“Elijah came to a broom tree. sat down under it and prayed that he might die. I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am not better than my ancestors.· ” 1 Kings 19:4
Is this really possible – a spiritual giant who had problems with frustration. self-pity, discouragement and despair? Elijah was so discouraged that he prayed that he might die! This awesome prophet had reached the end of his rope and wanted to let go! Why did the Holy Spirit record this for us? Certainly there is something to be learned (Romans 15:4)! Discouragement, self-pity and frustration are common to God’s people, especially among those who are valiant and zealous for the cause of God’s kingdom. Often we deny these feelings rather than deal with them. The only way to gain the upper hand in these dilemmas is to deal with them early in the ways that God has prescribed. God gives many principles for coping with these emotions. Let’s examine three ways found in 1 Kings 19 and learn from the prophet Elijah as God and His angel interact with him. These will help you when you struggle with negative attitude!
Physically (verse 5-9). The angel of God appeared to Elijah at the broom tree and provided him with food, water and allowed him to rest. In the moments of greatest victory, many leaders in God’s Kingdom have experienced frustration, discouragement and loneliness. I am convinced this was closely related to extreme fatigue and improper diet. I know that God empowers us to do His will, but He has also established natural laws to which we are all subject. None of us can consistently function without proper rest and diet. This will vary with the individual, but caffeine does not substitute for rest and God does not transform dunk in donuts into “all natural health food”despite all prayers. The physical body is closely linked with our emotional outlook.
Spiritually (verses 10-15). God had an interesting confrontation with Elijah. Beyond the storm and earthquake came the quiet whisper of God which strengthened Elijah to “go back the way he came.” Often during times of stress, fear or panic, we rely on our own strength and take circumstances into our own hands. At that very moment, we must cease all human activity and “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46: 10). We must seek that intimate reliance upon God through His word and prayer to find the strength we need.
Emotionally (verses 19-21). A significant event in Elijah’s life came when he appointed Elisha as his successor. Elisha became his closest friend and companion. To help us in overcoming discouragement, frustration and self-pity, God provides a close relationship with a dear friend. The presence of a companion in our toughest times is a help beyond description. Isn’t it interesting that we have no record of Elijah reaching this crisis stage again? How about you? Some of Satan’s greatest tools against the child of God are discouragement, frustration, and self-pity. Let us not be unaware of his schemes so that we may be more fruitful and productive in taking the gospel to all the world.
Categories: Sermon Ideas