Why Does the Brook of Blessing Run Dry?
by Barbara Brinkworth
God's people are truly a "peculiar" people! However, it is not always the right kind of peculiar. When the blessings are flowing, they are on top of the world. They may be grateful enough in the beginning, but soon they begin to take things for granted. If the blessings continue on, it is not long before God's people are feeling that the blessings are their right. If one is not careful, it is very easy to fall into this syndrome.
When a believer gets to this point, God has a variety of ways for getting their attention. The Bible describes one of these ways in I Kings 17. The man involved was Elijah, God's faithful prophet. God had brought a time of drought to Israel because of the wickedness of His people. The drought was to last three and a half years. God had told Elijah to go to the Brook Cherith. There he was to drink the water from the brook and ravens were to bring food to him twice a day. Elijah obeyed God, and everything went just as God had said it would. That is, it did at first. However, verse seven says, "And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land."
What was Elijah to think? He had been obedient; he was not involved in any sin. He was trusting God. Just what was God trying to tell him? Consider the following lessons that God might possibly have wanted to teach Elijah.
God wanted to remind Elijah of the fact that He has a universal sovereign plan. It is the nature of depraved man to be very self-centered. While Elijah's needs were being met, what about the rest of the Israelites? Did he think about them; pray for them; care at all about what was happening to them? Perhaps as long as God was meeting his needs, he became unconcerned about the needs of others. He might have even forgotten that the drought was just one part of God's overall plan to draw His people back to Himself. When the brook ran dry, you can be sure that Elijah began to wonder what was going on with the other people in the area. He may have even asked himself what God was doing in their lives.
The second lesson might have been that God wanted to allow Elijah to learn more about the spiritual source of his blessings. It could be that Elijah had come to depend on the brook and the ravens, rather than on God. Humans in general are much better at walking by sight than they are at walking by faith. Maybe God wanted Elijah to see past the physical blessings to the spiritual source. Sometimes the only way for that to happen is to remove the physical things from the life of the believer. When the blessings are stopped, the believer usually calls quickly on the One who bestowed the blessings in the first place.
Although this story of Elijah takes place in the Old Testament, the next lesson is especially applicable to New Testament believers. When the brook ran dry, Elijah had an opportunity to see God's simultaneous provision. How did this happen? The Scripture tells of a widow woman and her son who were on the verge of starvation. God, who definitely has a sense of humor, told Elijah that this woman would be responsible for his sustenance! The woman lived in Zarephath, and Elijah arrived as she was preparing for her last meal. Elijah gave her the exciting news that if she would feed him, that God had promised to take care of her and her son. What a picture this is of the body of believers that is called the local church. As each one meets another's needs, all have their needs met. Only God could conceive of such a perfect plan.
The Scriptures indicate that Elijah saw the sustaining power of God as long as the rain was withheld from the land. There is no mention of his leaving Zarephath until God called to him in the third year of the drought. During the time that he was with the widow woman, he not only saw God's ability to provide food; he also experienced the resurrection power that God alone is able to provide. While Elijah was living in Zarephath, the woman's son died, and God allowed Elijah to bring life back into the young man's body. This miracle could not have been accomplished by Elijah, if he were still at the Brook Cherith. God's timing is always perfect.
I Corinthians 10:11 says, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition …" The lessons of I Kings 17 could be of great benefit to the believer today as examples. When the brook of blessings runs dry in your life, remember that it might have happened so that you could:
- Be reminded of God's sovereign plan
- Be allowed to learn more about the spiritual source of blessings
- Be enabled to see God's simultaneous provision
- Be able to prove God's sustaining power to others.