Summary: Dr. Tim LaHaye says of over 200,000 people, that have been to his meetings, everyone has admitted at some time they have been depressed. I know in my life it is the most helpless feeling I have ever known.
Let me share some known facts about depression with you.
1. For many years’ depression has been the nations #1 emotional illness.
2. Between 50,000 and 70,000 people commit suicide each year, and most are depressed.
3. The National Institute of Mental Health says, “125,000 Americans are hospitalized each year with depression.”
a. More than 200,000 are treated by Psychiatrists.
b. Estimates say, from 4 – 8 million cases of depression go untreated each year.
4. Newsweek Magazine was quoted, “There is no doubt that depression is the leading mental illness in the U.S.”
5. No one is immune to depression, not even Christians.
6. For the message tonight, I want us to look at three of God’s greatest men found in the Old Testament. Each of them suffered from a bout with discouragement and depression.
7. What is depression? Feelings of despair, sadness, grief, hopelessness. Have you ever been there? Perhaps you are there now?
I. Victims of Depression
1. They were great men of God. All active and doing something for God, faithful doing what God called them to do.
a. Depression is not the result of disobedience.
b. Depression is not the result of chastisement.
2. Each one’s struggle was different.
a. Moses had an inferiority complex.
b. Elijah had a martyr’s complex.
c. Jonah had a superiority complex.
3. In looking at each of these men, all three suffered in the same area; Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual.
1. Numbers 11:10-15; perhaps the greatest leader of men that has ever lived, led 3 million Jews in the wilderness for 40 years.
2. Moses was discouraged and wanted to die. Vs. 10, 15
3. Physically, He was exhausted and overworked, because he had not learned to delegate his workload. He tried to handle it all by himself.
a. This is also seen in the advice given to Moses by his father in law.
4. Emotionally, Moses had an inferiority complex.
a. He held a low view of his self-worth.
b. He took the situation with the people as one of personal failure.
c. He was taking the griping and complaining personally, but all the time it was against God. He was just doing what God had called him to do.
5. Spiritually, vs. 11, He felt distant from God.
a. He felt, feelings get us into trouble.
b. He never let an experience, or feelings, overrule or override what he knew the truth of God’s word to be.
6. Notice how God handled him, vs. 16-25
a. God spread his workload.
b. Slowed him down, he was to find seventy men to do the work he alone was trying to do.
1. 1 Kings 19:1-14 (perhaps one of the best examples of standing alone we have in the bible)
2. Physically, vs. 3, in fear for his life, Elijah had just run approximately 30 miles. He had just been fighting with the prophets of Baal.
3. Emotionally, vs. 10, Moses struggled with an inferiority complex. Elijah suffered from a martyr’s complex.
a. Notice his words, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, and I alone am left.”
b. He felt alone, no one else serving God but him.
4. Spiritually, vs. 3, His eyes were not on God, but on the enemy, Jezebel, the world.
5. Notice how God handled him.
a. God didn’t rebuke Elijah, he fed his servant and put him to sleep.
b. Vs. 19-21, God also supplied him with a friend.
1. Jonah 4:1-11
2. Physically, vs. 1-3, He had fought hard against God. He tried to avoid the mission God had given him. Fighting against God is hard work.
3. Emotionally, vs. 2, He was a bitter man. He was angry at God for showing compassion and grace to the people he himself despised. He felt superior to them.
4. Spiritually, He was carnal. He was preaching, but he did not want God to bless. He wanted no results.
5. God brought the facts to his attention and pointed out that he had no reason to let his anger ruin what God had done. Vs. 4-11
V. Let’s Make some General Statements Concerning Depression
1. A prime time for depression is right after a great accomplishment for God.
a. Moses escape from Egypt
b. Elijah and the prophets of Baal
c. Jonah perhaps the greatest preaching results ever recorded
2. 2 Chronicles 31:20-32, Then came the enemies
a. Jesus in Matthew 3-4
b. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
VI. How to be Victorious Over Depression
1. I am not sure we can say depression is a sin. I think it’s best to say depression is a symptom of things that are wrong in your life.
2. Guard against becoming physically drained. Could be caused by sickness. Could be because of over-worked.