Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. 117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. Psalm 119:116-117
Next week begins the new series, “Lessons from Cherith.” For those of you unfamiliar with Cherith (also spelled Kerith) here’s a brief look into 1 Kings 17:2-6. The Lord God had called Elijah out of his home and to the throne of Ahab. While there he had the audacity to speak God’s words to the king telling him there would be neither dew nor rain for the next few years because of the kingdom’s fall into paganism. Then the Lord told Elijah to leave the king, head eastward, and hide in Cherith Ravine. And he obeyed.
He obeyed in spite of the fact that the drought meant the brook in the ravine was almost devoid of water. And the desert-like landscape meant no food was available. His trust meant God could continue to work miracles into Elijah’s life.
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 1 King 17:6
It’s estimated Elijah stayed in this barren, dry place for almost 2 years. And during that time, he learned some valuable lessons before his journey continued. For one, the Jews listed ravens among the despised birds (Leviticus 11:13-16). They were greedy yet tenacious. Of course, God used the most unlikely of sources to bring Elijah food! They were unclean and repulsive. Yet Elijah had to rely on them – foreshadowing his next God-directed move to rely on an unclean and unworthy widow.
Elijah’s lessons learned may not all be ones you or I need to learn. And during my own trip to Cherith this year, when I too was separated from my quiet, comfortable life, I learned lessons you may or may not need to hear. But the one lesson we all can learn from Elijah is unequivocal trust in the Lord. No matter what the Lord is trying to weed out, burn out, destroy from our thoughts and hearts He needs us first to trust in Him. And like Elijah and his ravens He will do more than just sustain us, He will surprise us. He will work to heal our hearts in ways we can’t even imagine.
I hope you will join me starting next week as I go back on a journey of remembrance from my time deep in my dry ravine. And watch to see how God surprises us, heals us, and love us.