Summary: How Elijah dealt with disocuragement
“On the Mountain or in the Valley?”
Intro: I have a glass here on the platform - is it half-full or half-empty? It depends on how you look at it! I remember back when the show “The Six Million Dollar Man” was on, reading an article in the paper. It said a scientist had determined that our bodies are 98% water [or whatever percent] and figure we are worth about $2. Yet, when he thought a little more, thinking about complex amino acids, he refigured our worth at billions of dollars. It all depends on how you look at things. If you stand on a side of a hill, the answer to whether you end up on the mountain or in the valley depends on where you are looking and where you are going.
We want to talk this morning about depression and victory. Two shoe salesmen went to Africa - after two days one wired back, “This is miserable, the worst maret ever, nobody wears shoes - I’m coming home.” The other wired back, “This is great, best opportunity of my life, no one here wears shoes - double my initial order!”
In our skit this morning we saw John and Peter after the death of the Lord. It would have been a very discouraging time for them. Their Lord was taken from them and crucified. The tomb was empty - they struggled with their faith.
It is easy to be discouraged in life. Often things happen in our life that drive us to despair. I’d like to show you a clip from Honduras, showing the devastation from Hurricane Mitch. VIDEO
Let’s consider a great man who faced victory in his life as well as defeat. Elijah. Please turn to 1 Kings 17.
I. The thrill of victory - living on the mountain
A. Supernatural Provision - 17:1 - no rain, 4 - drink from brook, fed by ravens, 14- flour not end. *When you are living victoriously God provides for your needs in miraculous ways.
B. Supernatural Performance - 17:20-22 - Elijah brings a boy back from death
When you are living victoriously, God lets you do things you would never think about doing
C. Supernatural Prestige - 18:7-10 - God lets you have great renown
D. Supernatural Proclamation - 18:21 - God helps you witness boldly and speak out for him
E. Supernatural Confidence - 18:27-34 - God helps you believe he will work for you
F. Supernatural Prayer - 18:36 - God answers your prayers in powerful ways
But often in living victoriously, Satan attacks us, and instead of staying on the mountain enjoying the thrill of victory, we fall down and face the agony of defeat.
II. The Agony of Defeat - going down to the valley
What was Elijah feeling?
2-threatened 3-fear 3-isolation 4-overwhelmed 4-burnout 4-lack of vision
6-failure to see God working 8-miraculous things seem mundane [loss of awe]
III. Getting back on the Mountain
What does Elijah need?
A. A New Encounter or the Presence of God
*19:11-14 - power is great, but the presence of God is still in a soft, still voice
--Many look for God to do great, exciting things in their lives. They want to see the healings, the dynamic gifts of the spirit, but they forget that obedience is found in the day to day details of obedience.
*moses couldn’t look for a burning bush every day
*Samuel knew that the visions of God were rare in his day
Ps. 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
B. A New Vision for the Work of God
1. God provides direction - God sends Elijah back to do His work - 15 - often the best thing we can do when we are discouraged is to keep doing what we have been doing. Don’t make drastic changes.
2. God provides a support network - 15-16 - he raises us others to offer support
There are no lone ranger Christians.
Aram - friends without Israel - friends within network circles Successor - mentor others
3. God provides a promise - 17-18 - God’s work does not end without us
God doesn’t need us, but he wants to use us and reclaim us from defeat to deliverance.
Conclusion: Elijah, James 5 tells us, was a man just like us. He got discouraged, but God renewed his vision and used him once again. 21:17 - Once again we see Elijah coming before the King bringing God’s message. Have you been a little timid or discouraged, or frustrated with how God has worked in your life? First, admit the truth that God is still as good and great as he always was. He is still as powerful as ever. Renew the presence of God in your life. Let him renew your vision. What is it that God wants you to do? Will you obey?