Summary: The story of Elijah gives us keys to overcoming fear, discouragement, depression and loneliness in our lives.
GOD’S MESSENGERS: OVERCOMING DEPRESSION
OPENING STORY: A drunk stumbles into a baptismal service on Sunday afternoon down by the river. He proceeds to walk into the water and stand next to the preacher. The minister notices the old drunk and says, "Mister, are you ready to find Jesus?" The drunk looks back and says, "Yes, preacher, I sure am." The minister dunks the fellow under the water and pulls him right back up. "Have you found Jesus?" the preacher asks. "No, I haven’t preacher.” The pastor, in disgust, holds the man under for at least 30 seconds this time, brings him out of the water, and says in a harsh tone, "My man, have you found Jesus yet?" The old drunk wipes his eyes and says to the preacher, "Are you sure this is where he fell in?”
INTRO TO TOPIC: Discuss the role of God’s Messengers (Prophets) during this time period.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again.” (James 5:16b-18, NLT).
• The Bible tells us two things here about Elijah. First of all, he was man who prayed powerful prayers. But secondly, he was as human as we are. That’s encouraging!
• I like the fact that the heroes of the Bible had weaknesses and flaws that we can relate to.
• As powerful and mighty a man of God that Elijah was, he struggled with discouragement.
• The world’s answer to depression is medication. God had another answer for Elijah.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY OF ELIJAH:
17:1 - Elijah told the wicked King Ahab that there would be no rain.
- this drought was God’s judgment on him for leading the nation into immorality
v.2-6 - the Lord provided for Elijah with food from ravens and water from a brook.
v.7-24 - the Lord had a widow provide for Elijah, and he raised her son from the dead.
18:16-20 - Elijah had Ahab called the 450 Baal and 400 Asherah prophets to Mount Carmel
v.21 - Elijah’s bold challenge: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the
Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him!”
2.22-40 - God sent fire from Heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice, and they slew the false prophets
- this was a major victory in his life!
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time." And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:1-4).
• Look at what happened to this mighty man of God, right after his major victory:
o Fear: “Elijah arose and ran for his life.”
o Depression and Discouragement: “Lord, take my life.”
o Loneliness: “He himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.”
• Just because we struggle with these things doesn’t mean we’re doing something wrong.
COMIC STRIP ILLUSTRATION: Calvin & Hobbes “Miller Time!”
• What do you do when you’re discouraged? Many people turn to drugs or alcohol
THE BIG IDEA: The story of Elijah gives us keys to overcoming fear, discouragement, depression and loneliness in our lives.
1. REST AND BE REFRESHED:
“Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat." Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you. So he arose, and ate and drank.” (1 Kings 19:5-8a).
• The first thing the Lord addressed with Elijah is his physical well-being.
• One of the best things we can do when we’re going through a challenging season is to make sure we get enough rest and take care of our physical bodies.