Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Exodus 14: 13
“These words contain God’s command to the believer when (she) is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. (She) cannot retreat; (she) cannot go forward; (she) is shut up on the right hand and on the left hand; what is (she) to do now? The Master’s word to (her) is, ‘stand still’. It will be well for (her) if at such times (she) listens only to (her) Master’s word…Look to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land.”
1 Kings 17: 7
“The Cherith Experience – Part 5
The Brook Dried Up”
“A dried-up brook is often a sign of God’s pleasure, not disappointment, in your life. Now if you miss that, you miss it all! The dried-up brook is usually a sign of God’s acceptance of us, not His judgment.”
Pastor Charles Swindoll
Have I ever found myself by a “brook” that dried up?
What lessons have I learned in times of difficulty when I had no one to depend on but God?
“It is God’s manner of dealing with (us) to ‘lead (us) into a wilderness, before He speaks comfortably to (us)’, and so to order it, that we shall be brought into distress, and made to see our own helplessness and absolute dependence on His power and grace, before He appears to work any great deliverance.”
“The essential thing in Christian living is not where you are going or what you are doing, but in whose strength you are living.”
God’s man at Cherith, Elijah, had called the small brook his home for nearly a year. And now, as Elijah went to the brook each day to quench his thirst, he couldn’t help but observe that the stream became several disconnected holes, filled with what once was liquid that Elijah used to dry his parched lips and cool his dry mouth. But no more! The watering hole was now -- here-a-little -- and there-a-little.
How would you have assessed the situation if your name was Elijah? With my own, “let’s plan ahead” attitude, I’m certain my backpack would have been full and I’d be charting a path that would, at the least, get me to the Jordan River. As Elijah watched his water supply dwindle to nothing, thoughts of concern must have entered his head. Remember, this was a man, who as a young boy had grown up in the rugged mountains of Gilead. He knew firsthand how critical water was to the survival of man and beast. So there had to be a big question in Elijah’s mind: “What’s going to happen when the water runs dry?”
Pretend for a moment that you awoke one day by a drying-up stream. You routinely went to the one spot to get water. Possibly it was a little hole you had dug in the earth. Now you surveyed the situation only to recognize the earth was dry! Not a drop of water was to be found. You checked up and down the little gully that had once been your water fountain. All you could see was parched earth.
Well, this is exactly what happened to Elijah. One day, the brook ran dry. The brook God had led him to and that Elijah had depended upon for nearly a year.
Before we look ahead to see what happened in Elijah’s situation, I want to stop and ask you, “Has a brook you counted on ever run dry in your life? Something that was a lifeline that made it possible for you not only to help yourself, but others as well. All of a sudden, one day, with absolutely no warning at all, you found that the water had stopped running or maybe the gushing flow was diverted by an unscrupulous act from someone who wanted to do you harm.
The fact is I don’t believe any one of us hasn’t run headlong into a situation in our life where the “brook” has dried up. You may have relied on your health through the years. You are one of the fortunate individuals who has never been sick. But then, out-of-the-blue you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. You can’t work. Money gets tight. And before you know it, the brook runs dry.
Possibly, you started a business. Things have hummed along through the years. But now, times have changed. The economy took a nose-dive and before you knew what to do, the business faltered -- the brook ran dry.
And then there’s the heartache that so many of God’s girls are facing right now. This time the “brook” of love has run dry. The knight in shining armor whom you thought loved and adored you, took out their sword and drove it through your heart. You were betrayed and now the brook has run dry as you find yourself working three jobs just to keep a roof over the head of your kids and food on the table.
It is tough for anyone when their brook runs dry. For it is very painful to find that what we thought we could depend on, wasn’t dependable at all. We learn very hard lessons when what we’ve leaned on gives way. Sometimes the tumble we take makes us bitter or wounds us so deeply we find it hard ever to trust again. And this for you and me is the lesson God has for us when, at our Brook Cherith, what was a joy-filled, bubbling stream becomes a dry bed filled with grit and rocks.
If today, you feel as though you are at the end of the line and you can’t hang on any longer, never forget “Who” it was who brought you to Cherith in the first place. And even if you went to Cherith on your own, God knows right now where you are. The prophet Isaiah, in one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible, encourages God’s children with these personal words: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son (or daughter) of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; your walls are continually before Me” Isaiah 49: 15, 16, Amplified Bible). God knows how you got to Cherith and He knows where you need to go when Cherith runs dry. As Karen Goodman so thoughtfully penned, “God didn’t make a mistake when He made us weak and dependent on Him because He will absolutely never let us down!
From your Cherith Experience, you’ll find that when every other prop has been pulled out from under you, it was your heavenly Father who was the only “One” you needed to depend upon in the first place. At Cherith, we find out “what God promises is He always, always comes. He always shows up. He always saves. He always rescues. His timing is not ours. His methods are usually unconventional (think ravens!). But what we can know, what we can settle in our soul, is that He is faithful to come when we call.” (Angela Thomas).
What is it we can learn from our Cherith Experience? I like what William Petersen shares, “Why do brooks dry up? Maybe because there is more that the Lord wants to teach us. We can’t learn everything at Cherith.” Never forget, you didn’t get to Cherith on your own. And when the brook runs dry, our Father will lead us to a place He has already prepared!
“Though (we) may become increasingly mature as (children) in God’s purpose, (we) never will get past being (children) in our need of Him.”
Pastor Jack Hayford
“His camp was pitched where Cherith’s stream was flowing –
The man of God! ‘Twas God’s appointed spot!
When it might fail, he knew not; only knowing
That God cared for his lot.
Full many days on Cherith’s bank he camped him,
And from its cool refreshing, drew his share;
And foolish fears of failing streams ne’er damped him;
Was he not God’s own care?
Yet, lo, at length, the prospect strangely altered;
The drought e’en Cherith’s fountain had assailed;
Slowly but sure, the flowing waters faltered
Until, at last, they failed!
THEN came the word from One whose eye beholding
Saw that the stream, the living stream had dried,
Sending him forth, to find by new unfolding,
None of his needs denied.
Perchance thou, too, hath camped by such sweet waters.
And quenched with joy thy weary, parched soul’s thirst;
To find, as time goes on, thy streamlet alters
From what it was at first.
Hearts that have cheered, or soothed, or blest, or strengthened,
Loves that have lavished so unstintedly,
Joys, treasured joys - have passed, as time hath lengthened,
If thus, ah soul, the brook thy heart hath cherished
Doth fail thee now – no more thy thirst assuage —
If its once glad, refreshing streams have perished,
Let HIM thy heart engage.
He will not fail, nor mock, nor disappoint thee;
His consolations change not with the years;
With oil of joy He surely will anoint thee,
And wipe away thy tears.”
J. Danson Smith
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