“Defeat, Depression and Discouragement”
October 30, 2016
1 Kings 19:1-9
“Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.”
I find this experience of Elijah’s tremendously interesting. The man had just called fire down from heaven. He had prayed and it didn’t rain for three years. He ran faster than the king’s chariots. God was obviously with him. God answered his prayers. God gave him supernatural power. All those enemies who were in opposition to him were killed by the brook. We would say he was blessed; he was powerful; he was successful. He had influence. He had power. He had the respect and fear of the king. And yet, after his greatest victory, he was discouraged, depressed and defeated. If this great prophet experienced such negativity in his life – don’t you think we might experience a little of the same? Maybe we can learn something to help us from his experience.
There are a number of things we can learn from this incident. One thing I get is this: Yesterday’s victories are not enough for today’s battles. Today’s troubles have to be fought and solved today. I am going to give you six things you can do to win your battles today but first let me remind you that, like Elijah, you are physical. Were Elijah’s problems caused by a lack of spirituality? No. Was his anxiety and fear caused by realty? No. He was famished, exhausted and burnt out. His need was food, rest and encouragement. Like you and me, he sometimes pushed himself beyond his physical limits. The result was irrational fear, negativity, doubt and defeat. It was burn out. It was so bad he was ready to give up. It was so bad he just wanted to die. Ever been there? Sometimes your panic attacks and depression are not based on logic or intellect. It is emotional. It is psychological. But it very real to us. Our mind may be saying one thing but our emotions are screaming in fear. The fear may be illogical but the fear is very real.