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). Continue reading