“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.” – 1 Kings 17:1-6
In the midst of a land where the Prophets of God we’re being hunted and killed by Jezebel (the king of the territory’s wife), Elijah dared to trust God enough to stand before the king and boldly prophesy against them. Think about this. All the prophets where running and hiding from these people and Elijah (trusting in the mandate that God had given him) runs toward them and decrees with all confidence that it will not rain anymore except by his word.
How could he have such courage? Because he had faith. He did not go of his own will, strength, purpose, or decree but by God’s. God had spoken and he had obeyed. From the outside looking in that might look like courage, or even arrogance, but really it’s confidence, it’s obedience, it’s faith.
What a bold assignment God had entrusted to Elijah. What powerful words. What authority he wielded. What power he represented… Elijah might think it’s all up hill from here! He might think it’s time to take the kingdom! He might think that since he was the only one faithful to do this bold and dangerous thing for God that he would be catapulted into a mass ministry of glory and grandeur!
Then God speaks again! Elijah might have thought, “You just used me to speak to Kings, rebuke the rains, and shut up the heavens! What’s the next assignment Lord!” But what God speaks next is not what most of us would want to hear having just been used so mightily by God.
God tells him to “go hide thyself”, and He tells him where. “Go live in a cave in the wilderness next to the brook Cherith that is before the Jordan.” … Wait, what, why?
First off there had to be a season of time to allow the words that he had spoken under the unction of the Holy Spirit to come to pass that they might prove God’s approval of him and power through him. The prophetic works through a speak and retreat pattern. Men must choose to except or reject the word of the Lord for themselves. Therefore is the word given then time allowed to pass in mercy as the Lord confirms it and waits for it to be submitted too.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” – Revelation 2:20-21
However, God’s mercy on the wicked is not the only reason for this wilderness, but also His love for the obedient and desire to protect and refine them further. To prepare them to cross over into new territories, to pour into them revelations and to cut out temptations. To tune their ears, to build their faith in His provision that they not fail to fear and submition to the enemy or worldly needs or desires. To learn that God is their provider, supplier, meat, bread, shelter, and fire. To remove the temptation to compromise for the promise of carnal provision because that they have learned to rely on God’s supernatural prevision! It’s where a small mustard seed of faith grows into a great and mighty tree of faith. He had faith in that one original area but rather then just keep using him there, God was growing his faith and branching it out into many different areas for greater things to come! You see it’s not so much about the small size of the mustard seed but more so about how big a tree it has the potential to grow into. It’s not about a small faith that can do big things, it’s about a growing maturing faith that can do greater things!
“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” – Matthew 13:31-32
God told him to go hide himself to protect him from the enemy while He cut somethings away from him that would hinder him in where God was going to bring him next. You see, God told him to stay by the brook “Cherith, which was before the Jordan”. “Cherith” means “cutting”, and the “Jordan” is “the place of crossing over into promise (purpose/destiny)”. There has to be a time in the wilderness where you allow God to cut some things away, to circumcise your flesh and heart, before you can cross over into the destiny that God has for you. He may give you a little taste of it first to plant that seed of faith but then you need to let it grow like a tree planted by the waters, like the waters of the brook Cherith. There is impossible provision there, there is spiritual circumcision there, there is revelation there, there is cultivating of your gifts there, there is growing, branching out, strengthening, and maturing of your faith there. Once the Lord has done His work on you there, He Himself will move you by removing the provision that He supplied to keep you there in the first place.
“And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.” – 1 Kings 17:7-9
So until that happens, don’t move yourself! If you cross the Jordan too soon you won’t be strong enough to handle the storms that await you there. Elijah might have thought it a mighty thing to stop the rains, but the real battles didn’t begin until after the rains had begun again and when they did, he knew where to go to get the revelation needed to survive and cross over to the next assignment… back to a cave in the wilderness, back to that place of faith building communion with God where instruction flows like a river to your soul. It’s all about learning, maturing, and growing before the going. The first cave, God had to put Elijah in to teach him, the second cave, Elijah put himself in because he had learned.
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:9