Formations Lesson for Sept- 19- Trusting God-s Voice
September 8 2010 by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham

Focal Passage: 1 Kings 19:1-17

One of the young ministers I have mentored once said, “After I preach I get depressed.”

“Why?” I asked.

He added, “I don’t know. Even if I believe I’ve done a good job and the people are complimentary, I still feel that way. Is that the way it is for you each Sunday?”

This young minister had experienced what is common, not only in ministerial life, but in any kind of life dedicated to excellence. It is an experience Elijah had on the backside of his mountaintop victory at Carmel. Following his major victory over the gods of Baal and Asherah, Elijah is running low on spiritual energy and  is confronted by Queen Jezebel, the major antagonist of his ministry. He collapses into a state of depression and confesses suicidal thoughts.

What happened?

1. Physical Exhaustion. Elijah had run from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel, a 100-mile-trek (18:46), then from Jezreel to Beersheba, and then another day in the desert (19:3-4). It is not uncommon for depression to follow extraordinary bursts of exertion. Post-partum syndrome is the classic example of extended labor followed by depression.

2. Endless Spiritual Struggles. Most of us are capable of fighting one-time battles. It’s when we discover the battles are endless that depression sets in. Elijah understandably concluded the battle was over once he had settled scores with regional false prophets. Nevertheless, Jezebel got word to him that she was going to do to him what he did to her prophets (19:2). The battle wasn’t over.   

3. Feelings of Loneliness.
Sometimes we feel as if we are the only ones who are faithful, the only ones holding on to Christian morality, the only ones willing to serve on the difficult committees of church life. We may feel like we’re the only one in the marriage willing to forgive and start again.

Even after the Lord appeared to him, Elijah wanted to quit, saying, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (19:10, 14). The fact was, there were at least 7,000 others “whose knees have not bowed down to Baal” (19:18).            

How did God minister to Elijah in the face of his depression?

An angel of the Lord came and provided food and water for Elijah, followed by a good nap (19:5-8).  

Second, God provided spiritual nourishment by leading Elijah back to Mt. Horeb (Sinai), the holiest place in Israel’s history where he heard God’s voice again (19:8).

Finally, he gave Elijah opportunities to serve, having him anoint two kings and a prophet (19:15). 

Listen for the voice of God in these places when you are facing depression.  
9/8/2010 5:38:00 AM by Don Gordon, senior pastor, Yates Baptist Church, Durham | with 0 comments

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.