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Rev. Schell: Faith under lockdown — Elijah at the brook

By Rev. Jon Schell
For the Salisbury Post

From I Kings 17

Elijah was a man of action who boldly confronted Israel’s king. He raised a boy from the dead and called down fire from heaven. But in this scripture, he was locked down at the Brook Cherith. Due to the king’s anger, God told Elijah, “Go and hide.”

Now, isolated from society and deprived of luxuries, he couldn’t go out to eat or even to the store. And how long did this last? Until the brook ran dry. This must have driven a man like Elijah just a little bit crazy. Wasn’t he supposed to preach and perform miracles? How could anything good come from this major disruption in his life? Yet under lockdown, Elijah’s faith grew as he experienced:

God’s provision. Elijah’s had a natural source of water — a babbling brook, but a supernatural source of food — Raven Delivery Service. Either way, all that Elijah needed came from God. Elijah experienced God as Jehovah Jireh, My Provider,” for God knew of Elijah’s needs and was able to provide for him. He can meet yours as well.

God’s guidance. God first led Elijah to the King, then the brook, and then to a widow. Every step God showed him the way. Perhaps he remembered God’s promise: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) God will guide His children as we trust Him and seek His way.

New challenges. Although Elijah had to adjust, at the brook he had all he needed. But then the brook ran dry. What he had depended on was gone. Without God’s help, the prophet would die of thirst. With his resources dried up, Elijah now had a choice. Would he panic or would he still trust God? Would He worry about the future or remember the faithfulness of God to him in the past? Like Elijah, we will always have new challenges in life. Yet they will never be greater than God.

A greater God than he had previously known. The Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath near Sidon, the hometown of Queen Jezebel and the center of Baal worship. Here a poor widow, by way of a miracle, would feed the prophet. By doing this, God showed Elijah that He could provide in the most unlikely of places and from the most unlikely of sources. And he saw that though his problem had changed, his God did not.

Under lockdown, Elijah experienced a God who could provide for him and guide him. And though he faced new challenges, he came to know a God who is far greater than anything he had ever experienced. And through it all, his faith grew. As you trust God, what will God teach you under lockdown?

Rev. Jon Schell is pastor of St. Luke’s Church in Granite Quarry.

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