The Dry Brook
I want to deal with financial uncertainty and challenges and to bring hope, encouragement, and Biblical understanding of God wanting to provide for us in every season of our lives, especially in season that are difficult or hard.
1. When God guides, He provides.
Principle 1 – God’s provision follows God’s prescription.
“And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherish, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank of the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”1 Kings 17:4-9
When God prescribes something, and we follow that prescription, there is a provision that is attached to it.
Elijah was a prophet of God. He went to the king and declared there would be no rain on the earth because of their sin. There was significance in this sign because the god Israel had chosen to worship instead of the Lord God, was Baal. Baal was the god of rain. So, Elijah’s message was that God was going to embarrass and humiliate Baal. The only problem was that there would be famine. God protected His servant Elijah and told him to go to a brook. God commanded ravens to feed Elijah.
I want you to notice something. God was not just feeding anybody; He fed someone He was leading. I want to encourage you in your difficult, challenging season, to focus more on God’s guidance than His provision. When you follow God’s guidance, you will always be in God’s provision. God provides for those He guides and leads.
Believers As Sheep
The Bible compares believers to sheep. I used to think this was a compliment until I studied and found that sheep are actually quite dumb.
Sheep can’t bear burdens, navigate, or find their way. They get lost easily. Sheep will settle for muddy, unclean water unless a shepherd guides them away from it. The biggest issue I have discovered is that sheep cannot survive without a shepherd.
The only thing sheep have to do is follow the shepherd. When they do this, they find themselves in green pastures with still, clean waters under the protection of the shepherd. When it comes to our finances, we must understand we don’t need to be a shepherd if we have one. You don’t have to act like a shepherd when you have a shepherd. Everything about Christian faith is based on the truth that we have a provider; we don’t have to be one.
We should not be anxious, stressed out, afraid, or worried. This was why Jesus repeatedly told His followers not to worry but instead to seek first the Kingdom of God. In other words, make sure that you follow your shepherd. Where the shepherd guides, He provides.
For most of us, it is not our financial problems that hurt us; it is our financial worries that hurt us. Fears about finances bring anxiety and the thought of how am I going to provide. All these unnecessary worries would be necessary if you were a sheep without a shepherd. But as Christians, you do have a Shepherd and your Shepherd does not sleep or slumber. Let Him worry for you. The opposite of that is a wolf. A wolf has to provide for, kill, and care for itself.
We have been adopted into God’s family. As Christians, God makes us His children and calls Himself our Father in Heaven. One of His roles as a Father is to think about our provision. You might not have a spouse but you have a Shepherd. You are not alone and your Shepherd is the Good Shepherd (John 10:10).
God would not guide you to a place He cannot provide for you. If you have children and think you cannot make it, God would not bring you to that place if He had no way of providing for them. God gave you your children. It is His will that they are on the earth at this time, and He will give you the means to provide for them. God will take care of your family this season because you have a provider who finds pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.I don’t know what the future holds but I know the One who holds it; His name is God. Click To Tweet
2. When God guides, He hides.
Principle 2 – God’s provision involves God’s protection.
“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.”1 Kings 17:3
Elijah was not only provided for by God, he was also protected by God. God’s protection is part of God’s provision. God’s provision is not limited to what God brings to you; it includes what God keeps from you, sometimes without you realizing it.
Elijah’s provision from God did not involve cars or houses but it involved him not being killed. Jezebel had a hit ordered on Elijah. She had the resources to take his head off. The Bible says not only did God lead Elijah where He provided for him, but He also led Elijah where He protected him.
Learn to appreciate God’s protection in seasons where we complain about God not giving us abundance. In reality, the fact that you did not end up in an emergency every single weekend is God’s grace. The fact that there haven’t been accidents is part of God’s protection. Maybe you haven’t had a promotion but God has protected you from injuries. Maybe you didn’t have a lot of blessings but God kept the weapons that were fashioned against you from prospering. There have been plots from the enemy to destroy you that God prevented. God protected you.
God’s Protection And Blessing
God’s blessing is not always in stuff we get, it is also in stuff we don’t get. Be appreciative of the things that God protects you from as much as you are thankful for the things God provides for you.
Maybe you went through the fire and it didn’t burn you or you went through the water and you were not swept away. You might have gone through a very difficult season but others did not make it. It is not that you got through this, it has been the protection of God.
God is not only good when He blesses you but when He protects you, He is also so good. Elijah, go and hide! Where God provides, God hides. God’s angels are the best security and they encamp around those who fear Him (Psalm 34:7).
Be thankful for God’s protection. Don’t just count the blessings you see, count the burdens He kept away from you. And the problems He keeps you away from. The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.
Be grateful not only for what God brings to you but what God keeps away from you, (1 Chronicles 4:9-10).
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe.”Proverbs 18:10
“But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”2 Thessalonians 3:3
“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me under the shadow of Your wings.”Psalm 17:8
Many of us don’t appreciate how much God’s protection over us has been until injuries, accidents, and medical bills come.
3. When God provides, it may not always be in surplus, but it’s always in sufficiency.
Principle 3 – Even if God doesn’t give you what you want, He will always provide what you need.
We must not limit God’s provision to meeting our greeds. God’s provision sometimes, for a season, is merely meeting our needs.
Elijah walked so closely with God but God did not always shower him with abundance. He gave him just enough for each day.
God did not bring Elijah to a river, He brought him to a brook. Brooks are unreliable. They run out of water fast, especially, in times of famine. Ravens are also unreliable; they don’t bring food to people. Everything Elijah had was unreliable, unpredictable, and impermanent yet in the middle of that, God was providing.
There are seasons where God’s provision is living from hand to mouth. Those seasons should not be complained about; they should be received with gratitude toward God without feeling like you are unsatisfied or settling. You might say it is not prosperity but it is enough – necessity, not abundance.
The Season Of Just Enough
Sometimes, when you focus on your dreams too much, you forget that it is God who supplies all your needs. Then, you become ungrateful, even for the fact that you have food, clothes, and a place to live. Just because you do not have extra in this season, it does not mean this is how you will live the rest of your life. Neither does it mean that God forgot you or that He isn’t blessing you. God’s blessing does not bring surplus in every season of our lives. There are seasons where God’s blessings just bring sufficiency.
The nation of Israel lived for 40 years on sufficiency. Almighty God could have given them so much, they could have stored it for years yet He chose to take them through 40 years of giving them just enough for each day.
There may be some of you who are thinking you only have enough for right now and you don’t have enough for the future. The Bible shows us that sometimes, we just have to take life one day at a time, one month at a time and one year at a time and not see God’s blessing as anything less when He gives us sufficiency or when He gives us abundance, overflow, and surplus.
Trust God every day and stop seeing God’s provision as struggle is real. That is how we term or define it when we barely make ends meet – struggle is real. Change the attitude; God has been good. He has met my needs according to His riches in glory. At this season, we might not be seeing overflow but we are still seeing God’s hand in meeting our needs.
Don’t Covet What Somebody Else Has
Don’t compare your provision to somebody else’s prosperity. This is why many of us complain about the ‘little’ that God gives us because you neighbor has moved away from that season and it seems like God is giving them surplus.
You may both serve the same God but you have to understand that there are two different seasons. You neighbor is in a different season and you should not compare your provision to the result of their process. Be grateful for the season that you are in and that your God is supplying your needs in your season.Don’t complain about what you don’t have; thank God for what you do have. Click To Tweet
The Trap Of Complacency
Being grateful does not mean you are complacent. I personally battled with this because I thought if I was grateful, it meant I was complacent and I didn’t want more. I didn’t want my wife or family or friends to see that I was complacent and didn’t want to grow or move forward.
Being grateful does not mean you are complacent; being grateful means that you acknowledge that there is God’s blessing even in little things. Being grateful means you are developing an attitude of gratitude. God will take you from this season to a different season and when you will have more, you will have greater gratitude rather than greater greed.
If we go through the little and finally reach our dreams without an attitude of gratitude, our goalposts for what we want will continually move higher and we will never be grateful for what we have.
I want to challenge you today, to develop an attitude of gratefulness if you have just enough. If you can’t save a dollar but your needs are met, be grateful. When you start consistently giving thanks to God for the little, you will be surprised how fast He takes you out of the season of just enough.
“Prosperity depends more on wanting what you have than having what you want.”Geoffrey F. Albert
We often have so many good things in our lives but we don’t want them. We keep chasing something else. The Bible encourages us to be diligent and industrious but covetousness, envy, and ingratitude foster eternal unhappiness and attract more poverty than prosperity. Love and appreciate what God has given you.
4. When God provides, it’s both natural and supernatural.
Principle 4 – God doesn’t replace the natural with the supernatural. He adds the supernatural to our natural.
The brook was natural, ravens were supernatural. Ravens are scavengers and don’t even feed their own children. However, I want you to notice where God brought the ravens to Elijah – it was at the brook. God’s supernatural will always meet you at the point of your natural. God adds ravens to the brook. You don’t need ravens till you find your brook.
What tends to happen is we want God to provide the super without providing the natural. We don’t want to provide a good work ethic, business idea, or a diligent lifestyle but we want God to bring the miracle money. God wants to partner with you; He doesn’t want to replace you. You are made in the image a likeness of God. He wants you to create, innovate, plan, and take steps. And He promises that as you take steps, He will direct your steps.
God is not going to move a parked car. God’s supernatural doesn’t replace our natural; it adds to it. God is waiting for us. I want to encourage you not only to work hard but to believe hard. Hard work will get you a blessing but miracles don’t just come because you work hard. People who experience miracles in their finances don’t just work hard, they believe hard. That means they do their best and then believe for God’s supernatural in their finances. I want you to believe for God’s supernatural miracle in your finances. God’s maths includes miracles. Invite God into your situation, your debt, or your bills because He naturally does the supernatural.
You cannot fit a miraculous, universe-creating God into a box where He will not do the supernatural.
Many Christians live like atheists – they only work hard but they don’t believe hard. Invite God into your finances. God’s specialty is the impossible. There is nothing He cannot do.
I lived my life without seeing God’s miracles in my finances. I saw His blessing but never His miracles. About 10 years ago, everything changed. I have been able to be more generous and give more extravagantly. It has nothing to do with how good I am but how good He is. Don’t lean on your own understanding, lean on your God. Don’t be lazy but trust in His supernatural provision.
5. When God provides, blessings can come from the most unlikely places.
Principle 5 – God’s provision might not fit your preference.
Ravens are not clean animals. I wonder why God did not use doves – the symbol of peace and the Holy Spirit. I believe there is a principle there. The company you work for does not have to have a cross in the lobby for God to use them to provide for you. Your boss doesn’t have to speak in tongues for God to bless you through them.
Many Christians refuse to work for some companies on the plea that they will be defiled but Joseph did not get defiled working for the pharaoh. Daniel did not get defiled working for Nebuchadnezzar. Queen Esther was not defiled being married to a heathen king. The Bible calls you light and salt. Light is not afraid of darkness. Salt is not afraid of corruption. I am not saying we should work in toxic or abusive environments. Work hard and be dilligent in that place – add value to it even through it is full of ravens.
God used a prostitute to guide the spies in the promised land. God used a donkey to speak to a prophet. Moses grew up in a heathen palace. God can use a wicked, non-Christian place to bless you and use you to be a light there.
6. When God’s provision comes to an end, it’s time to pivot.
Principle 6 – God doesn’t stop being a Provider even when provisions stop.
Though God’s provisions were natural and supernatural, the natural ran its course and I believe the ravens stopped coming. Good times don’t last. You can be in the center of God’s will and yet your brook can dry up. God does not promise that the brook won’t dry up; He promises that He will continue providing for you in spite of the means of your provision running dry.
A dry brook is not a punishment, nor is it caused by some sin you committed. The Bible states that the brook dried up because there had been no rain. It does not say that Elijah did not fast or pray enough. God did not give Elijah an explanation of why the brook dried up; He gave Elijah redirection to where he would find His next provision.
When your brook dries up, don’t go into excavation looking for a reason. Look for God’s direction and pivot to the next season God has for you. When your brook dries up, it is time to pray and pivot. Don’t pray for the brook to be resurrected; pray and pivot.
88% of Fortune 500 companies that existed in 1955 are gone. If we stay at the brooks that dry up, we will die with those brooks. We have to pivot. Sometimes, God doesn’t promise resurrection in places, He promises redirection.
The Word of the Lord came to Elijah, telling him to rise and go to another place. When a season ends, we have to listen to God’s direction and pivot into the new season. This applies to businesses, careers, and even to churches.
7. When God provides for you it’s good, but when He provides through you, it’s better.
Principle 7 – God wants to take you where God provides through you, not just for you!
The brook dried up, and the Lord sent Elijah to a widow in Zarepath, which was an area in Sidon. This was important because that was where Jezebel was from. God told Elijah that He had told a widow to take care of him but the widow seemed not to know about it. When Elijah arrived, she was gathering sticks to make a fire to cook the last bread she had for herself and her son, and then they would die. Then, I believe it dawned on Elijah that God didn’t just send me to her to provide for me but so that God could provide for all of us through me.
At the brook, only Elijah got fed. In the widow’s house, a family was fed. What if God brings us to a season where it is not just you that will be taken care of but you will have enough to care for your elderly parents, your children, a widow or widower?
Remember, God’s ultimate goal is to take you to a place where other people’s needs will be met through you. Think bigger. Think on God’s level. Don’t just think about how you can build your personal empire but how can you elevate the lives of others around you. You cannot remove poverty everywhere but you can remove poverty from the people you know. God’s provision is not only the brook where my needs are met. God’s provision is also the season where you have enough to meet others needs too.
Watch The Full Sermon Here:
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