Elijah’s life and ministry become stages in which saints of the end times need to follow. The first place that God calls Elijah to go is Brook Cherith, it was a place for Elijah to be set apart. He was fed with bread and water, which represents the Word and the Holy Spirit. It is like the stage in our life where we receive the Word and grow in faith. Brook Cherith represents the church you are in, the raven represents people like your pastor, church members, whom you might not like.
We are to find God’s truth in the Word we are given, just as Elijah was fed bread by the ravens. The first thing we need in our path to transfiguration and eternal life is to separate ourself from the worldly sinful ways. When God calls someone, He takes them through different stages and nurtures them to allow them to grow. God tells Elijah to go to Brook Cherith during the time of famine. We too will face a time when the water of life will dry up. We must seek Jesus the giver of eternal water and store up the Word of life in us now. (Amos 8:11)
In today’s passage, God tells Elijah to arise from Brook Cherith and go to Zarephath. Brook Cherith was a hiding place whereas Zarephath is a dangerous place – it was the hometown of Jezebel, the enemy! Would you go if God told you to live right next door to your enemy who is trying to kill you?
Let us think about God’s 2 commands: “Arise” & “Go”.
1. God told Elijah and many people in the bible to “Arise”.
God is telling us to arise today. After receiving Jesus Christ and the Word, we need to go out as Jesus told us in His last command as He went up to heaven, this is known as the great commission.
2. God told Elijah to “Go”.
Meaning God has a place for us to go. Sometimes we don’t feel like rising up and going, but God wants us to move forward in the History of Redemption. God is telling us to go out and evangelise!
Zarephath was a test of Elijah’s absolute obedience and faith. We must be one of the 144,000 who followed Jesus wherever He went. (Revelation 14:4)
The first test is to eat the food that the ravens brought. The blessing of consecration and setting ourselves apart from the sinful ways. The second test at Zarephath was to stay with the widow, to prove that we are truly separated from our sinfulness, fleshly desires.
God told Elijah to live with the widow for 2 years, and both Elijah and the woman kept themselves pure. Elijah and the widow both experienced the power of resurrection through the son who died. Elijah walked with God and did not leave God’s presence even in Zarephath. The widow was so poor with only a handful of flour and oil, and she planned to eat it with her son and die. Elijah told her to give it to him first, and then she could have the leftover. She obeyed and gave it, and in return, God blessed her with endless jars of flour and oil. In relation to our life of faith, we cannot give much to God. But when we give it in obedience, we will receive endless blessings!
Jesus meets with the Samaritan woman and asks her for water but she receives the eternal water from Jesus the Messiah. With Abraham God asked for Isaac’s life. When Abraham gave it up to God, God gave Isaac back, not only this life but the eternal life. That is why Abraham is called the living. What God is asking us is for us to get up, arise and go! Take that 1 step of faith and dedication, and God will give us something great!
Many times we receive the Word but it remains as theory. We need to apply it into our lives to make it into a tool to establish the spiritual temple. God’s will is for us to bear fruit from the Word and grace that He has sufficiently given to us. Is there fruit from the Word in your life? Zarephath means smelting work. Brook Cherith is a place of water, like water baptism. Zarephath is a place of fire, like the baptism of fire and the Holy Spirit. Through that process, all the dross and unnecessary particles in us burn away. As a result, what comes out is pure faith, and the image God wants us to be in. After Zarephath, Elijah was able to go forward towards transfiguration.
This is the process of sanctification. The Word of God setting us apart, protecting us, even in the middle of the enemy’s hometown. It was godliness and sanctification that God bestowed upon us and Elijah that we can go forward to eternal life. (Ephesians 1:4)
Are you able to discern your thoughts vs God’s thoughts and follow God’s thoughts?
The most important aspect of believing God and following Jesus is: Arising and going!
This Word and grace that we have received, it is not about learning and receiving only. It is about going forth and giving. Jesus commanded us to go to the ends of the earth to make disciples of all nations in the great commission. To go to Zarephath is a challenge of going from theory to practice!
Are you ready to arise and go?
There is a trend of Christians wearing necklace and bracelets with “WWJD” on it – it means “What Would Jesus Do?” When we are faced with a decision to make, we are to ask ourselves that. Living in Zarephath means not only asking “What Would Jesus Do?” but knowing WHY would Jesus do this.
Zarephath is where we are living today. In the midst of this world, can we carry out and live out this Word? May the Word be digested and put into our actions. May the Word be the source of our motivation to live. May this Word turn into love in our lives. May we be able to find amazing grace of eternal blessings as we live that kind of life!