Summary: Message 7 in our study of the life and ministry of Elijah. This message explores Elijah's depression after his great victory on mount Carmel. I seek to track the cause and cure for depression.
Chico Alliance Church
Elijah Series #7
“Thoughts on Feelings of Failure and Depression”
We have been tracking Elijah’s faith journey from his first appearance before Ahab the evil, godless king of Israel and his Gentile wife Jezebel. He appears in Scripture boldly announcing God’s judgment on the nation for blatant Baal worship throughout the land. God’s national judgment would fall in the form of a 3 ½ year devastating drought. Jezebel had introduced and disseminated degenerate Baal worship and actually exterminated as many of the prophets of Yahweh she could find.
We knew nothing of Elijah up to this point. He appeared out of nowhere and God elevated him to the prominent prophet of his time.
We watched him stand up to Ahab and Jezebel.
We noticed his effective prayer life as it stopped the rain.
We observed him faithfully hearing and obeying God.
We marveled at his faith in God to protect and provide for him by the brook.
We noticed him obey God’s direction to take up residence in the middle of Jezebel’s hometown again trusting God for protection and provision.
We heard his effective prayer to supernaturally provided food for the widow.
We wondered God answering his prayer to raise the widow’s boy to life again.
We observed his continued boldness to stand up to and confront Ahab.
We noted an increase in Elijah’s boldness as he single-handedly stood up to a neutral crowd and 450 demonically-driven prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel.
We rejoiced at God’s spectacular answer to Elijah’s simple prayer for fire.
We witnessed the people’s grand shift out of neutral into a full embrace of Yahweh.
We read of Elijah’s gruesome execution of Baal’s prophets in keeping with the Law.
We saw God respond to the persistent prayer of Elijah for rain.
Finally, we watched Elijah outrun Ahab’s chariot to Jezreel because “God’s hand was on him.
It is important that you track with the amazing faith of this prophet of God. So far, we have not seen one lapse of faith along the way. At least the Holy Spirit chose not to record any. So far, it has been hard to identify with someone this effective in his faith walk. He lived by faith, prayer, hearing AND obeying God’s direction for his life. James is clear the Elijah was a man of “like passions” as we are. Were it not for this next glimpse into Elijah’s journey we would have trouble believing that. God has never been shy about telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to human frailties. James early affirmed that, “We ALL stumble in MANY ways.”
We are about to witness a major meltdown from this monumental man.
• Powerful prophet to a whining wimp.
• Significant deliverer to a man sidelined by fear, despair and depression.
• A man who dared stand alone against a hostile crowd to a man who ran from the queen.
• A man with every reason to live to a man pleading to die.
• Victorious prayer for life giving rain from the top of the mountain to a prayer to die in the valley of despair.
• A man who waited for the word of the Lord running from the word of the queen.
He lost his connection with God’s direction.
He lost His courage in the face of opposition.
He lost his divine perspective on life.
He lost his will to carry on ministry for God.
He lost his will to live.
Up to this point, I have sought to examine the content of the passage and then extract the applicable universal principles from the passage. This message I am going to direct us to observe the content and then I want to share some thoughts on the subject of feelings of failure and depression. There plenty of extractable principles to discuss, but I will reserve that for time. There are lessons to be learned even in the face of failure. Feelings of depression and a sense of failure are not foreign to God’s servants. Guilt and a sense of inadequacy at his initial attempt to deliver Israel from Egyptian tyranny hamstrung Moses.
King David exhibited a myriad of dark feelings all through the Psalms.
“Why are you cast down O my soul?”
Jeremiah pretty much gave up on God as he stood in the rubble of Jerusalem.
My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, "My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD." Lam 3
Paul suffered despair under negative circumstances.
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life… 2 Cor. 1:8-11