IN THE SHADOW OF CHERITH
"The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed. The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." ---anonymous
"Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters......." (Isaiah 55:1)
"...let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:22-23)
In the Old Testament scriptures, we are told how the prophet Elijah fled from Israel's King Ahab and his notorious wife, Queen Jezebel. Elijah was fleeing for his very life. He was fleeing from the wicked, idolatrous powers of his day, the governing powers that sought to silence the Lord's message of warning that the prophet was proclaiming......
"And the word of the LORD came to him [ie., Elijah], saying, 'Go away from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. And it shall be that you shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.'" "So he went and did according to the LORD, for he went and lived by the brook Cherith...And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook." (1 Kings 17: 2-6)
God directed Elijah to a place of refuge, a place called Brook Cherith [pronounced ke-REETH'] . There God provided Elijah a place to hide from the deadly "idol threats" of his enemy who plagued and stalked him. There Elijah was given respite, and was miraculously fed. There at Brook Cherith he was delivered from danger, he was comforted, restored and sustained.
Elijah was saved by the waters of Brook Cherith....a stream in the desert.
"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." (Psalm 32: 7)
The Hebrew word "cherith" is most intriguing. The word literally means "a cut", but the primary word from which cherith is derived is more specific and more telling.
The primary, root word means "to cut a covenant".
In the ancient world, when two parties entered into a binding agreement, when men made a promise to one another that they meant to keep, they would often seal their covenant oath in blood. And they would do so by killing an animal, a bull, a goat, a sheep... or perhaps a lamb. The body of the dead animal would then be cut in half and the two halves would be placed side by side on the ground. Both parties engaging in the covenant vow would then walk through the bloodied severed parts of the sacrifice. They would both pass through the blood. In effect, by doing so they were symbolically saying to one another, "If I should break my word to you in this matter, may this be done to me!"
A sacrifice was offered. A covenant was cut. Blood was spilled, and a promise was sealed.
"In The Shadow of Cherith"
Lord, Cherith....our place of hiding,
May your Presence there be known....
Son of God's foreshadowed story;
Tells us there we're not alone.
Brook Cherith, your saving waters
Are today in Christ fulfilled.
Now this cup is overflowing...
Idol threats have now been stilled.
Shelter in our time of trouble,
Brook Cherith, sweet hiding place!
There we enter, Lord, your Presence...
Cut of Promise...Wound of Grace.
There! The Promised One...Messiah!
In the shadow of Cherith....
There! Reflected Revelation,
Quenching fires of unbelief!
Brook Cherith, your waters tell us
Of a Truth still yet to come.....
Pointing to the Hope of Glory,
Bridegroom,... King,....Anointed One!
"Then he took the cup gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26: 27-29)
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains......
E'er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme....
And shall be till I die.
(text by William Cowper 1731-1800)
"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb....." (Revelation 22: 1)