When the Brook Runs Dry | Reflections
At first, there was plenty of water in the brook where God had led Elijah to set up camp (1 Kings 17:2–5). The Lord commanded the birds of the air to feed His prophet. Many scholars tell how Elijah was fed by ravens—animals that were scavengers. Regardless of the method, God provided for His prophet. Elijah lacked nothing; then one day the brook began to dry up, and the Lord instructed him to leave that place.
Most people find it extremely difficult to stay put when everything around them is falling apart, or in Elijah’s case, the brook is running dry. They grow restless and want to do something to escape the trouble. Even when many people are forced to stay in one place, such as a job they find stressful, they may run away emotionally.
But notice how the prophet waited until God made it clear that it was time to move. He lived by a dwindling brook for many days until he heard the Lord’s voice instructing him to move on to another location. When it came, he packed up his bedroll and left the brook of Cherith.
The Lord had a greater purpose in mind for Elijah’s suffering. He was preparing His prophet for the day he would stand on Mount Carmel and face the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20–40). He also was training Elijah to see Him as the source of every need he had. In times of difficulty, people may reach out to help us.
While we are deeply grateful, we also should be keenly aware that only Christ is our Provider. Just as ravens fed Elijah, God may use others to meet our needs. However, these birds were not Elijah’s providers. The brook certainly was not. There was only one Person who could meet his needs, and that was God.
People get into trouble when they look to others to solve their problems. God is our problem solver. He allowed the difficulty, but He will also provide the answer that you need for the right solution. The answer will not come from your supervisor, friends, family members, or even through a paycheck. Our provision comes only from God. Someone reading this book may have lost everything within the past few months.
You may be discouraged, but you have a future that is brimming with hope; however, it does not rest in the arrival of a check or the rebuilding of a home or a family. It rests in your ability to trust God in the hard times just as much as you trust Him in times of joy and celebration.
Far too often, people depend on worldly “brooks” and “ravens” to meet their needs. This was Israel’s main problem. They did not look to God as their provider.
When trouble came, they cried out to Him; but after He had solved their problem, they returned to trusting in their own abilities. If we become comfortable in circumstances that are outside of God’s will, then they can become our security and not God.
Even believers living for the Lord can do the same thing. They may become frightened over the thought of having to change jobs. They would rather stay where they are than risk a change. God has a way of drying up our brooks to move us on to greater blessings. What looks like an ending to us is really a new beginning to Him.
We may mistakenly think that if the water dries up, then we will die; but this is never the case with God. His resources are inexhaustible. His love for us is eternal, and His future plan for us is mighty and full of hope and promise. Therefore, never give up.
Though you may be facing the darkest time of your life, if you will ask Him to cover you with a sense of His closeness, you will sense streams of light flowing down into your circumstances. You never know just how close you are to being released from the agony you are feeling.
Dr. Charles F. Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries. Charles Stanley was born on September 25, 1932 in Dry Fork, Virginia.