Dr. Jimmy Knott talks about being a scared hero. Who hasn’t been discouraged to point of depression? All of us have been under a “broom tree”. Even Christians, like Moses, Job, Jonah, & Paul felt that dark cloud of depression cover. Now Elijah, the man of God. How could it be? After all the lessons. . . He forgot! Maybe boot camp and advanced training do not prepare us for everything. The fact that this occurs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of fellowship with God. Being in the valley is usually not a sin, but a symptom of something
A DEPRESSED SERVANT
- Contrast – Ch. 18 on the mountain victorious over King Ahab, Baal’s prophets, and God’s people – even outrunning Ahab’s chariot. Bold, confident, & faithful. Now, Ch. 19 in the valley defeated by the threat of one woman, running for his life, vacillating between running from threatened death to asking to die. Afraid, disillusioned, discouraged & depressed.
- Pattern – We are often most vulnerable after victory. Often our greatest trials follow our greatest blessings. Pattern: fearful, impatient, disobey.
- Why the change? How can a man of faith become a man of fear so fast? V. 4c “I have had enough, Lord…take my life.” James tells us Elijah has a nature just like us (5:17).
- Wiped-out physically –
- Stressed-out emotionally –
- Emptied-out spiritually –
- Dried-out relationally –
A FAITHFUL GOD
- “How does God respond during such times?” He did not lecture him, rebuke him, tell him to get busy, load him with guilt, shame his emotions, harshly criticize, nor abandon him – Rather he finds and delivers him. See Psa. 139:7-10; Jer. 23:24-25; Pro. 15:3.
- GOD’S COUNSEL & CURE:
- Refresh physically (vv. 5b-9a) – For good reason Elijah was physically wiped-out. God saw that he got plenty of rest, sleep, and food.
- Release emotionally (vv. 9b-14) – God knew Elijah was emotionally spent and stressed out. God simply and gently asked Elijah a question that opened the lines of communication. Patiently, he allowed twice for Elijah to vent his frustrations. Whenever we are physically and emotionally burned out, our minds can plan dirty tricks on us with reality. Talk it out.
- Refocus vertically (vv. 11-18) – Next, God helps Elijah think clearly and realistically. Elijah had momentarily failed to pray, stopped listening to God and started looking at his circumstances. Could not the same God who had delivered him from 850 false prophets protect him from one woman? He lost his vertical perspective and he needed to refocus. He forgot his first lesson: God is real and alive. “How did God help him refocus?”
* Requested communion (v. 11). Get back in my presence.
* Spoke to his servant (vv. 11b-13) – Dialogued (vv. 9-18).
* Gave him an assignment (vv. 15-17) God still had a plan.
* Reminded him he was not alone and was not indispensable (v. 18).
* God gave him a friend (v. 16).
- Reconnect horizontally – God gave him a close friend (vv. 19-21). Elijah kept his servant until Beersheba, then he went on alone (v. 3). Often, a despairing person wants to escape relationships and be alone. When isolated from the strength of friendships, we are very vulnerable. This story ends happily with these two men shouldering together. Elijah was again ready having found needed rest, communed with God, and a close friend for the final days of his journey.
- Blessings make us vulnerable.
- Take care of the temple (1 Cor. 3:16).
- Focus on Him over the circumstances.
- God loves us and relentlessly pursues us.
CONC— God found and delivered his fleeing and despairing prophet. We may not identify with Elijah calling down the fire of God on Mt. Carmel, but we can fully identify with him in the valley of despair. Does God find you in the desert under a broom tree, ready to quit? He knows, understands, and cares. He offers this wise counsel: refresh physically, release emotionally, refocus spiritually, and reconnect horizontally.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-15 several times this week.
- Share a time when you had a “high” that was followed by a low?
- How easy is it for you to give in to the beast of self-pity?
Which of the four “cures” is weakest for you?
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Thanks for listening. Pastor Jimmy.