Elijah was prophet of the Old Testament. And even by my standards he was a weird guy. (As an old comic used to say “if you think I am weird just what do you think I think is weird?”) There are so many facets of his life to key on, but I think today I was drawn to him by the feeling of isolation or being boxed in.
It is one thing to feel boxed in by the enemy of our souls. That feeling of being constrained or held back. Frankly I do not like it or do well with it. And as I have watched me change over the years, I have come to recognize that there is a difference between the constraints or harnessing of the Lord and the ungodly holding of the enemy. One clears up with a word of “go” while the other is in fact the constraint of the Lord.
I am in that particular season. Like Elijah, I feel as if I am on the edge of the brook Cherith awaiting the feeding by the ravens sent by God. The difference between Godly constraint and demonic stronghold, I believe is this. The hand of the Lord while it brings “discomfort” results in frustration. The enemy’s stronghold for me results in anger. When I see someone constrained by sickness or death or poverty (The lack of money at a particular time is NOT poverty. Be careful with words. What appears to be semantics can deteriorate life.) I get so angry.
The feeling or the appearance of “isolation” is when even being in the company of friends or family does not satisfy. The putting “aside” by the Lord is different. Isolation will cause you to “believe in the Lord but look to people.” The “setting aside” of the Lord will cause you to be reminded of His provision and resource. Confession-sometimes trusting the Lord and wondering if it will come by your next appointment, your next meeting sometimes is difficult for me to separate.
My wife and I are “in it” so to speak. No amount of words or action by me have yet to bring change to the scenarios that “need” to be changed. (My use of the word need, not necessarily His.) For whatever reason this “season” is here. In the now. It has challenged me, frustrated me and perplexed me. (Only in the last week have I watched 5 “solid” plans go by the wayside. Thank God I only plan and do not project! The struggle is that they are related to provision, housing and employment. What I consider “important.”) And sometimes I am on the page of “I do not get it.”
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (I look at that scripture and wonder “what nature” is that or was that? Certainly in Christ, there is no Adam, so what of the nature? Just a little side note.)
Here was a man who in the midst of fellow unbelief declaring in the midst of it, “As the Lord God of Israel lives…” like Jesus before Pilate, Elijah declares “before whom I stand” relegating Ahab’s authority to a minority position as Jesus. (John 19:10-11)
As a prophetic voice I have often felt like I was the believer in the room full of unbelief. Many times it felt like I was “whistling in the dark.” I have come to realize I was “lighting in the dark.”
By the brook Cherith…The name Cherith comes from the ancient Hebrew root meaning, to cut away, to cut up or off. This may well show that God had some cutting to do in the life of Elijah during this period. Wow and ouch. I know my heart was circumcised, the cutting away by unseen hands (Colossians 2:11) so that is not what I am talking about. There is also the term cutting away or cutting out where a cowboy separates a single animal, usually for branding. (It is okay to use cowboy references in light of the “shoot out at the Mount Carmel corral!) In the midst of it all, God wants some alone time for Elijah. “We must not be surprised, then, if sometimes our Father says: ‘There, child, thou hast had enough of this hurry, and publicity, and excitement; get thee hence, and hide thyself by the brook – hide thyself in the Cherith of the sick chamber; or in the Cherith of disappointed hopes; or in the Cherith of bereavement; or in some solitude from which the crowds have ebbed away.’ ” (Meyer)
I have commanded the ravens to feed you there: There is an emphasis on the word there. God promised that the ravens would feed Elijah has he stayed at Cherith. Of course, theoretically the ravens could feed him anywhere – but God commanded that it be at Cherith. Elijah perhaps wanted to be somewhere else, or be preaching, or doing anything else. Yet God wanted him there and would provide for him there.
I get it. Hidden in the hidden place.
Some of you are there. If I have taken note of one thing over the years, I am not alone in my trials or my journeys. (In the scriptures Obadiah had hidden away 100 prophets. So, why think you are alone?) Being hidden away like Elijah was at brook Cherith is not all that unusual. “Why so downcast o my soul?” (Psalm 43:5)
I see that many are hidden away decrying your condition, your position and yet I trust that it is the hand of the Lord that has constrained and restrained. We are in a season where the prophetic voice must declare the goodness of the Lord over those about. Emotions and promotions have not changed things. For it is only the heart of the Father released over a nation that will bring change. Even now I see that the reason for the season is our need to further understand what the Father is doing. We have gone from God dependency to man dependency where now our tendency is to release the Father’s hand over the nation. (Acts 4:29-30) Our revelation prepared us for this season of isolation while our contemplation was our consolation, but I say it is this day that what, as we kneel, what we feel will begin to come real. Atmospheres begin to clear and what is dear is coming near. Our locations and vocations are about to be touched. The simplicity of “keep your eyes” on Jesus is about to be restored.
There is a clarion call, a clear voice about to ring over this nation and the nations.
Blow the trumpet o Zion.