1 KINGS 19:1-5 – Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came 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 asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”
THEME OF THE DAY. OUT OF THE SPIRITUAL BLUES. A classic text in the Bible dealing with spiritual discouragement or spiritual depression is that of Elijah found in today’s scripture. A little background is important to fully grasp the spiritual and emotional conditions of God’s servant. In 1 Kings 17 and 18, Elijah is “God’s man of the hour.” He predicts a drought, performs miracles for a widow and her son, and then defends God’s honor by defeating 450 Baal prophets. He expended a lot of energy, enraged the wicked Jezebel and finds himself spent – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Even to the point of saying, “Lord, I am done. Please take my life.” If ever a person suffered from deep spiritual depression or being stuck in the “spiritual blues”, it was Elijah. However, every Christian will face this temptation and challenge. Some to a greater degree than others, but every child of God will be tested in this area. And since that is true, what may we do to help make those wilderness experiences short and profitable in our walks with the Lord? Let’s consider what God did with Elijah to find that answer.
Continuing in 1 KINGS 19, the Lord addressed His depressed servant, who had retreated from the world and hid in a cave, with a question repeated twice, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9, 13). Then He gave him instructions, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria” (1 Kings 19:15). How did the Lord deal with Elijah? He basically says, “Why are you so focused on yourself? Why the self-pity? Get up and get going. Get back into service and that toward others and Me.” Now before we continue, I am not dismissing medical reasons for depression. However, I know from personal experience and dealing with those who are depressed, we easily fall into the “spiritual blues” because we take our eyes off Jesus and others and focus on ourselves. Elijah did. And when we do that, the underlying principle of the Christian life – self-denial – is absent and when that is absent, there will be discouragement and depression. Why? Disobedience. I know that may be hard and simple, but it is true and simple. When disobedience of any kind is tolerated, there is no joy, no peace, and plenty of discouragement, even depression.
So, how did Elijah get out of the spiritual blues? He quit the self-pity party, got up, and went back into service for the Lord and others. And that will work for us too. The God of Elijah is our God. He treats us like He treated him. Trust Him, obey Him when the spiritual blues come and those dark clouds will be cleared away as we focus away from ourselves and on to the Lord Jesus and needs of others.
PRAYER: “Father, help me not to get so focused on myself that I lose sight of You and others.”
QUOTE: “One of the quickest ways to get out of the cave of self-pity and selfishness is go serve others.”