As we read those words and try to imagine the original setting, we begin to see the surprising nature of God's plan. The most logical arrangement, seemingly, would be to keep Elijah in the king's face.
Then the LORD said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
So Elijah did as the LORD told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. (1 Kings 17:2–6)
As we read those words and try to imagine the original setting, we begin to see the surprising nature of God's plan. The most logical arrangement, seemingly, would be to keep Elijah in the king's face---to use the prophet as a persistent goad, pressing
the godless monarch into submission, forcing him to surrender his will to the One who had created him. After all, none of King Ahab's advisors and counselors had Elijah's integrity. There was no one nearby to confront the king's idolatrous ways or
his cruel and unfair acts against the people of Israel. It only made good sense to leave Elijah there in the court of the king.
So much for human logic.
God's plan is always full of surprise and mystery. While we might have chosen to leave Elijah there, confronting Ahab, such was not the Father's plan. He had things He wished to accomplish deep within His servant's inner life, things that would
prepare Elijah for encounters that might destroy a less-obedient, less-committed, and less-prepared servant. Hence, God immediately sent him away to a place of isolation, hidden from everyone, where he would not only be protected from physical danger
but would also be better prepared for a greater mission.
For the godly hero to be useful as an instrument of significance in the Lord's hand, he must be humbled and forced to trust. He must, in other words, be "cut down to size." Or, as A. W. Tozer loved to say, "It's doubtful that God can bless a man greatly
until He has hurt him deeply."1 It has been my observation over the years that the deeper the hurt, the greater the usefulness.