Elijah had just witnessed one of the most incredible and dramatic moves of God. But now, he had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. He was so discouraged that he asked God to kill him. Instead of doing so, God gave him what we really needed. Could understanding what that was help you when you’re depressed and ready to give up?
1 Kings 19 & 20
Exhaustion, Disappointment & Discouragement
1 Kings 19 & 20:
God’s Provision for Elijah
I always find it amazing that after defeating the prophets of Baal and seeing God do such a mighty work, Elijah would respond the way he did to Jezebel’s threat (chap. 19). But it’s a good reminder to us that when we get exhausted, physically and/or spiritually, things often seem much worse than they are, because we can easily get our eyes off God and on to our own strength or the lack of it.
As John MacArthur pointed out in his Daily Bible, he probably expected Ahab and Jezebel to repent after that great display of God’s power and when they didn’t, he became discouraged.
Elijah’s disappointment over their lack of repentance and his own physical and spiritual exhaustion led to discouragement and depression (in verse 19.3 he asked God to take his life). Instead God gave him what he, actually, needed.
First, food and rest:
5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the LORD came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.
Elijah had decided he was the only one left serving God, that those in charge were going to kill him, and that God wasn’t really working at all. That seems amazing from our perspective, but that’s the nature of discouragement and depression. It warps our sense of reality.
So, second, he needed God’s perspective on the situation. After announcing His presence with a mighty wind, an earthquake, and fire, God spoke to him and revealed His plan and instructions (19.15-17).
Then He addressed Elijah’s self pity and false belief that he was the only one left of God’s people:
Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him (v. 19.18).
The Goodness of God
The other thing that’s amazing is how God continued to give Ahab and Jezebel opportunities to see His power and goodness, and to repent and turn from their idolatry! In chapter 20 He gave them two great victories over Syria and each time He said, “… and you shall know that I am the Lord” (vss. 20.13, 28).
Romans 2.4-5 says, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.“
God responds to us in His goodness over and over before He sends His wrath, but He does, eventually, judge sin and unrighteousness. Sadly, that would be the case for Ahab and Jezebel.
God responds to us in His goodness over and over before He sends His wrath, but He does eventually judge sin and unrighteousness.
Today’s Other Readings:
This passage is a beautiful prayer of deliverance from one’s enemies.
Why We Need Other Believers and a Constant Intake of God’s Truth
Verse 1, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”
Just like Elijah, when we’re isolated, we can get off into self-pity and caught up in our own selfish or distorted perspective. We need other believers to encourage and, at times, reprove us. And just as he did, we need God’s Word to remind us of His plan, purposes, and truth.
Often when we stay away from mature believers who care about us, it’s because we know what we’re doing is wrong and we just don’t want to hear what they have to say!
Verse 3 is one of Jesus’ promises referring to the Rapture of the church:
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (v. 6).
When unbelievers accuse us of intolerance or narrow-mindedness in thinking Jesus is the only Way, we need to remember that Jesus is the One who said it! As followers of Christ we cannot buy into the idea that many roads lead to Christ or let the accusation silence us. While we are not to be self-righteous or mean-spirited about it, if we truly love the lost, we must patiently and consistently stand for the truth in spite of any persecution or accusation.
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