Monday, June 9, 2014

Elijah the demoralized, depressed prophet, a champion of God

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This is a modified re-post.
Have you ever been hurting so much that you can hardly move? Elijah came to the end of himself, as he contemplated what he felt were of the frowns of Heaven. He asks the Giver of all life to kill him!

For a closer look

Scripture - We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone, I. Thessalonians 5:14. The word “encourage” para-mutheomai in the above text of Scripture, in the original language (Greek) is a compound word which means to get close to a person in a very friendly manner and offer them consolation and comfort using narratives of Scripture.

The word "fainthearted" in the NASB is the Greek word, oligopsuchos, which literally means “small souled.”  The mentally ill comes under the rubric of oligopsuchos,The minds of mentally ill people are subject to great weakness. They possess a fractured mind and the result is they have very little inner resources to cope with their sorrow and depression. This is reflected in Proverbs 18:14, The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear?--(NASB)

The word encourage, para-mutheomai indicates that comfort for the fainthearted is God’s comfort through the Christian community (Kittel,Gerhard. TDNT (1967) Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans), pp 816-823. It cannot be emphasized enough that support groups for the mentally ill done in the right fashion will help accomplish the strengthening and edifying of the mentally ill and their families.

There are in the church of Jesus Christ, those who feel their job description in regard to the mentally ill  is that of sanctified obstructionists. They won't hear of Christians being depressed, they say  it is against the whole tenor of Scripture for a person to be depressed, and we are told in the Bible to have unceasing joy in the LORD.

My response is, look at Elijah in 1 Kings :17-19, He was extremely disappointed. He was also heart sick. Proverbs 13:12 says, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. The nation Israel had no spiritual revival following the, Jehovah/Baal Encounter.on Mount Carmel.  Ungodly King  Ahab had seen the fire of God come down after Elijah prayed and he did not believe. Jezebel boycotted Mt.Carmel;  She was willfully ignorant of the LORD's power and she swore to Elijah that she would have him dead by the morning. What does he do? He resigns from the ministry to which the LORD had called him and goes on the lamb.

Elijah could have taken solace in Judah, who at that time had a godly king, but he went beyond Judah into the wilderness, defeated, depressed, demoralized and probably dehydrated, It is there the mighty prophet in despair pleads that the LORD would end his life.

As a loving father, the LORD let him sleep and by His angel gave him food and drink. The angel  told him he needed to walk to the mountain of God (Horeb). Why was the LORD, telling Elijah to go to Horeb?  I believe that it was so that His ministry might be refined and revived and restored. He did not throw buckets of water on Elijah. He did not call him a loser and tell him to buck up. He did not strike him in the side and then tell him to gird up his loins, and stop acting like a wimp. . God was gentle towards him and later he would be dealt with by the gentle Holy Spirit, teaching him vital truths about Israel, the prophets and his future.

Keil and Delitzsch summarize the meaning of the the text which explains, God's loving correction of the miserable prophet's  journey:
It was that he might know that the LORD was still the same God who had nourished and sustained His whole nation in the desert with manna from Heaven for forty years. And just as the forty years sojourn in the desert had been to Moses a time for the trial of faith and an exercise in humility and meekness (Numbers 12:3), so was the strength of Elijah's faith to be tried by the forty days wandering in the same desert and to be purified from all carnal zeal for the further fulfillment of his calling, in accordance with the divine will, Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 3 I Kings. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing House, reprinted, 1983, page 255.

We are now studying Elijah in our CAMI support group.  We meet every Thursday night at Boca Glades Baptist Church from 7:00 p.m to 8:25 p.m. Deserts and coffee are provided. For directions, please go to this link:
Our group is informative and caring. You will feel right at home.
Steve Bloem

If you would like to read about Elijah in our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, please to