Summary: Elijah found himself discouraged and lying under a juniper tree begging God to let him die. God renewed his hope and faith. Let’s look to see what happened.
Don’t stay under the Juniper Tree
Text: I Kings 19:1-8
This passage breaks into a series of amazing events in the life of Elijah. A few years earlier Ahab had become the king of Israel. He turned out to be the most wicked king in the history of Israel. Along with his wicked wife Jezebel, Ahab began promoting idol worship. Under God’s direction, Elijah told Ahab that there would be no rain upon the land except at the word of Elijah. God held back the rain for 3 years. A great famine broke out all across the land.
Just recently, Elijah had a showdown on Mt. Carmel against 450 prophets of Baal. God had sent down fire from heaven and consumed Elijah’s sacrifice.
Elijah then killed the 450 prophets of Baal. Then Elijah prayed to God for the rain to return to the land. As he began to see the rain cloud coming from a distance, he warned Ahab to hurry home before the rain stopped him. God gave Elijah strength and running on foot he outran Ahab’s horse and chariot.
It is here after all these victories that we find Elijah here in 1 Kings chapter 19. Ahab told Jezebel about the killing of 450 of her prophets of Baal. She vows to kill Elijah by morning.
Here we find Elijah entering into a period of deep depression. After all these wonderful victories God has given him, now at the threat of losing his life he runs away to hide. He finds himself resting under a juniper tree. He prays to God and asks God to take his life.
What are some things that can cause discouragement in God’s people?
1. Hardness of the way.
2. Difficulty of the task.
3. Prosperity of the wicked.
4. Delay in fulfillment of desires.
What are some factors that can magnify the effects of discouragement?
1. Physical Exhaustion
3. Sleep deprivation
There are times when God’s children find themselves under the juniper tree. If you ever find yourself there you will have plenty of company.
Numbers 11:11 And Moses said unto the LORD, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me?
12 Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers?
13 Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat.
14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.
15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
Joshua 7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Ps 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
How can we crawl out from under the juniper tree?
1. Get your needed rest.
2. Get your needed nourishment.
3. Take time for God.
Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
After Elijah got his rest and nourishment, God took him up on a mountain where he showed him a strong wind that tore through the mountains and smashed the rocks before his very eyes. Then God showed him an earthquake. Next God showed him a great fire. The voice of God was not found in any of these great manifestations of nature. God then spoke to him with a still, small voice.
“Getting out of spiritual depression…is about following and obeying the little voice of God as He speaks to you.
Did you notice what God did right after this?
He gave Elijah a new vision of what he was doing. . .
he gave him a new mission to complete. . .
he gave him a new look at the big picture. . .
He gave him a new assistant. . .