Instead I want to talk about a few things God has been teaching me.
Am I dealing with a dry brook?
Sounds funny when you say it out of context.
The last three In Touch devotionals have been about Elijah in 1 Kings 17. I have spent some extra time studying this passage because what Dr. Stanley has been teaching really seems to jump out at me in my present state of affairs.
Elijah the prophet appears in this chapter out of the blue. He boldly comes before evil King Ahab and makes his God-given declaration: that Israel will be without rain until he says otherwise. Then he makes a mad dash for a place God has selected to keep him from harm.
"Never was Israel so blessed with a good prophet as when it was so plagued with a bad king. Never was king so bold to sin as Ahab; never was prophet so bold to reprove and threaten as Elijah."
-- from Matthew Henry's Commentary
Elijah lives for a time (we don't know how long) hidden away from people, living off of fresh water from the brook and food miraculously provided by ravens.
Eventually, however, the brook dries up.
God could easily have kept the brook flowing but He didn't because He wanted to move Elijah to the next step. He sent him to a Gentile widow, who coincidentally had no food to offer, and provided for her and her family as well as the prophet.
It's a beautiful account, one that doesn't end there. Elijah's intensity to follow God, and trust Him when he doesn't know what to do next, is a great lesson for us all.
Isn't it just like God to miraculously send ravens to provide meat but supply a natural stream for water? God let the brook dry up on purpose, but to any ordinary man, this would seem like the last hope.
We have the innate ability to come up with every reason in the book why something shouldn't happen and what might go wrong, and the utter difficulty coming to the conclusion that someone more powerful than us has it all in control.
If you've read my last few posts here on Ginger Peachy you will understand that my normal business schedule has been going through some upheaval. In an effort to remain diligent, I have been resistant to any change in my schedule. But the difficulty of trying to continue with business as normal was too much and I finally had to admit that I couldn't do it and retain a sound mind.
I read about Elijah's brooks drying up but didn't really consider it until I came across it again the next day. Dr. Stanley says,
"When the Lord withholds miraculous intervention and lets your brooks dry up, He has something else planned for you."
I realized that God was telling me that perhaps it was time for this brook to dry up so that I would be forced to turn my attention in another direction.
Like any well-meaning Christian, I want to say that I sit patiently and say, "Yes, Lord, whatever you say." But unfortunately, I wiggle and squirm like an impatient schoolboy. What am I going to do? I can't sit around and do nothing? What if my business suffers?
I don't know about Elijah, but it takes me a little while before I stop squirming so much and am able to sit silently. I wonder, will God lead me to the next step? What does the next step look like? I'm always eager to peak and get a glimpse at what God might be doing. Fortunately for us, we can't.
The next devotional talked about trusting, relying on the Source, not the instrument of the provision.
"Every financial need is an opportunity to learn to walk by faith, recognizing the Lord as our source."
-- Dr. Charles Stanley
Have I been focusing too hard on what my business can provide? Have I forgotten who gives provision in the first place? It's easy to do, I am sure you will agree.
"And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
-- Philippians 4:19, ASV
The next step from accepting that God may be drying up a brook is to rely on Him as the provider of all things. A passage that seems to be in direct opposite to a dried up brook is Isaiah 41:18:
"I will open rivers on bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."
Just as He created in the beginning from nothing, we have to believe that He is able.
And the last devotional, which happens to be the first, taught me to believe, apply, and share. Let me explain.
Elijah comes before King Ahab with the authority of God. It doesn't matter much that Ahab most likely scoffed at Elijah and passed his message off as a traitorous claim. Elijah believed that God would do what He said He would.
Our message as Christian's should be presented with just as much faith and boldness. It shouldn't matter that unbelievers scoff, but more often than not, it matters too much. I know. What people think changes a great deal of what we do.
But we have the same authority behind us as Elijah did. Can you grasp that? A great prophet from ancient times, and you have the same connections and access to power as he did.
"The Father reveals His truths to us so we can share them with others."
-- Dr. Charles Stanley
Believe His authority, apply what He has taught, and then share it with others.
After thinking on all of this during devotional this morning, the part about "sharing with others what you have learned" smacked me across the face.
I am no great teacher. I feel like Jeremiah and Timothy did, I am too young and inexperienced. But God has given me a message, and be it a lesson mainly directed at me, I have a responsibility to share it.
So guys, this is what He is teaching me.
- He will let my brook dry up if He thinks it is time to move on.
- I am to rely on the Source of my provisions, not the instrument.
- Share what I receive from God with others.
Sometimes I like to think that I am getting somewhere when I learn a lesson from God. Maybe this time God will lead me to that place where I will finally be happy. Maybe the next step He is leading me will be the place I have been waiting for all this time.
Maybe. But most likely, He is simply teaching me basic spiritual arithmetics: to obey God and leave all the consequences to Him.*
What about you? What has God been teaching you?
Does this post speak to you? Do you have any questions? I would love to hear from you! Leave me your thoughts in the comments below before leaving. And check out my Godly Life page for more like this post.