Elijah: A Case Study in Waiting on God
The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith.”
–1 Kings 17:2-3
Early in his ministry, Elijah had tremendous success. We find it in 1 Kings 17:1: “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’” Now, it was a big deal for Elijah to confront the king and the queen and say, “Because of your paganism, I’m pronouncing a judgment: It’s not going to rain.” His ministry started off big in Samaria, but then God told him to go hide himself for three years. Why? Because God had an even bigger mission for Elijah. Yes, it was a big thing to stand before the king and queen, but that was nothing compared to confronting 850 sword-wielding prophets of Baal who would try to take his life. Mount Carmel was still ahead for Elijah. So between this experience and the next experience, God said, “It’s time for some training and preparation.”
By the way, that is often God’s plan for us. We need to be trained and prepared for the next mission. One author noted that Marine Corps recruits have to go through a crucible of testing to earn the title United States Marine and the coveted EGA: the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor emblem. That training starts with a thirteen-week training session where the recruits suffer through drill instructors running, marching, and pushing them until they begin to think and function like Marines. Now, that is hard enough, but the real work is the next part. During a fifty-four-hour marathon, these recruits, if they survived boot camp, are put through drills like forty-mile hikes, obstacle courses, and all kinds of training with no sleep and little food or water. Only after they have gone through this second experience, which they call “the Crucible,” have recruits earned the right to be called a United States Marine.
Elijah went through a similar spiritual training process. He went through a kind of boot camp at the brook Cherith. Then he went through a type of crucible at a place called Zarephath. Look at 1 Kings 17:2-3. Remember, in verse 1, Elijah confronted King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Then look at what happened next: “The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith.’”
Why did God tell Elijah to hide himself? Some commentators believe that was God protecting Elijah from Ahab and Jezebel. Really? Did Elijah have to hide to protect himself from Ahab and Jezebel? If God were worried about Elijah’s safety, He would have never told him to go talk to Ahab and Jezebel in the first place. No, God was fully capable of protecting Elijah no matter where he was. God had His own reasons for calling Elijah to go into the waiting place.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #3: Wait on God’s Timing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.