Summary: A look at Elijah’s struggle with disappoinment and the reasons for the struggle, as a means for us to gain heavenly perspective and emotional deliverance/stability.

Text: I Kings 19:1-18

Introduction: Sir Alexander Mackenzie, an early fur trader and explorer, accomplished a magnificent feat when he led an expedition across Canada from Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean. His incredible journey was completed in 1793, 11 years before the famous Lewis & Clark expedition. He is hailed to this day as a Canadian hero.

However, in 1789, four years earlier, Mackenzie’s first attempt had been anything but successful. His valiant explorers set out in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific, following a mighty river (now named the Mackenzie) with high hopes, paddling furiously amid grave danger. Unfortunately, the river didn’t empty into the Pacific, but into the Arctic Ocean. In his diary, Mackenzie called it the “River of Disappointment”. (Adapted from illustration from

Perhaps, you are traveling down a river of disappointment now, with questions like this, “Why have things gone this way, Lord?” or, you are saying, “Where are you, Lord?” or perhaps you are in a state of shock trying to take inventory of your own feelings amidst chaotic circumstances. Whatever the scenario you find yourself in, ALL of us struggle with the DISAPPOINTMENTS in life.



Elijah has just experienced perhaps the most incredible time of revival in his life on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18).

• The Lord confirms the prophet’s words with fire upon the altar,

• 850 false prophets were slain,

• The people of Israel acknowledge their need for God, and

• The Lord sends rain from heaven, ending a 3.5 year drought.

Surely, Elijah the prophet was encouraged that day as he ran under the anointing of God’s spirit faster than the chariot of King Ahab back to the palace. It seemed that true revival had come at last. Then the ominous message from Queen Jezebel, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them (the slain false prophets) by to morrow about this time.”

• Elijah goes from FAVORITE to FUGITIVE in a matter of moments, and runs for his life, while the queen’s henchmen put up “most-wanted” signs of the prophet all over town. (Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, story of Ralph and Piggy and the Conch, Ralph the Leader, becomes, Ralph the Rejected.)

• Elijah travels from the Mountaintop to the Mulley Grubs, as the all too familiar emotion of DISAPPOINTMENT fills his being.

Outline: Dealing with Disappointment

I. Reasons for Disappointment

a. Great physical exertion

b. Great spiritual breakthrough

c. Great sense of isolation

II. Overcoming Disappointment

a. Redefining success

b. Remembering to rest

c. Regaining heavenly perspective


I. Reasons for Disappointment

a. Great Physical Exertion: The picture we have of Elijah is of a man of God that was willing to take bold stands for the truth in the midst of gross idolatry, and wicked leadership.

i. He has lived as a fugitive for 3.5 years as the drought has continued according to his prophecy, while Jezebel has tried to eradicate the prophets from the land. (Obadiah able to hide 100.)

ii. He puts his life on the line to appear before Ahab and all the people of Israel with their false prophets on Mt. Carmel.

He brings himself to the place of exhaustion, after enduring continued hardships to fulfill God’s calling upon his life.

Application: Perhaps you’ve:

• prayed for years for that lost loved one, a spouse, a son or daughter, but you’ve seen no desire in that person to get saved.

• witnessed to that family member time and time again, only to suffer rejection at their hands.

• Held a job you really didn’t want because you felt led to witness to your co-workers about Christ, even under great stress.

b. Great Spiritual Breakthrough: Elijah witnesses and becomes the catalyst to a great awakening in Israel, as the fire of God consumes the sacrifice, believing that revival has come, only to realize how shallow the ring to the cry of the crowds, “The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God,” as it becomes evident that they return to their idolatry.

i. Jesus: As Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey, the multitudes cry, “Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” only to have them a day later crying, “Crucify him. Crucify him.”

ii. Application: You’ve prayed until you’ve seen the conversion of a friend, a loved one, only to watch them return to their old ways of sin.

c. Great Sense of Isolation: Elijah has lived under the feeling of isolation (I’m the only one) for over three and a half years. He begins to feel as if no one cares.

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