The Separation At Cherith
For the last several weeks my church has been studying the scriptures with an emphasis on the picture drawn for us in 1 Kings 17. This chapter contains the first mention of the prophet Elijah and his mighty exploits, per his empowerment through GOD. In the beginning of the chapter he approaches king Ahab and lets him know that the land will have no rain or dew until Elijah, in his divine authority which was given by GOD, says so. Elijah had the backing of the Creator and all of heaven, and so he made his declaration without wavering on whether or not it would happen like he said. After this encounter, GOD told Elijah to go and dwell by the brook Cherith, separating himself from the king and the people of Israel, for a season. Elijah didn’t have to worry about food or shelter, or any other possible concern, for GOD had already made the necessary arrangements to get the necessities to Elijah while he was there by the brook.
As I read and reread this passage of scripture I wondered why this brook and why this particular season. Looking at the name “Cherith,” we see that it comes from the word Charath, which means, “to cut off, to cut down.” There are several different take-aways’ one can gather from reading this, but one that stuck out to me was the concept that GOD had used Elijah as His mouthpiece, then had him to hide himself by this brook. GOD had cut Elijah away from the public. Now, undoubtedly, Elijah received some much needed refreshing and divine downloads from GOD in that season. But, I believe that one of the reasons why GOD had to “cut” Elijah away from everything and everyone is because as a prophet, he needed to be impartial, objective, and sturdy enough in GOD to stick to the plan of GOD.
Since Elijah walked, lived, and laid before GOD, and because he spent an extensive amount of time in the presence of GOD, there’s no doubt in my mind that he also had the heart of GOD. That which touched the heart of GOD touched his as well. Knowing that GOD is at all times righteous and just, we should also know that GOD our Heavenly Father does NOT take pleasure in the suffering of humanity, and especially those who have done their best to live by His holy ordinances. And, since Elijah was GOD’s servant, he would have and could have been affected by the images of a nation suffering in a similar fashion. To me, Elijah’s Cherith experience was to keep him on task and away from the images and the encounters of people who were in a season of suffering behind the unfathomable drought. If he would have remained among the people, he would either encounter those who hate him and would wish to kill him, and then people who were suffering and then begged and pleaded with him to release the rain. Having the heart of GOD for a man like Elijah could’ve had him in a place where he would be too tempted to speak before his time.
As a Christian, I have found myself in Cherith type seasons, where I needed to separate myself from those whom I was familiar with, in order to be able to focus on GOD and to do what He instructs and requires of me to do. I am a person who has a heart to help people, but what I have learned in my Cherith seasons is that it is not me that anyone should seek after, but rather GOD Himself. The people in Elijah’s day would have been at the very least tempted to seek him rather than seek the LORD for help and for any possible mercy. Therefore, GOD tells Elijah to hide himself by the brook Cherith. The reason: in order for Elijah to be effective as a prophet he had to remain focused and distraction free. He did not leave that place until GOD told him to, and even then he went where GOD told him to go and did what He told him to do.
So, if you find yourself in a Cherith season, separated from the familiar, then it is a perfect time to focus on GOD and be free from distractions. Cherith is a place where we are cut away from the noise of regular day-to-day living, but it is the place where just you and GOD dwell. In this place we have the ear of GOD, we have His attention. Let us give HIM our undivided attention, so that we, too, can walk in power and authority as Elijah did.
Since this is a season where the life and ministry of Elijah is being studied, I will probably expound further on this fascinating man of GOD in the near future. For now, just take a moment to think about how you could benefit from a Cherith season, and allow GOD to feed you.
Be blessed in Jesus’ Name!