Summary: This is part 3 of a series of sermons dedicated to the life and ministry of Elijah. It deals with the subject of spiritual frustration.
Elijah Part 3
"Lord, I’ve Had Enough"
Have you ever had that kind of day or week where you just felt as though it couldn’t possibly get any worse? Maybe it seemed that only a short while before, everything was going fine. But then something happened to send your entire world spinning out of control. Perhaps you’ve experienced such a time in your life when you simply could not endure any more—it could have been so grim in fact that you actually prayed, “Lord, I’ve had enough.”
Well, this morning we are going to look back on a certain prophet who most definitely experienced just such a time in his life. And as we open the Word this morning to his story, it is my hope that, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we will gain new spiritual strength and wisdom that will serve to encourage us in our unavoidable times of crisis.
So far, in our study of the prophet Elijah’s life and ministry, we have found him to be extraordinarily faithful to the Lord. Wherever God sent him, he went. Whatever God told him to do, he did. And up to this point in his ministry, he has been exceedingly successful in his mission to turn the hearts of the people away from Baal and back to God. Along the way, the Lord performed many miracles through Elijah; his prayer closed up the heavens so that it didn’t rain for three and a half years, he was fed by ravens in the wilderness, and he was miraculously supplied with flour and oil in the midst of a very severe famine. It was also the faith behind Elijah’s prayer that caused fire to descend upon Mount Carmel in the sight of all the people and it was this same faith that even raised the widow’s son from the dead.
It was evident for all to see that Elijah most definitely had connections in very “high places.” At the time, he was the only active servant of God left, yet the Lord was making tremendous reforms in Israel through this lone prophet. As you may recall, when we last left Elijah, he had just won a major battle for the Lord against Baal and he had all the prophets and priests of the false deity killed. The people had witnessed for themselves the awesome power of Yahweh when He answered Elijah’s prayer with both fire….and then with much needed rain. Yes, the drought was finally over and it seemed as though Elijah’s work was nearly completed for the people on the mount had unanimously vowed to once again exclusively serve the Lord.
I can almost picture Elijah falling back into his Lazy Boy recliner, exhaling a deep sigh of relief after a hard day’s work. Much too often, we don’t realize that these men of faith that we read about in the bible were merely human and just as spiritually vulnerable as we are today. In his letter to the churches, the apostle James states that Elijah was a man “just like us”—that is to say that he was subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as we are. And let me tell you, at this point in time, Elijah was both physically and emotionally exhausted.
But with this major victory behind him, he just knew that his running and hiding days were over. Surely he was no longer the most wanted man in Israel for everyone had seen for themselves the remarkable power of his God. And they, along with the king, greatly welcomed His mercy falling abundantly upon the land in the form of life-giving rain. Yes, Elijah was now a hero. He had been faithfully obedient to God and now he looked forward to a well-deserved rest from his enemies.
Shortly after, just as the stressed-out prophet was beginning to catch his breath, a servant of the king’s palace arrives with a message. I’m sure Elijah must have thought to himself that the messenger was coming to express words of sincere gratitude from Ahab. And maybe even to officially proclaim the enactment of the verbal agreement they made on Mount Carmel stating that Yahweh was to be the only God worshipped in Israel.
But as the weary-eyed prophet listened to the servant’s message, he couldn’t believe his ears. This messenger came not to convey heartfelt thanks on behalf of the king and his subjects, but rather he came relaying a threat on his life from queen Jezebel! Put yourself in Elijah’s sandals for a minute. Just when he thought he was making progress, just as he was beginning to see the light at the end of the long dark tunnel of apostasy…… it happened. All of a sudden Elijah felt the weight of the world coming down upon him. In 1Kings 19:3 when Elijah was faced with this “promise” from the queen that he would be killed within 24hrs, we are told that the prophet “ran for his life.”