Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Elijah a man of depression and victory


Key verse - James 5:17

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.(NASB).




Elijah suffered from depression, yet he was held in high esteem by the LORD God. The above Scripture in James 5:17 makes it clear that Elijah was able to move the hand of Jehovah by prayer alone (I Kings 18:36-38).  He is commended for fervent, effectual prayer.  In other words, his prayers acquired results.  It rained after a drought of three and one half years.

Elijah’s Faith

The key to Elijah’s power was not  found in his human nature.  It was faith in the LORD God of Israel.  James tells us that Elijah was just like you and me. Elijah’s make up and his personality were just like any other human being.

Have you ever felt like God has a bad list and you’re on it?
James is a person who gets right to the point.  He does not want his suffering hearers to think that they are on God’s bad list.  He does not want them to think that Elijah's mercurial temperament put him on the super hero list of Old Testament prophets.  No way!  He is a man like they are.  He has the same emotional experiences as any man or woman that has ever been on the face of the earth.

God’s prophet -- running from a queen!
 James’ readers knew the Old Testament. They were familiar with the story that did not hide any of Elijah’s weaknesses.  James’ readers recognized that Elijah had been depressed enough to ask the LORD that he would die.  They were familiar with the Old Testament narrative when Elijah ran from Jezebel out of fear for his own life.  The man who had conquered and killed Baal’s prophets was now terrified of a queen. 

 God’s Prophet was teachable

However, they would also know that Elijah was a teachable prophet.  He was a man of God, warts and all. God had taught Elijah that the LORD often chooses not to reveal Himself through dramatic revivals; and that Elijah should not despise the day of small things.  James’ readers knew that God had led him to Sinai, the Mount of God, to show Elijah that the LORD, the mighty God of Israel was not in the fire, or the earthquake or the wind but revealed Himself to Elijah by a still small voice.

God will rescue you!

You may be in a deep pit of depression; you may be out of touch with reality. 
Nevertheless, God knows where you are and knows how to rescue you.  He may prolong the trial but His Omniscient timing is always right (See Ecclesiastes 3:11). 
Sometimes the symptoms of mental illness will render you from actually praying or perhaps you can only pray short desperation prayers.  T

The Holy Spirit intercedes for us.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8: 26, 27:
You should think about how the once depressed Elijah had the honor of being one of the two men who God actually snatched from the wicked earth without dying and took to heaven.
The Sentence of Death

I have often experienced what the apostle called, "the sentence of death."  He talks
about it in  2 Corinthians 1:8-11:
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively , beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of lifeindeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the deadwho delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.  

Paul was at the end of his rope.  The Corinthians Scripture can be translated, we were on death row.   If God did not intervene Elijah would die. He despaired of life.  He saw no way out of his extremely stressful predicament.  He was shut up to being delivered from his heavy burden by his God and no one else.
It is like the hymn writer Don Moen wrote.

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength
For each new day
He will make a way
He will make a way
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