Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Brook Dried up ... And there was Famine

Poppies in the desert
Poppies in July by Demagistris

“And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.”  (First Kings 17:7)

“And it came to pass after many days that the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.” (First Kings 18:1-2) 

The brook Cherith dried up and God sent His prophet to the home of a Gentile widow of Zarephath. While in the home of the widow, Elijah was cared for, fed and shielded from all other external influences. He had learnt what his God can do. One of the faithful Jews in the land, Obadiah, met him to tell him how Elijah was being blamed for bringing trouble on the nation Israel and was now wanted by the King. Obadiah said; “As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you” (First Kings 18:10)

The nation Israel has been brought to its knees by the prolonged drought and the attendant famine that followed. God has His ways of bringing nations and peoples and even individuals to their knees. It could be through famine, as in the case we are considering, or even through crippling economic crises as we are experiencing in this country today. The nation, people, or individual will stand to gain if they learn their lessons and take the right steps to recovery. Remember what the Bible says in Hebrews 12: 7-11: 
“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

(Take particular note of verse 11)  Elijah is yet to show Israel the way to recovery. 

One point I do not want us to overlook in the crisis that befell Israel is that Elijah himself did not escape this national crises. He was made to feel in full measure what his fellow citizens were suffering. Likewise, God has not ordered events so that Christians escape the sufferings that are common, to man. He links us with the sufferings of mankind so that we can empathise with the suffering people of this world and reach out to them with the love of Christ in more understanding and caring ways.

The book of Hebrews talking about Jesus said: “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16) Because Jesus had been tempted as we are, and He knows all that we suffer, He is able to help us when we call on Him for He understands our plights.

Elijah got a taste of the sufferings of the people through the dried-up brook. It is important here to clear-up an issue. Remember, spiritual strength and power and peace and joy in Christ never dry-up; but the brooks which are natural sources of supply sometimes dry up for Christians as well as for non-Christians. Things that are spiritual are secure in Christ and are not subject to the fluctuating tides around us. Over flowing natural resources are not guaranteed to the Christian. The idea for example, that Christians should expect overflowing physical blessings is not Biblical. These brooks may be full for us, but they may also dry up. Our natural strength, as another example is a brook that will definitely dry up as we grow older. In fact, our good health and our good looks, may dry up earlier than we expect as a result of a sudden accident, or long-term illness, or careless use of what God has given to us, or even neglect of God given instruction that we should rest. Under such circumstances we should not always expect miraculous cures in every case. The Bible never promises perfect health to every Christian.

Elijah experienced the famine and had to keep up with the inadequacies in the home of the Zarephath widow. He had to learn to make do with what is available; so must Christians in all ages learn that in whatever situation God allows them to be exposed to, they must learn to empathize with the suffering people. If God is to exempt us from all dried-up brooks and famine, we would never know what others are suffering. Our witness would be impersonal and our outreach to others would be peripheral. We would never be able to identify with the hurting people.

One of the lessons Elijah learnt in the Zarephath widow’s college is the way to get out of crisis. He faced a real crisis when the Zarephath widow challenged him and his God . She confronted Elijah and said: “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (First Kings 17:18) How did Elijah face this challenge? He took the child to an upper room, called on his God, and the God answered.  Elijah never forgot this lesson, so when he came back and confronted Ahab, he called for the whole nation to come to a public lecture where he was to teach them the lesson of the crisis and the way to turn to God:

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. (First Kings 18:21)

What Elijah is saying in effect is this: The solution to the crisis of dried-up brook and famine is in deciding whom to follow. Only God has the answer. Israel will have to decide whether to follow God or Baal. When Israel finally acclaimed “The Lord, He is God” (18:39); the sign of abundant rain came.

The return to God includes the forsaking of the sins that separated us from God and removing all the things that ensnare us; hence the need to eliminate all the prophets of Baal and Baal itself.

Perhaps, you will soon experience a dried-up brook or you may be confronted right now by a brook that is drying-up. Do not be anxious or afraid. Our heavenly Father not only knows what He is doing, but He knows your every need and limitations. And remember, He alone is in complete control of the rains. Turn to Him and meet Him in your upper room. He is waiting for you, and you will come down with smiles on your face. The nation should also meet Him on Mount Carmel and cry in unison: “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”  and there will be abundant rain. He never fails.

1 comment:


    How many examples of infant baptism are found in the Bible? Answer: NONE. Infant baptism is a man-made doctrine.

    An example given to support infant baptism is the conversion of the jailer. (Acts 16:23-34.) The reasoning being that the jailer's whole household was baptized.

    1. Acts 16:31 They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."(NASB)

    The whole household was required to believe. The jailer could not believe for his household. Infants are not capable of believing the gospel of Christ.

    2. Acts 16:32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house.(NASB)

    The word was spoken to all in the house. Babies have no capacity to understand the word of the Lord. No infant responded to the gospel that night.

    3. Acts 16:33-34......and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believe in God with his whole household. (NASB)

    Who was baptized that night? Answer: The Jailer and all his household. What preceded their baptism in water? They all believed in God. No, infants were baptized that night. Infants cannot believe in God. Infants cannot believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    There is no example in Scripture of infants being baptized. You can only find infant baptism in man-made creed books and other writings of men.

    The is no example in the Bible of unbelieving adults nor of unbelieving infants being forced to be baptized in water. There is no Scripture of any non-believers being baptized in water, period.

    Jesus said in Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved...(NASB)

    Men say "Baptize unbelieving infants for forgiveness from original sin and then teach them to believe and they shall be saved."(Note: The doctrine of original sin is also a man-made teaching.)

    If you can baptize unbelieving infants then you can baptize unbelieving adults as well.

    Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!