Summary: This sermon helps identify the common causes of depression and prescribes God’s cure for them.
I have been feeling a bit "down and blue" over the past few weeks and motivation to do anything has been sadly lacking. But thank the Lord for His amazing grace that reaches even downhearted pastors. I found great solace in an episode from Elijah’s life that is found in 1 Kings 19.
Let me share with you the comfort God shared with me from that chapter from Elijah’s life and ministry. It is a story of how God prescribed a needed remedy for a prophet with a case of the blues.
First God helped me identify four sources of despair in our lives.
1. Our resources (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) can be depleted by our victories.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. (1 Kings 19:1 NIV)
Elijah was worn out from the battle which followed a three and a half year God imposed exile from the court of Israel.
2. We can become disconcerted by threats which cause us to fear.
So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. (1 Kings 19:2-3a NIV)
Threats, whether real or imagined, can throw us off balance and cause us to forget past victories that the Lord has given. We become irrational in our fear and run away from the threat.
3. Often when we run, we retreat from others and become disabled by our isolation. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day¡¦s journey into the desert. (1 Kings 19:3b-4a NIV)
4. When we isolate ourselves, we often allow our minds to run wild and become Satan’s playground. In our irrational mindset we are devastated by comparisons and self pity and can even turn to thoughts of suicide.
He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." (1 Kings 19:4b NIV)
Although Elijah had been set up by his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion for collapse into depression, God was working in the midst of his misery. Often, we look everywhere for an answer to our predicament except the one place where we can find real help. God had a prescription for the "blues" for Elijah and you and I need to hear that same word, too.
1. The first need God addressed in Elijah’s life was the need for physical restoration.
Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. (1 Kings 19:5-9a NIV)
2. God came to Elijah with much needed gentle correction.
And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." (1 Kings 19:9b-14 NIV)