This is a brief excerpt of the
sermon given by Pastor Alexander Thomas during the Watch Night
Service on Saturday, December 31st, 11:30 PM 2016 at the
International Church, Atlanta, Georgia.
Year 2017 message was taken from 1 Kings Chapter 17 Verses 1 - 7
Elijah's brook dried up. Why did the Lord allow
this to happen? To teach him to trust in God and not in the
brook. His name was significant
because it conveyed his message. Elijah means "my God is
Yahweh," a name that shouted defiance to Ahab while declaring
allegiance to the Lord. From 1 Kings 17 to 2 Kings 9, the
central figures in the history will not be kings but two
prophets, Elijah and Elisha. God did not raise up an army or an
organization to oppose the power of an evil king or the spread
of heathen worship. Rather, He used two men who were armed with
the word of the Lord.
There will be neither dew
nor rain in the next few years, except at my word.
Elijah's message to Ahab was brief, but it went
like an arrow to the central issue. And with those brief
words, the prophet was gone. He had defined the issue and drawn
the battle lines. Elijah was convinced that the Lord, in
contrast to Baal, was the living God. Canaanite mythology talked
about Baal dying each year and coming back to life to bring the
rains. Elijah knew that such a belief was nonsense, since Baal
was a fraud, the Lord alone was the living God. Furthermore, he
was the sovereign God who claimed the nation as his own, "the
God of Israel" who would tolerate no rivals.
courage calls us to fight for the glory of God, standing alone,
if necessary, against the false gods of our generation. The
hiding of Elijah was actually a judgment upon the nation. The
nation needed Elijah. If people refuse God's blessings and His
message, He will take it away.
Drink from the
brook, ... the ravens feed you there.
demanded faith because the brook that ran through the Kidron was
a wadi, a stream that flowed only during the rainy season, and
ravens were untamed scavengers, not providers. How could they
serve as a food source? Nevertheless, Elijah followed God's
instructions. He made his way to the Kerith, where he spent a
period of time. It was a place of total dependence upon God, and
the Lord demonstrated his sufficiency by providing food and
water for Elijah. In the midst of the drought, God demonstrated
that He, not Baal, was the God of nature who could provide all
the resources that Elijah required. This was crucial training
for the later event at Mount Carmel. Elijah was learning the
absolute reliability of the Lord.
GOD'S CHILDREN ARE
OFTEN CALLED UPON TO SIT BY DRYING BROOKS.
served his God in one of the most dangerous periods in history.
The issues of syncretism and pluralism, so significant in
Elijah's day, are with us today in somewhat different form.
These are times when followers of Christ need to be at their
brook of our popularity
Drying brook of our health
brook of our needs
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST
LEARN TO TAKE ONE STEP AT A TIME.
God gave Elijah
his new assignment to go to Cherith Brook because he completed
his first one in going to Ahab. God does not grant fresh
revelation until there has been compliance with that which has
been already received. If you are confused about the will
of God today, it may be the result of not obeying the will of
God yesterday. People do not grow in the Lord because they do
not put into practice truth already taught.
Psalms 37:23—Steps are
ordered by the Lord. "Give us this day our daily bread."
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN TO TRUST GOD COMPLETELY.
God sends Elijah to Cherith. Cherith means "a cutting place."
God puts us through those cutting times to prepare us for future
service. Cherith comes before the Mt. Carmels of our life. The
cross comes before the crown. Trials come before blessings. At
Cherith Brook God will cut off the rough edges of Elijah's life.
Cherith was the place of loneliness, uncertainty, waiting, and
hardship. God uses these elements to develop our character and
knock off our rough edges.
The Lord fed Israel with manna
and led them by a cloud.
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN THE VALUE OF THE HIDDEN LIFE.
At Cherith, Elijah would develop his relationship with the Lord.
He would grow in faith, prayer, patience, and humility. He would
grow in humility because this was a humble place. It was a
brook, not a river. It was a wilderness, not a castle. The Lord
uses our Cherith Brooks to keep us level-headed instead of
big-headed and proud.
Moses on the backside of the
Paul in Arabia
John on Patmos
Baptist in the wilderness
Jesus alone in the mountain
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN TO TAKE ORDERS.
Elijah is ordered to Zarephath. There was another challenge to
Elijah's faith: some time later the brook dried up. The irony
was that God was answering Elijah's prayer that there would be
neither dew nor rain (17:1), and Elijah was experiencing the
consequences of his own prayer being answered! Nevertheless, he
did not leave the place where God had sent him until the Lord
said he could. He was submissive to the Lord's timing, and he
waited for the Lord to communicate the next step. Kerith was
Elijah's "boot camp" where he learned that God, not Baal, was
the Lord of creation, the God of rain and crops.
Moses is ordered to Egypt.
Jonah is ordered to go to Nineveh. Paul is ordered to go to
GOD'S CHILDREN MUST LEARN ELIJAH'S GOD STILL LIVES.
Psalm 37:7—Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret
not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of
the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Psalm 37:9—For evildoers
shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall
inherit the earth.
Psalm 46:10—Be still, and know that I
am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted
in the earth.
Before God exalts, He humbles. God will
exalt Elijah at Mt. Carmel. The Lord allows Cherith Brook
experiences in our life because He wants us to realize that our
usefulness to Him is not dependent upon our station in life or
upon the honors of men. It is dependent upon our willingness to
walk humbly before God at all times. This is what the Lord was
endeavoring to teach Elijah and this is what He tries to teach
would need patience for the waiting ahead. If we do not learn to
wait upon the Lord, then we have a tendency to get ahead of Him.
The result is disastrous. Saul found this out in his own life.
His impatience with Samuel ruined him (1 Samuel 13:8-13). It
ruined Abraham too. God uses Cherith Brook to get us alone with
Him and dependent upon Him.
James 5 says Elijah was
a man of like passions—a man just like us—and yet he prayed and
the heavens were shut up. In other words, he was heard by God.
James goes on to say that the effectual, fervent prayer of a
righteous man avails much. The reason Elijah was so powerful in
public was because he was prayerful in private.
brook began to dry up, Elijah found himself in an interesting
situation. As he sat there, he saw the flow slow down. He saw
the depth decrease and finally disappears altogether. But Elijah
Are you beside a drying, dying brook? Is there
a relationship that is drying up? Are your finances drying up?
Is your physical strength drying up? If you’re wondering why the
brook to which you thought the Lord led you is drying up, I want
you to see these possible reasons… When you’re beside the drying
brook, you might rejoice, knowing God is keeping you from
getting ahead of Him, renewing you in your knowledge of Him, and
reminding you that no one else can but Him. May God grant you
understanding as you sit there and wait until you hear Him say,
The lessons we
need to apply to our life this New-Year 2017 is
God that supplies every need
The God that answers prayer
The God that gives victory over all enemies.
faces the battle to live out their loyalty to the Lord Jesus.
Our greatest calling is to declare God's will faithfully and
fearlessly to our times.
God not only works through us; he
works in us to prepare us for his next great purpose.
grows as we trust God's word and see his faithfulness to his
The difficult places of life are God's training
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