“And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, Yehovah, God of Israel is alive, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
The time had come for the Lord to raise up His prophet to come before the man who epitomized the wickedness of man but stood as the King over Israel. The apostasy of the nation had risen to the point where the sin of Jeroboam was no longer the standard for the manifestation of the corruption of man as Ahab, who is ‘brother to the father’, “reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he built in Samaria”. The sin of Jeroboam was accounted as a “light thing” as he took Jezebel, a Zidonian, to wife “and went and served Baal and worshipped him” in the newly established capital of Israel which his father, Omri, built. He made a grove of ‘wooden pillars’ where Ashterah, the goddess of fortunes and the Queen of heaven, could be worshipped and “did more to provoke the God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (I Kings 16:33”
Elijah, whose name means ‘Yah is my God’, arrives on the scene well prepared of the Lord to go and stand before this wicked King and to pronounce the Word of the judgment of God against him. Elijah had no schooling or prep time to make him ready but when the Spirit of Yah moved, this man was made willing by the power of God to face down a man who could have him killed in an instant. But neither this man, nor his outlandish wife, could lay a finger on the servant of the Most High, for the ‘Self Existent One’ is the great King over all the earth. He rules from a throne which no man can approach with the sovereign authority that none can oppose and the power which no one can resist and so this son of ‘captivity’ (Tishbite) of the inhabitants of the ‘witness’ (Galad) came and stood before this man to spoke the Word of God.
Is there praise to be given or admiration to this man for the wondrous works he performed and the courage he displayed? Not at all! This son of Adam was indeed a child of the Kingdom of Light stands as a representation of the true Light of the World but there is no praise to Adam for he is but a tool in the hand of the Master.
As the manifestation of the Light, however, this One who came to endure the wrath and fury of this wicked one, has the power over the clouds and winds of heaven as He regulates the temperature of the night to prevent the dew from settling upon the leaves and the rain from falling upon this portion of the world for many years; no son of Adam has that power inherent in his nature. But as the Anointed One of Yah, who made Himself of no reputation taking on the form of a servant, He is the Faithful Witness, being the Messenger of Yah having the eternal Word of the Power of God unto Salvation and He has come forth to preach this gospel unto all the inhabitants of the earth. He shews forth the salvation of His people and righteous judgment of God, which is daily poured out upon the ungodliness of man; this is the two-edged sword proceeding from His mouth (Rev. 19:21).
He has not spoken to the ‘brother of the father’ of an impending lack of water upon this terra firma but of the famine in the land, being the children of the dust, of the hearing of the Word of Yah (Amos 8:11). The natural man following that which is right in his own eyes will walk the path of darkness in the limitations and superstitions of the strong delusion which Yehovah God has sent unto him as he will strives for that which cannot satisfy. The children of the Kingdom of Praise unto our God may indeed walk after this manner for an appointed time, but when it pleases the Father, who loves them with an eternal love, to open their eyes and ears, they will hear the Word and come forth unto newness of life.
“Get you hence and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith that is before Jordan and it shall be you shall drink of the brook and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (17:3)
Many of the characters of the scriptures reveal the life and struggles that the children of hope endure from generation to generation. They stand as patterns of the wondrous manner in which the Lord deals with His people as they walk their assigned paths and perform their individual labours while at the same time revealing the impotence and corruption of the vessels they inhabit. This is the vanity which He has caused them to be subject unto that no flesh should glory in His presence and Elijah is no exception.
This man was the instrument by which the Lord would show forth His great power and majesty over His the elements of His creation as He made an open show of the wickedness of man. He began by standing before Ahab but was then removed from the scene as the heart of the King was hardened by the hand of God.
The scripture does not indicate the beginning of days for this prophet of Yah nor does it reveal his heritage yet the sovereign God had prepared a place for his retreat even before the conduct of Ahab was revealed. The place where he was to abide was a rocky region that was a testimony to the children of Israel for here the pledge was revealed between Jacob and Laban (Gen. 31). It was also the inheritance of the eldest son of Joseph (Num. 32:40) and a place for cattle (32:1) and Elijah was an inhabitant of this area. After the Lord sent him to Ahab, He caused him to return to the place of his inheritance and abide in a place afore prepared for him. There is no time given as to how long Elijah was in isolation but it lasted until the brook dried up.
The waters of the brook of separation (Cherith) sustain the children of mercy in their state of ignorance of the life within for it is of their inheritance. Every son of God has been ordained to be partakers of the dust of the ground with all the natural penchants and loathsome qualities and though these are abominable before God for righteousness sake, yet they are necessary for the preparation of the natural man to the work which God has given them. As the children walk according to the course of this world the waters that were once sweet and pleasant become bitter and unprofitable until such time as the Spirit reveals the living waters within which flow from the throne of God.
The Lord has also ordained that the abominable things of this life should sustain the natural man for He commanded the ravens to feed His servant. Elijah, like Peter many years later, should have protested before God for His Law commanded that the raven was not only an unclean bird but to be held as an abomination. Thus anything that an unclean bird should touch should be deemed as unclean and certainly unsuitable for the servant of God. When Peter raised this objection, asserting his own holiness through natural obedience, God rebuked him stating the impudence of Peter to call common what God had called clean (Acts 10:14).
Not only so, but the raven is a scavenger bird which lives because of the death of other animals. The Law again is clear that anything which is torn of beasts is not to be eaten of man (Lev. 7:24) and so where were these ravens getting the meat which they brought to this obedient servant which has been separated unto the Lord for the good works he had been assigned. And the bread of this warfare; where did it come from that it should be carried by the fowls of the air to the place of the servant and delivered unto him in the time of drought when crops were not growing and people were certainly not wasting food?
The Lord God Almighty had brought His child to a torrent place (brook) of separation and isolation (Cherith) where he would endure the warfare (bread) of his inheritance until his necessary schooling and preparation was complete. Not until this time was Elijah ready to go forth as the voice of Yehovah unto Israel and these events came not to pass by the invention or intuition of man. Thus Elijah was caused by the Spirit of God to resort to this area where Yehovah God had placed the charge of his well-being as the duty of the birds. God commanded the ravens to feed and sustain this man, making them able and willing during this time, to not only fulfill His will but to be maintained by the power of that will for, after all, the birds had to eat and drink also.
“Arise get to Zar-e-phath of Zidon and dwell there; behold I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you” (17:9)
Though the first stage of training and development through affliction and privation was completed in isolation, the predestined course for this man was to now go to a foreign country and be abased further. God had prepared a place for him in the ‘refinery’ that belonged to the hunters and fisherman of the world (Zar-e-phath of Zidon). Here men sustained themselves by being the masters of the fields and waters for this was that place where the galley with oars passed and gallant ships passed by, but now there was a drought in the land by the mouth of Elijah.
Have you ever wondered that since Elijah told Ahab that there would be neither dew nor rain these years, “according to my word” why then did Elijah simply pray and release the waters when the drought got so bad? The answer is the simplicity of the gospel for it is not of man that wills or by the strength or good intentions of the creature; salvation is of Yehovah God. He caused the perverseness of Solomon’s heart whereby he was drawn away after many women and their foreign gods; He separated the northern kingdom from Judah by the sin of Jeroboam and intensified that separation by the wickedness of the kings of Israel, culminating in the atrocities of Ahab. This He did, willing to shew wrath and to make His power known, as He endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; and that he make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory (Rms. 9:22f).
And so as the earth languished in the drought with people starving to death from lack of crops, God appointed and prepared a man and a woman to dwell in the refinery where they would bear a son and then the husband should die. These events, along with the catastrophe brought on by the words of Elijah, would leave the woman and her son as destitute as all the rest of the hunters and fisherman; then God sent her out to collect firewood with the intention of preparing their last meal before dying.
God did not give this woman any hope. He did not send an advance notice through some deviation of daily prediction that today was going to be a good day; He commanded this woman to go forth out of her house and, following the appointed path where the dead wood was, to collect such wood as was laying on the ground, not yet collected by any others, for the purpose of dying. She was indeed a frustrated, angry and desperate woman, without hope in this world.
But God, who is rich in mercy, had prepared Elijah to come to this place and to find this woman that the will of God should be performed on earth as it is in heaven. The preparation was so complete that when the paths of these two seemingly unrelated people should collide and Elijah, who did not introduce himself to the woman, told her to find him food and drink, she was made willing and able by the hand of God. Contrary to all natural indications and completely foreign to the obvious conclusions, the barrel of meal did not waste neither did the cruise of oil fail as Yehovah sustained these three while the world was dying all about them.
“And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with you, O man of God? Are you come unto me to call my sin to remembrance and slay my son? (17:18)
In the presence of the daily manifestation of the power of God through natural evidences, the woman was not given to see the truth. Every day she ate the bread and drank the water which gave her and her son life for many days, but like the thousands of people on the hillside, the belly was full but the heart was empty. Though the power of Yehovah God is openly manifested for all the world to see, yet man has forgotten the works which He has done, having his mind filled with the cares of this world, and God has given him his request but sent leanness into his soul (Ps. 106:15). This was seen in the children of Israel in the wilderness where they lusted after the things of this world, having seen the mighty hand of God and again, forty years later, as Joshua utterly destroyed the people of the land, yet the children of Israel, each man did that which was right in his own eyes and the land was filled with wickedness. The testimony of grace continues that no amount of proof may be given to the natural man to convince him of the truth and cause him to turn from his pernicious ways of death unto life while the testimony of the doctrine of man is diametrically opposed to this truth.
The reaction of the woman to this horrific event is amazing. While the events of nature seemed to dictate the end of her life and that of her son, she was resolved to collect the wood, bake the bread, eat and die. But now that the power of God had been manifested in her life and she lived, upon finding her son having no breath in him, she does not turn to God for help but rails upon the servant of Yah for dredging up the perversity, depravity and guilt of her life. Her reaction is the same as the worthless comforters of Job who insisted that God would not bring such a thing against a person if the recipient were not guilty of sin against Him (Job 4:7). It is also the same as the question of the disciples when they asked the Lord, Who has sinned that this man should be born blind? (John 9:2)
It is the inherent conclusion of the natural mind to surmise that God has reacted to the actions of the subjects of His creation by imposing some retribution against them for being disobedient to His will; this is not the Self-existing, Self-sufficient Ancient of days who has declared the end from the beginning, calling those things that are not as though they have already been. He has established fast and sure every thought word and deed of each portion of His creation so that everything works harmoniously together for good to them that love Him. He has also made man subject to His righteous justice whereby Adam and all his children stand condemned before Him and shall give an account for those things done in the flesh. Those for whom the blood has been shed have a propitiation for their sin and though it does not deliver Adam from the dust from whence he came yet it has covered the children within the earthen tabernacle, identifying the house as chosen and the seed within as Holy.
The God who commanded this woman to be in the condition that she was when she met the Prophet is the same that caused her guilt and depravity to be a part of her being, yet like Adam in the garden, she is not brought to repentance and the unction for forgiveness as her son lay dead before her. Instead she accuses God through His servant of being the cause of the death and the revealer of her sin. Even Elijah is not sure of the meaning of these things as he petitions God for an answer as to why He had brought this evil upon the widow woman; but God who is rich in mercy, once again displays His power and glory by raising the child from the dead.
“And the woman said, Now by this I know that you are a man of God, that the word of Yehovah in your mouth is truth” (17:24)
Her testimony praises the man and his word not Yehovah of Hosts. She has seen with her eyes and held with her hands the evidence of the power of God unto life but her heart had not been opened to believe the truth. This is the work of God which though man seeks to be like God and do His work, yet no man can save: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).
The woman gave lip service to God and His glory but like the seed which fell among the stones who has no root in the Vine, she does not possess eternal life. God indeed caused her to be a vital element in the development of Elijah for his confrontation with Ahab, the four hundred prophets of Baal and the prophets of Jezebel, whom he slew after the fire came down from heaven. But no amount of training could have changed the natural man from anything but that which is of the earth for when he saw the power of Yehovah God upon the wickedness of man, even he ran and hid himself when he heard that Jezebel was after him to kill him.
Within every child of grace there abides the eternal incorruptible seed which delights after the Law of God and rests in His finished work but this is housed in a frail earthen vessel that can neither see the truth nor receive the things of the Spirit. The children of the Kingdom of Light are not called upon to vanquish the darkness of the world or take arms against the wickedness of man in a campaign to convert the world unto Christ. As the army of Yehovah, they walk in the light of the Lord looking unto the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah, the author and finisher of their faith, as they endure with much long-suffering the trials and tribulations assigned as needful to them by their heavenly Father.
“Take my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of Yehovah, for an example of suffering affliction and of patience” (Jams. 5:10)
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
August 5, 2018