1 Kings 17:2-7

Elijah: A Man Just Like Us


1 Kings 17:2-7

Intro: The Holy Spirit always knows the next thing we should do. He knows the next step forward. Elijah needed wisdom to know what to do now that he had confronted King Ahab. In the OT wisdom is “skill in living.” Part of that skill is knowing what to do next. Elijah had just declared terrible news of judgment to the king. He spoke with “oath-level” assurance – as if God Himself were speaking. Anyone would swell up with pride given that kind of revelation from the Lord. Even the apostle Paul mentioned this truth…


2 Cor 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.


Elijah began to take himself too seriously as the coming chapters of 1 Kings will show us. What is comforting is how patient the Lord was with His servant. “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).


Elijah’s word had so infuriated the king – and so threatened him – that God’s prophet became Public Enemy #1.


If King Ahab had been right with God, he would have welcomed Elijah’s word. Instead of seeking to destroy him, Ahab should have fallen on his knees and thanked the Lord that there was a prophet in Israel.


To prepare the prophet’s heart for the coming showdown with Jezebel and the false prophets of Baal (ch.18), God sends Elijah away.


1 Kings 17:2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

1 Kings 17:3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.

1 Kings 17:4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”


The more of the Holy Spirit’s power we have, the more preparation we need ahead of time.


When Samuel the prophet anointing David to be the next king of Israel, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward” (1 Sam 16:13).


But it would be another 20 years before David would ascend to the throne. Even though David was wise beyond his years and emerging as a military powerhouse, his anointing still needed to be refined.


C.H. Spurgeon said that if he knew he had 25 years left to live he would spend 20 of them in preparation!


God moved Elijah from the palace to His personally chosen hideaway, from the public forum to the private haven, from the sunlight of activity to the shadows of obscurity. This was Heaven’s “Witness Protection Program.”


“Cherith” = verb means “to cut off/cut down”


While at the Brook Cherith, this man who had been a mouthpiece for God as he stood before King Ahab would be “cut off” from any activities that might stimulate him to re-engage in the politics of the palace.


At the same time, Elijah would be “cut down” to size as His Lord used that uncomfortable situation to force the prophet to trust Him for his daily essentials.


God to Elijah: “Hide yourself. Get alone. Remove yourself from the spotlight. Get away from all the things that satisfy your human pride and ego. Go live by the brook. And wait.”


A.W. Tozer – “Alas, how little is man to be trusted. How little is he able to bear the place of honor! How quickly self rises to the surface, and the instrument is ready to believe he is something more than an instrument. How easy it is to make of the very service God entrusts us with a pedestal on which to display ourselves.”


God had things He wished to accomplish deep within His servant’s inner life, that would prepare Elijah for encounters that might destroy a less-obedient, less-committed, less-prepared prophet.


A.W. Tozer – It is doubtful that God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.


Are you in preparation? Could it be that you are not yet ready for the greatest work God has in mind for you?


Preparation involves discipline and discipline comes from the Lord.


Heb 12:6 “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”


This chastening is not a case of God “getting even” with you for some terrible sin in your past. No, it is the Lord getting you ready for what is coming. This kind of preparation enables us to share in the holiness of God.


Heb 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.


Elijah’s orders from heaven were to find a hidden ravine and hide there. He would drink water from the brook (natural solution) and he would eat food brought to him by ravens (supernatural solution).


The Lord was preserving the life of His prophet in noteworthy ways.


“I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”


Can we agree that this is not exactly 5-star dining in the subtle ambience of a penthouse restaurant overlooking the city?


But when there is a famine coming that will destroy everything for three years, and you are running for your life from a king who has put a bounty on your head, any food and water will suffice!


Never underestimate how God will supply your need. He has ways you have never dreamed of! You can’t imagine what He might use.


Lev 11:13, 15 “And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: …every raven after its kind


God used birds considered detestable in the law of Moses to feed Elijah. It is not that Elijah ate ravens, but that the ravens were the wait staff. They brought him the necessary food to sustain him. It was like ancient Door Dash!


1 Kings 17:5 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.

1 Kings 17:6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.


God put Elijah in a situation whereby the prophet had no choice but to wait on the Lord.


He stayed there. It’s a biblical principle of living by faith. “You do not move until God says to move.”


Ex 40:36 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys.

Ex 40:37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up.


How do we know when God says, “move”? How do we know we have heard His voice?


First, you get instructions from Scripture. Elijah knew the books of Moses, the Law (Torah). He understood waiting on the cloud.


Second, you wait for the impulse of the Holy Spirit. Note the order: the Scriptures first, the impulse second.


When you are devoted to the Scriptures, being fully determined to follow them, God will bless you with the impulse of the Spirit.


An example of the impulse of the Spirit is when Philip heard God speak to him in Acts 8…


Acts 8:26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.


Philip obeyed that revelation, and he soon noticed a man in a chariot reading from the prophet Isaiah.


Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”


Philip knew His Bible, so he easily explained the passage (Isaiah 53) the stranger was reading. First the word, then the Spirit.


The impulse of the Holy Spirit will always be in accordance with Scripture. They will never contradict.


God will never give you an impulse that is contrary to what the Holy Spirit has already written in the Bible.


The outcome? A few verses later, the man in the chariot believes the gospel that Philip preached to him. He was baptized there in the desert (where they found water)! And he returned home to Ethiopia taking the gospel message of Jesus with him to that continent!


Isn’t it easier to praise/worship God when your needs are being supplied? So far, so good for Elijah. But for how long?


1 Kings 17:7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.


Elijah now had to face the consequence of his own prophecy that he may not have anticipated. He said it would not rain; it did not.


The result? With no rain on the land, there would be no streams or trickles of water running down the hills into the brooks. It was only a matter of time before there would be no brooks at all. Indeed, the Brook Cherith dried up.




This could have been a time of soul-searching for the prophet. “Did I get it wrong by prophesying no rain? Did I make a mistake? What have I done?”


You can be the greatest prophet on earth, but you need food and water to survive.


What should we think when things suddenly go wrong?


Financial reversal. Emotional breakdown. Major health problems. Your chemical addiction has returned. Desertion by friends and supporters. You don’t feel the Spirit at church anymore. “The brook dried up.”


A dried-up brook is often a sign of God’s pleasure, not disappointment in your life. He is preparing you for the next step.


When sudden change catapults you into something new, remember this: God has a better idea for how you should spend this time of your life.


When we hit a tough spot, we tend to feel abandoned. It’s easy to become resentful and wonder, “How could God forget me?”


When, in fact, just the opposite is true. In that moment when the brook has run dry, we are more than ever the object of His concern.


Isaiah 49:14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.”

Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Isaiah 49:16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands


Do dried-up brooks cancel out God’s providential plan? No. Often, they cause it to emerge.