Summary: Discouragement, God's Care & Encouragement, Revelation
OUT OF WEAKNESS…STRENGTH - Elijah: “I’m Really Depressed”
1 Kings 19:9-18 (p. 247) August 27, 2017
I love the story of Elijah fighting for God and the allegiance of His people on top of Mount Carmel. It’s a duel between the false prophets of Baal and God Himself. These false prophets had called on their imaginary god to send fire from heaven all day. They’ve cut themselves…gone into a bloody frenzy while Elijah asks “maybe Baal’s asleep, or on vacation, or in the restroom.” I love it!
After Elijah rebuilds his altar…because the false prophet’s antics have destroyed it. After he soaks it with water he steps forward before the Israelites and says, “God, so that these people may know that you are the one true God…send fire!”
And whomp! The fire comes…and boy does it come…It burns up the sacrifice, the wood, the water…everything in it’s intensity…There is no doubt about the power of God as the Israelites look on open-mouthed…eyes aghast.
Can you imagine the response to the invitation given at the end of this sermon? 100% Elijah experiences a mountaintop victory…the false prophets are destroyed…and he is vindicated.
Elijah should be on a spiritual mountaintop too…but 1 Kings Chapter 19 begins with wicked King Ahab conspiring with his even wickeder Queen Jezebel to send a message to Elijah…that message: “May the god’s deal with me be it ever so severely if by this time tomorrow I don’t make your life like one of my prophets.”
Elijah should have said, “Shut up you evil witch…look what my God did to those prophets…it’s what he’s going to do to you too!”
But he doesn’t…God’s Word says, “Elijah was afraid, ran for his life and went into the desert. He sat down under a tree and prayed to die…“I’ve had enough…I’m afraid…take my life.”
Elijah is discouraged…depressed…He's down and just wants God to take him out. Each of us will have mountaintop victories, but all to often afterwards there is a broomtree of depression just waiting.
Dr. Frank Minrith from the Minrith/Meier Clinic says, “the majority of Americans will suffer from a serious depression at some point in their lives…most will never seek help, but will fight the battle on their own.”
Some will not wait for God to take their life…they’ll do it on their own…last year 30,000 people committed suicide in the US. More than 90 percent of those who kill themselves have a diagnosable depression…or substance abuse issue. The highest rate of suicide in the US is found in white males over 85. It’s the 3rd leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds. 4 times as many men die at their own hand as women.
I was sitting in the doctor’s office last week and picked up a magazine…there was an advertisement for Paxil…it began with these words: “Depressed mood, loss of interest, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, agitation, restlessness…life is too precious to let another day go by feeling like this. If you’ve experienced these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, a chemical imbalance could be to blame. And life can feel difficult all day.”
Listen, I’m not a medical doctor, or psychiatrist or psychologist. I don’t understand chemical imbalances or mental disorders. I’m thankful for medical science, it’s advances and for caring doctors that are looking for cures and helps for depression.
So, I won’t address chemical imbalances and issues that need medical answers…but, I will address spiritual issues that cannot be cured by a pill.
What should we do when we’re overcome with fear? How can we as God’s people respond to the discouraging and depressing seasons of life?
?It’s during these “weak” times, God reveals an amazing truth…to Elijah and us.
I. GOD WANTS TO KNOW WHY WE’RE HIDING UNDER THE BROOMTREE
Our text begins…“And the word of the Lord came to him…what are you doing here Elijah?”
Elijah’s afraid, discouraged, depressed and he’s run away…He’s all by himself hiding under a broomtree.
SHOW PIC of BROOMTREE
By the way a broomtree is a large desert shrub from the juniper family.
God knows exactly where Elijah is…and why he’s here…And here’s what God does. God sends an Angel to take care of him…He fixes him cakes…Angel Food Cake! He does this twice…Elijah is strengthened for the journey…an it’s a long one, 40 days and 40 nights ending at Horeb…the Mountain of God.
So, have you ever been under the broomtree? Cause I have! Have you ever felt you’d rather God take your life than to try and face what was ahead of you? Because I have.
[In 2007 I was on top of the world and loved the mountaintops…We’d just built a new facility on the corner of the busiest street in Louisville. The church was experiencing explosive growth, spiritually and numerically. The paper had just done a community article about our facility and outreach ministries. My marriage was strong and things were good…and then my fifteen year old daughter came and told me she was pregnant…I remember laying on the floor weeping…Kari and I were devastated. My son was in Iraq and we received word he’s had his vehicle blown out from under him. He was OK…but had received some TBI. My oldest son came to me and said He and his wife were divorcing…and a week later I had back fusion surgery for ongoing pain in my lower back and legs.