless! We need to come to the place
where we understand that God dries up the
brooks of life because He has something even
bigger just down the road. Sometimes the
brooks dry up because you have done
everything correctly. God has just chosen that
dry brook as the vehicle to move you to a new
place of blessing.
Conc: Remember that God is sending Elijah to school.
He is training a prophet. He is building a man of God.
God knows that before Elijah can stand in power on
Carmel, he must first be broken at Cherith. His goal is
the same in our lives today. Many of us have attended
the same university that Elijah attended. We are alumni
of Dry Brook University. Others are just enrolling.
Brooks are beginning to dry up in your life. You wonder
what to do and how you will make it. My advice today
is that you come to the place early where you roll
everything off onto the Lord and you trust Him to take
care of you.
If you are a child of God, may He help you to come
to the place where you realize that everything that
happens in your life is part of God's plan for you, Rom.
8:28. And that nothing can happen in you or to you that
He does not allow, Ill. Job. For me, that makes all my
dried up brooks easier to deal with.
If there is a need this morning, I want you to bring it
to the Lord God. If salvation is your need you come. If
you are standing there looking at a brook that is drying
up right in front of you, I want you to come. If you need
the Lord to move in your life, I want you to come. If you
feel abandoned and forsaken by God, I want you to
come. Whatever the need, Jesus can meet it today.
Will you come to Him?