Summary: This sermon is intended to help all of us who are going through a time of discouragement, to see the steps to recovery.
A Spiritual Drop-Out
FROM a true spiritual standpoint the unusual events of this familiar chapter presents one of the saddest stories and all of the Bible. And yet a story with which all here can identify.
Here one of histories most faithful and fearless prophets becomes discouraged and flees for his life… Because a wicked woman by the name of Jezebel threatening to kill him.
In fact… This is the chapter that tells how Elijah… The great miracle worker and mover of men becomes a spiritual dropout.
In verse 4 of 1Kings 19- we are told that Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, it is enough; now, o Lord, take away my life; for I am no better than my fathers.
I’m sure that many present today can identify with elijah in his hour of despondency.
And the reason I’m so sure that someone needs this message is because Bible history and human experience records the tragedies of many good and great men who became discouraged and gave up…
At this point let me remind us that discouragement (in itself) is not a sin.
however it will rob us of all victory and usefulness for God… Unless we quickly rise above it… through fellowship and communion with God.
In fact there is nothing in all the world that will cause a Christian to stumble and fall any quicker than will discouragement.
But I’m happy to announce that God always gives help with victory to those who want it.
in 2nd Corinthians 4 Paul testifies of a victory over doubt and fear and discouragement.
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2 Corinthians 4:15-1615For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
So victory over discouragement only comes to the Christian who is being renewed in the inner man every moment of every day.
Here in 1Kings 19 the Bible records the sad and tragic experience of what can and sometimes does happen to even the most devout follower of God.
1st of all contrary to what one might imagine:
Discouragement and despair does come
to even the greatest and most faithful followers of Christ–
in verses 3 and 4 note how Elijah responds to Jezebel threat-
1 Kings 19:3-4 3. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
no one ever seems to surprised when the new Christian gets discouraged or goes back on God.
But when a prophet or preacher or spiritual leader it’s discouraged or falls… We are shocked and stunned beyond words.
And yet we must all realize that a prophet or preacher is no different from anyone else.
No one is exempt from discouragement!
So in spite of the fact that Elijah was one of the greatest spiritual giants of all time…
And in spite of the fact that he had just experienced one of the most remarkable victories recorded in all of the Bible…
He still became discouraged and temporarily became what we might call a spiritual dropout.
You say but why would such a story be recorded in the Bible?
This story is recorded in the word of God to remind you in me that loneliness, and discouragement, and spiritual backsliding, comes to all of us somewhere- sometime.
In fact both Scripture and Christian biography bear ample testimony that at one time or another some of the Bible’s greatest Christians yielded to this common spiritual weakness.
In Psalms 55:6 listen to David -O that i had the wings of a Dove for then would I fly away and be at rest:
in other words because of discouragement… David wanted to get away from it all!
Have you ever wanted to get away from it all? If you are normal you have!
In Jeremiah 9:2, listen to the weeping prophet.
Oh that I had in the wilderness, a lodging place that I might leave my people and go from them.