Two Purposes for Elijah’s Waiting
[Elijah] went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.
–1 Kings 17:5
I think there are two reasons God said to Elijah, “Go away from here and . . . hide yourself” (1 Kings 17:3).
First of all, Elijah’s time of waiting, or hiding, was a condemnation of Israel. The word translated “hide” literally means “remove.” God was saying, “Elijah, remove yourself to the brook Cherith.” One theologian noted that Elijah’s temporary removal from the national life of Israel was God’s judgment against the nation, because there was nobody left to preach God’s Word. There were dozens of prophets of God, but they were all hiding in a cave. Elijah was the only one willing to openly preach the Word of God. When God removed Elijah, there was nobody for the next three years to preach God’s Word to the nation. Think what America would be like today if suddenly every true preacher of the Word of God were silenced. This nation would crumble within days under the weight of its own sin.
Second, Elijah’s waiting time prepared him for a future mission. During those three years, God worked with Elijah to prepare him for his future mission. We don’t know exactly where the brook of Cherith was, but we know what the name means. “Cherith” means either “to cut off” or “to cut down.” Cherith means to be cut off from the blessings of God, but it also means to be cut down to size, and that described what was going on with Elijah during his time at Cherith. He was cut off from any visible means of support, but he was also being cut down to size, learning the invaluable lesson of how to depend on God alone.
You may be in your own Cherith experience right now. You are in your own waiting time. Maybe you feel like you have been cut off from other people. Maybe you feel like you have been cut off from your dreams. Your Cherith experience, that waiting time in your life, may be the result of the loss of a relationship. Your waiting time may be because of a moral failure. Your Cherith experience may be because of a poor decision with your finances or a career you think has cut you off from your dreams for the future. Your waiting time, your Cherith experience, may simply be because you are busy fulfilling the mundane responsibilities of caring for your family, you feel as if you will never achieve your goals.
Remember this: Waiting time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Even though you feel like God’s clock is moving at a glacial pace, God knows exactly where you are right now, and He knows exactly what He is doing. Elijah went through a Cherith experience, but during that time of waiting Elijah learned vital skills every one of us has to learn if we are going to be used by God in an extraordinary way.
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.