Summary: Message on overcoming during times of depression from the life of Elijah.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 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."
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. 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." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 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. 7 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." 8 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. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 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." 11 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. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
There is nothing more debilitating than discouragement! So many of God’s people struggle with it and as a result, churches are stunted in proper spiritual growth.
Let’s discover some of the causes, and the responses to discouragement:
Discouragement defined: To lack courage. This is what David felt in his heart when the Philistine armies ran off with his men’s families, and possessions. His own army was about to stone him, when it says that David “encouraged himself in the Lord’!
Top be able to do this requires a mature faith many do not possess! Many of God’s people do not have the capacity to encourage themselves in the Lord! They often need someone to encourage them!
I. CONDITIONS FOR DISCOURAGEMENT:
A. Recent victories:
1. Elijah had just won the spiritual battle over the priests of Baal - AND he made the rain return to the land after a space of 3 years of drought.
a. Think about it – every great spiritual victory comes after a great battle – Nothing great comes without sacrifice!
b. After the great victory – there is a lull.
Example – After a full and busy day of activity healing people, raising the dead, rebuking demons, and patiently teaching the disciples things they didn’t understand – Jesus went apart to pray. Sometimes the disciples couldn’t find Jesus because He was secluded.
c. Ministers endure this same thing – The church hears, “Friday’s here, but Sunday’s coming! The minister knows after Sunday comes Monday!
2. Elijah was under nourished – and needed rest:
1. He needed food and rest – We canto deny the physical – YET!
Summary: Elijah is discouraged because he is still enduring opposition – He is still fighting the battle. It is almost as if he expected the results from the previous victories to actually change the heart of Jezebel! So he find a tree and says, “I’ve had it!”
II. THE RESPONSE TO DISCOURAGEMENT:
A. Common response – find a way to cover the pain – we usually want something of an emotional experience or a spiritual experience to make us feel that everything is going to be alright!
1. There are many so called preachers that are motivated by greed to take your money, give you their undivided attention, and pray with you so you can feel something you haven’t felt for a long time.