THE STORY OF KINGS AND PROPHETS #4: GOD’S MESSENGERS: OVERCOMING DEPRESSION
(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)
INTRO TO TOPIC: Discuss the role of God’s Messengers (Prophets) during this time period.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again.” (James 5:16b-18, NLT).
- The Bible tells us two things here about Elijah. First of all, he was man who prayed powerful prayers. But secondly, he was as human as we are. That’s encouraging!
- I like the fact that the heroes of the Bible had weaknesses and flaws that we can relate to.
- As powerful and mighty a man of God that Elijah was, he struggled with discouragement.
- The world’s answer to depression is medication. God had another answer for Elijah.
BACKGROUND TO THE STORY OF ELIJAH:
- 1 Kings 17:1 – Elijah told the wicked King Ahab that there would be no rain.
- – this drought was God’s judgment on him for leading the nation into immorality
- v.2-6 – the Lord provided for Elijah with food from ravens and water from a brook.
- v.7-24 – the Lord had a widow provide for Elijah, and he raised her son from the dead.
- 18:16-20 – Elijah had Ahab called the 450 Baal and 400 Asherah prophets to Mount Carmel
- v.21 – Elijah’s bold challenge: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him!”
- 2.22-40 – God sent fire from Heaven on Elijah’s sacrifice, and they slew the false prophets
- – this was a major victory in his life!
“And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:1-4).
- Look at what happened to this mighty man of God, right after his major victory:
- Fear: “Elijah arose and ran for his life.”
- Depression and Discouragement: “Lord, take my life.”
- Loneliness: “He himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.”
- Just because we struggle with these things doesn’t mean we’re doing something wrong.
COMIC STRIP ILLUSTRATION: Calvin & Hobbes “Miller Time!”
- What do you do when you’re discouraged? Many people turn to drugs or alcohol
THE BIG IDEA: The story of Elijah gives us keys to overcoming fear, discouragement, depression and loneliness in our lives.
1. REST AND BE REFRESHED:
“Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 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. 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. So he arose, and ate and drank.” (1 Kings 19:5-8a).
- The first thing the Lord addressed with Elijah is his physical well-being.
- One of the best things we can do when we’re going through a challenging season is to make sure we get enough rest and take care of our physical bodies.
- TESTIMONY: For the past few months, working 70-80 hours a week, overwhelmed and stressed out. When I took a day off, I experienced amazing serenity and refreshing!
- “Jesus said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:31).
- Sometimes our being overwhelmed and stressed out is just because we need a day off.
APPLICATION: HOW TO BE REFRESHED:
- Make sure you maintain a Sabbath – a regular day of rest. I know I need this!
- Get enough sleep and eat properly.
- QUOTE: “Each of us has an internal emotional reservoir. On the topside there’s an input, and on the bottom, a drain. Certain activities will drain you more than fill you, and others will fill you more than drain you. Some tasks will contribute to you and others will take from you. When I speak and teach, it fills my tank. When I counsel, it drains my tank.” (Wayne Cordeiro, Leading on Empty).
- Things that refresh me: Reading, alone time, family time, music, preaching
- Activities that drain me: Excessive counselling, big crowds
2. RECONNECT WITH THE LORD:
“and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:8b-12).
- When Elijah was struggling, the Lord called him back to the secret place with God.
- When you’re going through a challenging season, draw near to Jesus.
- This is one of the best things you can do when you’re having a bad day!
Practically speaking, HOW do we reconnect with the Lord?
a. SPEND TIME WITH JESUS IN PRAYER.
- “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
b. READ THE BIBLE.
- “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11).
c. CONFESS YOUR SINS.
- “Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (Psalm 32:1-2, NLT).
“So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him… Then he arose and followed Elijah…” (1 Kings 19:19,21b, NKJV).
- Everybody needs a buddy. There’s a joy in fellowship with other believers.
- Relationships are God’s answer to those who are going through a challenging season.
- God said: “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18, NKJV).
- “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NKJV).
- That’s why God has given us the church – to be a family to support one another!
- “I was glad when they said, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Ps. 122:1).
APPLICATION: HOW DO WE FOCUS ON RELATIONSHIPS?
- Make relationship time a priority in your life.
- Get involved in small groups in the church where you can pray, care and share.
CLOSING: Do you struggle with discouragement, depression or loneliness?
- God’s Word gives us three keys to defeating those things:
- Rest and be Refreshed, Reconnect with the Lord, and Focus on Relationships.
PRAYER: For those who are afraid, discouraged, depressed or lonely.