A CUTTING PLACE
A number of years ago the Lord led me to study the life of the prophet Elijah. Elijah means my God is Jehovah.
Most Christians are familiar with the accounts of Elijah’s encounter with the widow of Ze-raphath and his triumph over the false prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. But just as David had to slay the bear and the lion before he could face Goliath, Elijah had to experience his per-sonal lion and bear before he was ready for the victory of Mt. Carmel.
During my study I discovered that before there can be a Mt. Carmel victory, there had to be a brook Cherith.
At the time Elijah was prophesying, Ahab and his wicked queen, Jezebel, led the nation of Israel. In 1 Kings 14:9 we read, “He did evil above all that were before him.” Only a few years prior to this time, kings such as David and Solomon had led Israel. God’s people had experi-enced a regression from righteous to evil leadership. Then God sent His prophet Elijah to pronounce judgment upon such evil leaders and to call Israel to repentance.
There is a striking parallel between our nation (and other nations) and the nation of Israel during Elijah’s day. The founders of our country passed down to us a godly and righteous heritage. Our forefathers respected righteousness and our country was founded upon God’s commandments. However, like Israel we have turned our backs on God’s commandments.
As a nation we have rejected righteousness. We allowed one woman to cause prayer to be removed from our public schools. Abortion is now available upon demand as a result of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision. AIDS has spread at an alarming rate. Crime, homo-sexuality, violence, and pornography are blatantly displayed on television. Marriage is no longer “until death do us part.” Commitment to the marriage covenant continues to decline, even among born again Christians.
A CALL TO REPENTANCE
But just as God called Israel to repent, He is also calling our nation and the Body of Christ to turn back to His ways. This need for repentance continues to draw covenant keepers togeth-er – at group meetings, retreats, special meetings, and at annual conferences – to repent for the sin of divorce in our own families and the sin resulting from separation and divorce in our land and in the Body of Christ.
Elijah prophetically pronounced judgment upon King Ahab and the nation of Israel, and he had to escape for his life. God sent Elijah to the brook Cherith to provide for him (read 1 Kings 17:1-6).
Cherith means “the cutting place.” It was not just a beautiful babbling stream; it was only a trickle of water. Ravens fed Elijah. The Hebrews regarded ravens as unclean because they were scavengers, living off rubbish. They certainly did not bring Elijah “T-bone steaks or freshly-baked bread.”
LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS COMFORTABLE AND COZY
To do God’s will cost us something. We pay a price to hold up God’s standard for our mar-riages. Many of us have been misunderstood and some have even become the subjects of sermons. Called losers and doormats, at times we have been made to feel that we are in re-bellion because we do not accept divorce as ending our covenants with our mates. Unfortu-nately, most of us discover that churches welcome people who are divorced and not seeking reconciliation, but they do not have a place for those who believe in the permanency of marriage.
Before we pat ourselves on the back, let me quickly say that just as for Elijah there had to be a brook Cherith, so for each of us there must also be a cutting place; there must be a cutting away of what is not of God. In our zeal to share with others about marriage healing, at times we become legalistic and self-righteous. Sometimes we condemn and judge others who have divorced and remarried. Some of us have been loud, crude, crass and rude. God forgive us!
CHECK YOUR MOTIVES
The brook Cherith is a place where we must first remove the beam from our own eye; then we can see clearly to remove the splinter from our brother’s (spouse’s) eye. Cherith was where God did some rough chiseling on Elijah’s rugged character.
For us, Cherith is a place where we check our own motives for desiring our marriages to be healed. We should recognize that while our position on marriage healing may be scripturally correct, our motives might be wrong. God says that He looks upon the heart. He examines our motives. “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature: because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Once, during a phone conversation, a lady was saying the right things and giving the right scriptures. However, in my spirit I did not have peace about what she was saying. When I got off the phone, I said, “Father, what is going on here?” And He quickened to my spirit, “Her motives are wrong.” I then asked, “Father, can we have wrong motives for wanting our mar-riages healed?” The Lord answered, “Yes, she wants to prove that she is right and her hus-band is wrong. She does not want the marriage healed for my honor and glory.” Then He gave me a jingle; “When the motive is wrong, the stand is not strong.”
OUR BROOK CHERITH
The brook Cherith is a place where we get ourselves healed in order for our marriages to be healed – a place where we get rid of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge. It is a place where our wounded spirits and broken hearts are healed and restored. Once our emo-tions are healed and the confusion stops, we can effectively pray for our spouses.
Cherith was a communion place for Elijah, and it can be the same for us. There we learn to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” and then all things (including our mar-riages) will be ours. At our Cherith, we put our priorities in order and learn to trust God as our source, not our mates. Verse 7 of 1 Kings 17 says, “After a while the brook dried up, be-cause there was no rain in the land.” The brook Cherith was not Elijah’s source; God was. Af-ter Elijah’s time there was finished, God was ready for him to go to Zarephath to minister to a widow and her son. All that he experienced at Cherith prepared Elijah for Zarephath and eventually for Mt. Carmel.
MOVING ON WITH OUR LIVES
Our experiences at our own brook Cherith, whatever they are, prepare us to move forward. We are equipped to share and minister to others who are hurting in their marriages. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NKJV) Remember, before we can expe-rience a Mt. Carmel victory, there must be a cutting place.