Elijah and Success
The last several weeks I’ve been speaking about the prophet Elijah in 1 Kings 17. Elijah was a man born for adversity. We all face adversity of some kind-- adversity of bad health, poor finances, difficulty at our job, marital problems, a rebellious child, aging parent or maybe struggling to live for Christ.
In 1 Kings 17:1-6 the first type of adversity Elijah faced was the adversity of success. You may wonder if success can be an adversity. Yes, it can. Many of us have known someone who was successful and prosperous in ministry, only to let the success go to their head, their heart became deceived, and they fell because of the temptation of pride that comes along with success.
Elijah, in the beginning of 1 Kings, goes to Ahab and tells Ahab there will be no rain until Elijah says so. Elijah leaves and God doesn’t send rain for 3 and a half years. That must have been a pretty powerful moment for the prophet. So, in case Elijah gets a big head or thinks too highly of himself, God tells him to go by the brook Cherith and to live there. God tells Elijah that He will send the ravens to bring him food in the morning and evening. Elijah will drink the water from that brook until it dries up (perhaps about a year or so later). There by the brook he has no apparent public ministry.
The way God taught Elijah how to handle the adversity of success was to go be alone with God Himself. No doubt part of the reason for hiding was because Ahab was going to look for Elijah. However, I think another reason for the hiding was so Elijah could be alone with God.
Every person that God has used mightily in the Bible was called to be alone with God for a season. Joseph had his season in prison--a long 13 years of prison! In jail God was preparing Joseph for the next phase of God’s plan. Moses had his wilderness experience of 40 years where he was prepared by God to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land. King David was on the run from Saul, and he had to be alone with God. David did have his mighty men with him, but not at first. God allowed the mad King Saul to chase and pursue David, because God was going to use those hardships to prepare David to be king. Paul was taught by the Lord personally for 3 years before he became the man we know as the amazing Apostle Paul who has given us the great doctrines we know in the New Testament.
God used these seasons of solitude in these men’s lives to prepare them for the successful ministries they would have. Before we “go public,” God wants us to ”go private” with Him. Before the crown of heaven, Jesus had the crown of thorns. Jesus is currently sitting at the right side of His heavenly father, but before that Jesus hung on a cross. We live in an instant society. We want our throne now, but in the life of the Lord Jesus the cross and being alone with His father came before the crown.
If we are to handle the success the way God intends, we must be alone with Him. Before and after the spotlight is on us, those times may entail hard things--such as suffering, being mistreated, being misunderstood, and forsaken.
Let’s not think too lowly of Brook Cherith. At the brook God prepares us. And, being alone with Him is what prepares us for success.
What’s your Brook Cherith? Don’t leave the brook until God tells you to leave. Let God feed you and provide for you. Eat the bread of His word and drink the water of His word. Don’t fight the brook! God may be using it to prepare you for what’s next--success in your life.