Today I found myself studying 1 Kings 19:1-21 about Elijah, the prophet for Israel. I never realized just how much we can learn from him until today. I find myself being able to relate to the same feelings he had centuries ago. Elijah may have been a great man of God, but at the end of the day he was still human, which caused him to feel depression, discouragement, and loneliness.
Here recently, I have been getting hit with waves of depression. These waves come out of nowhere and when they hit, they really get me down. I’ve always been a really strong person, but I have days where I just feel like giving up. There are days that I feel like no one really likes me except for my mom, sister, and husband. It is on those days that I feel the most depressed and lonely.
As I was reading 1 Kings chapter 19 today, I realized that the great prophet, Elijah had those same feelings from time to time. Elijah, a man who had one of the closest relationships with God that we will ever read about. I mean, just let that sink in for a moment. Elijah experienced extremely low times within his life and they usually came after great victories.
Isn’t that just like the devil to throw some shade on a godly person right after a victory? Yep, it sure is. The devil wants to steal our victory and our joy. The devil can steal our victory and our joy, but only if we give it to him.
In 1 Kings chapter 19, we find Elijah fleeing for his life after the death of Jezebel’s prophets. You see, Jezebel was a wicked, evil woman who sought after power. She was a woman who didn’t care about anyone else but herself. I’m sure we can all think of someone we know that is just like that today. Maybe we have even encountered a lady on post or out in public with a mean, nasty spirit about them.
1 Kings 19:1-3 says, “And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.” “Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, If I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” “And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.”
In these scriptures, we see that Jezebel was out to get Elijah and after the victories that Elijah had experienced, he felt weak and discouraged. So, like any human being, Elijah ran away from his problems and wanted to throw in the towel. We find later on in this chapter that God had another plan for Elijah. This plan required strength and courage that can only come from God. Not only did it require courage and strength, but it required Elijah listening and obeying the command from God.
Action is always required to achieve the Lord’s plan for your life.
1 Kings 19:4 says, “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”
How many times do we catch ourselves saying, “It is enough” when things don’t go our way? How many times do we feel like giving up when life gets hard or our emotions get the best of us? I can’t answer for you all, but I can honestly say I have thrown my hands up way more often than I ever should. Instead of feeling like giving up, we should be throwing our hands up to praise our God for the trials we face. We should run to God, instead of running away from Him.
Elijah was to the point that he didn’t want to live anymore. He was a man who couldn’t see the victory right in front of him at the time being. Instead of focusing on the victories and what all God had already done for him, he was focusing on the battles he was having to face. We too, do the same thing when we receive the victory from a battle we have been facing. We tend to focus on the negatives more than we do the positives. We tend to focus on everything going on around us, instead of focusing on God.
God is in the stillness of the chaos, but we have to be willing to listen for His voice to hear what He has to say.
1 Kings 19:5-8 says, “And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” “And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a curse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.” “And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” “And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.”
God met Elijah where he was and cared for him. God fed Elijah and also had him rest to restore his strength and his mind. You see, God knows exactly what we are in need of and will supply that need at the right time. Elijah may have been feeling like he had no purpose to fulfill in his life at that moment, but God still had a purpose for him and it wasn’t over yet. Just because we face hardships or discouragements doesn’t mean that God has abandoned us and left us to hang on our own. Sometimes it takes going through the battle face first to realize God’s purpose for our lives.
When we run away from our battles, we are saying that God isn’t big enough to handle the problem. When we run, we turn our backs on our trust in God.
1 Kings 19:9-12 says, “And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” “And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks 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:” “and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
These scriptures remind us that even when we are feeling alone, like nobody else gets us and our beliefs, we truly aren’t. They tell us that there are others out there who believe the same way as we do and that we don’t have to be alone. Sometimes, just like Elijah, we choose to be alone, isolating ourselves from people out of fear of being done wrong or rejected. But, we cannot live our life that way or else we will be alone and miserable. God never intended for us to live a life of isolation. God intended for us to get out among the people of the world, telling them about the goodness of Him.
We cannot look for God in only the big things going on in our lives. When we look for God only in church functions and only look to experience Him for a time being, we fail to miss Him because God is often found in the quietness of our hearts.
When we take a step back from our lives and we turn off the sounds around us, we will find God and hear Him speaking to us. It takes us going to God and waiting patiently for Him to speak to us to know what His plans are for our lives. It takes running to God full force to discover our purpose in this life. We will not find our purpose in this life while we sulk around, pitying ourselves for the way our life is going.
Even though I experience moments of depression and loneliness, I know that I can combat those feelings with the truths of God’s word, but I have to be willing to go to the word to discover those truths. When we get to feeling down about ourselves or our lives, we must run to the One who can give us the strength to overcome those feelings. Just like Elijah finally did, we must be willing to listen for God’s voice. Not only must we be willing to listen for God’s voice, we must be ready to take action once God calls us to our purpose.
Without action on our part, we will never fulfill God’s plan for us.