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The Two Worlds Of A Prophetic Christian

And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."

Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."

So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.

The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you." (1 Kings 17:1-9)


God's first concern for Elijah was to protect and to preserve him. Elijah needed to withdraw himself from the public life. He had just dramatically intruded into the lives of an evil king and a wicked queen, and the whole nation of Israel. As the result of the fervent prayer of this righteous man, there was no rain in Israel for three and a half years!

Humanly speaking, to take such a retreat after causing so much distress and misery to everyone and everything in Israel might seem cowardly and evasive. But God knew that was exactly what Elijah needed. He had a greater task for him ahead which was going to prove even harder to face!

At Cherith, Elijah was shielded with complete security from his enemies who were hunting him down throughout the land. While famine raged all around, he was being fed by unclean ravens - a very humiliating and humbling experience! While drought prevailed everywhere else, he was being refreshed by the waters of the brook.

To be hidden and sustained in such a manner, even for a short while, was exactly what Elijah needed from God. By thrusting Elijah into a public ministry, God had made him to be a target for intense hatred from Ahab and Jezebel, and the starving people of Israel. Everybody were blaming him for their sorry plight and disaster.

Elijah's experience at Cherith lasted long enough to teach him that whatever his future circumstances would be, he could be assured of God's continual protection and preservation! When he had no one to support him, he was sustained by the Lord Himself!


To leave Elijah at Cherith for too long will be bad for him. He was by nature not a social man. The solitude and quietness of Cherith would suit his character and preferences perfectly.

In the cities and villages of Israel, men, women and children were crying for help - no food and no water! They were toiling away, scraping the hardened ground for whatever little sustenance they could find.

Elijah must not divorce himself from all these. The man whom God chose to preach His Word to His people must be living in close contact with the sufferings, feelings and problems of those to whom he was sent to minister. Why should the prophet of God be exempted from the temptations and hardships of the people whom he was to serve?

Jesus came down to earth; He was involved with human life, and He showed us the way back to God. He did not sent the angels! He came Himself! He knew our pains and shame because He went through all that!

The Lord also came down from the Mount of Transfiguration. He could have stayed there longer just as what His three disciples, Peter, James and John had suggested. But He knew what God the Father had called Him to do - to save the lost and to die for their sins!! So He came down to the valleys.


After a while, the brook dried up. We have to seek the things which are above. But whenever we concentrate too much attention or spend too much time cultivating the devotional life at the expense of our active Christian witness in the community, then the heavenly brooks at which we seek to refresh ourselves have a natural way of drying up. In spite of all our praying, Bible-reading and church-going, we will become more starved and thirsty than ever.

Our devotional life becomes unreal and non-satisfying when its cultivation is made an end in itself - self-indulgence in spiritual luxuries and activities. It can only become meaningful when it is kept as an integral part of a community living and involvement with other people - touching them with the love of God.

We must not imagine that our devotional life is a place where we take in from God and our ministerial life is a place where we give out to others. Christian life is not a matter of storing up and accumulate resources through worship and prayer at one time, and then dispensing them through active service. It is a matter of obeying God, moment by moment, living His life out! Just as Elijah was to minister to the widow at Zarephath, she was also ministering to his needs. Elijah needed her just as she needed him! Our ministerial life is not just giving out but also receiving from others! Giving and receiving - both at the same time!

How hard it was for Elijah to believe that God had sent a desperate, poor widow to minister to his needs in the critical weeks and months ahead. How hard it is also for us to grasp today that our Lord Jesus Christ is seeking to help us by surrounding us with poor, despised, broken, desperate and rejected people of the society. We are always needing His help; and the way He chooses to help us is often through vessels who seem the least likely to give us any help.

God is wanting to minister His amazing grace to us through the most unlikely channels. Instead of shunning those who are needy and desperate, we might find that they are in fact God-sent ministers to us, and they bring to us God's answers to our prayers. The weak become strong and the poor become rich! Blessed and be blessed. Love and be loved. Give and be given. Literally!

Re-edited On
10 December 2005