A Season of Preparation
Day: 19 | Plan: 1-2 Kings
Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17
1 Kings 17:2-3 (NIV) "Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 'Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.'"
When you think of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, what comes to mind? Maybe you've heard the story of how Elijah courageously challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel and put them to shame by calling down fire from heaven. (1 Kings 18:22) Or even how Elijah dramatically ascends to heaven in a whirlwind at the end of his life. (2 Kings 2:11) These stories that are still to come. But today we are going to peek behind-the-scenes of the life of this mighty man of God.
Elijah was God's spokesman to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His name means "Yahweh is God" and his life will be summed up by making that declaration to the people of Israel through his prophetic ministry. He was a rugged reformer who refused to back down under pressure, and he was a dominant spiritual force during the dark days of King Ahab. Ahab angered God more than all of the other kings of Israel combined. Because of his wickedness and his unscrupulous wife, Jezebel, the entire nation became deeply steeped in sin and gross immorality due to their worship of Baal.
It is during this tragic time in Israel's history that Elijah arrives on the scene. Courageously, Elijah confronted Ahab, called the nation to repentance and willingly stood alone for God in the midst of religious corruption. But before the epic moment when Elijah would call down fire from heaven, the Lord would personally train Elijah and develop his faith in preparation for all that was to come.
In 1 Kings 17, immediately after announcing to King Ahab a severe national drought was coming, God told Elijah to leave and hide. (1 Kings 17:1-3) Elijah obeyed God, left Ahab's presence and spent three years remotely tucked away at the Kerith Ravine (the brook Cherith). It was there the Lord ordered the ravens to feed him twice a day. The Hebrew word kerith means to completely cut off. Elijah was cut off, isolated and separated. But God wasn't setting Elijah aside — He was setting Elijah apart.
It was during Elijah's ordained time of separation that he learned to trust God's miraculous provision like never before. Every day Elijah was utterly dependent on God to send the ravens with food … and every day the Lord faithfully sustained him.
If we are going to be strong enough to stand for truth, it requires us to separate ourselves and seek solitude with God. Often, it's in that place of isolation and separation, when we are utterly dependent on God to sustain us, that we see His miraculous provision and faithfulness on display in our life. And when we experience God in such a personal way … day after day … it strengthens our faith.
God was working in Elijah's life privately all along to prepare him for the work He had planned for Elijah. The Lord was developing Elijah's faith so he would be ready to perform some of the boldest feats of faith ever recorded.
God prepares us privately so we can serve Him publically. There is tremendous value in a hidden life with God. Are you experiencing a season of separation or isolation? Have you found yourself in a transitional period in your life where you aren't sure what's next?
Instead of striving to figure out all the next steps or sprinting to move ahead, what if we yielded to the separation process and started asking God to sustain us, and surprise us in ways only He can? What if we asked Him to somehow use the sideways situations in our lives to strengthen our faith?
Prayer: Lord, You are All-Wise and All-Knowing. Looking back over my life, I'm thankful for all the various situations, seasons and times of solitude You have used to strengthen my faith. I confess I wouldn't have chosen many of them for myself. And yet, I'm so thankful for Your wisdom, Your provision and Your sustaining power. Help me yield to Your separation process so You can continue to build character, endurance, prayerfulness and faith into my life. In Jesus' name, amen.
God still wasn't done with Elijah. After an intense season of isolation, the brook dried up. So God... Read More
Download the First 5 app to get the full experience