Elijah–Ordinary to Extraordinary ~ Message 5 “Losing Perspective” 1 Kings 18:41-46; 19:1-18

Click on audio player to download mp3 or to change listening speed

Ordinary to Extraordinary – Elijah

5 – Losing Perspective

1 Kings 18:41-19:18

Bruce A. Hess

If you would, please take out the word of God and turn in it, in the Old Testament, to the book of 1 Kings and chapter number 18. If you don’t happen to have a Bible with you there should be one under a chair in front of you and you could take that Bible and turn to page 266 and you would be located at 1 Kings 18.

One of the evidences that the Bible is more than a human book is how it portrays our spiritual heroes. They are portrayed as real people. We see them in their weaknesses, we see them with some of the poor choices that they make. We even see them lose spiritual focus in their life. We see our spiritual heroes experience defeat and difficulties, and in some situations, falling into discouragement and despondency and even depression.

Think about it, I mean, think about Noah, who by faith prepared the ark, which led to the salvation of his household and becoming an heir of righteousness. Yet, afterwards, he gets drunk after the flood and is exposed to his sons.

Think of Abraham, the one who believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. The one who by faith, God said, ‘You need to travel from this land.’ He went to a place he didn’t even know where he was going. But, he believed God. Yet, we know two times when he was asked if Sarah was his wife, he lied about it, denying it to save his own hide.

Or, how about David, who slew the giant, Goliath, who God Himself, said, “He is a man after my heart.” Yet, we know that he falls into adultery with Bathsheba and then issues a contract so that Uriah, her husband, might be eliminated from the scene.

How about Moses, God’s great instrument, parting the Red Sea, so the nation could go through on dry ground. The one, who we learn on Mount Sinai, spoke face-to-face with God. Yet, you have Moses, who at one point in his life murders an Egyptian in anger and in another time in open defiance before the Lord he strikes a rock in anger.

Then, we have Elijah. Oh, Elijah, that bold prophet who confronts King Ahab of Israel about their worship of Baal. Then, goes face-to-face with 450 prophets of Baal. What a great hero he is. Yet immediately afterwards, what do we see of him? We see him fleeing in fear. We see him being overcome in defeat and discouragement; he is despondent and even depressed.

This interesting turn of events, from one to the next, reminds me of a program that used to be on in our country, from 1961-1998. It was called, ‘ABC’s Wide World of Sports.’ Anyone ever see that program? Yeah. You remember the little theme of it? “The thrill of victory,” then what came next? “The agony of defeat.” That is exactly what we see in Elijah’s life, the thrill of victory and then the agony of defeat. He goes from a spiritual zenith to the spiritual pit.

I have to tell you, I so love the word of God, because it tells us that God understands that we are dust. He knows we are really nothing more than dust. Yet, He cares for us and He desires to use people like us. I’ll never get over that principle and that truth.

We are involved in a series of messages we’ve entitled, ‘Ordinary to Extraordinary.’ This is part number five, out of seven. The title of the message today is, ‘Losing Perspective.’

Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you lost perspective? When was the last time maybe you went from a spiritual high and then you found yourself falling into a spiritual valley? When was the last time you experienced defeat and discouragement when you said, ‘You know what? I’m really just a spiritual screw-up. I knew better and look at what I’ve done.’ Maybe even in that discouragement and defeat there is some despondency that came in your life, and maybe even potentially, some depression. Well, whenever the last time was there is help for us here. There is perspective for us all.

If you’ve been with us in our study, you will know that early on the story of Elijah moves rather slowly. Now, we are coming to a part where it moves bang-bang, boom-boom. Last time we were together there was a face-off up on Mount Carmel with the 450 prophets of Baal and, you know, God blasts down that fire and the people of Israel began to shout, “The LORD is God. Yahweh is Elohim. Yahweh is Elohim. Yahweh is Elohim.”

Then, in chapter 18, verse 40, we have the Prophets Slain and then in verse 41, we have prayer for rain. Prophets slain, then Prayer for Rain. Then, Elijah says to King Ahab, ‘You need to go and get something to eat and drink because I think there is some rain coming.’ So, Ahab goes to do that and then Elijah goes up to the top of Mount Carmel and he crouches down on the earth and puts his face between his knees, he begins to pray, ‘God would you send the rain that You promised to send?’

Then, you will notice in verse 43 he says to his servant, as he is praying, “Go and look toward the sea.” Remember, when you are up on Mount Carmel you can see the sea to the west. That is where the storms would come from. The servant comes back and said,’ I’m not seeing anything.’ Then, he says, ‘I want you to go back.’ He keeps praying and this goes on seven times.

Have you noticed how God’s response to prayer varies? When he is facing the 450 prophets of Baal, he only prays one time, ‘God send down the fire.’ Boom, it comes down. God answers immediately. Here, there is not an immediate answer. He goes through praying for it, and praying for it, and praying for it, and praying for it; there is persistence in his prayer. We need to remember that. God doesn’t always answer prayer in exactly the same manner.

What happens? Verse 44, “It came about at the seventh time, that he said, ‘Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.’” Elijah says, ‘I want you to go tell Ahab, “Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.” In other words, ‘You need to beat the storm, there are dirt roads, there is going to be a lot of rain. You are going to have trouble in your chariot.’

In a little while, the sky grew black with clouds,” verse 45, “and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.” Jezreel was where the summer palace was and guess who else was waiting in Jezreel? A wife by the name of Jezebel. Right? So, he takes off for Jezreel and it says in verse 46, “The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.” Elijah is pumped! In his mind, this has been the big spiritual victory—this  is what we were anticipating, there is going to be national revival. ‘I am so excited that King Ahab was here, and he saw it all with his own eyes.’ So, he girds up his loins, which simply means he tucked his robe in. And, he outran Ahab to Jezreel, a twenty-mile run.

Now, literally it says, in the original language, ‘He ran before Ahab.’ Some commentators believe that what he did is, he took the role of a servant runner ahead of the King’s chariot. Often, when you were moving down a mountain or you would be in a stormy situation, there would be a runner, a servant runner, who would go out in front of the chariot, making sure that—he could be running on the road—so the chariot would know exactly where to go. So, some believe that is what he did. He ran before him all the way down to Jezreel. He had adrenaline going and the hand of the Lord was on him.

Now, just freeze frame for a moment. If you didn’t know what was coming next, what would you have expected to come next? If you didn’t really know, you were thinking it might say next, in the next verse, something like, ‘Elijah rejoiced in the Lord, his God. And, King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, repented. And, Elijah began to teach the word of the Lord in Israel and the people of Israel, they tore down all of the altars of Baal and they rebuilt the altars of Yahweh and they began to reinstitute the sacrifices that they had not had for many years in the land of Israel.’ That is what we would have expected to happen and that is exactly what Elijah expected.

So, you have the prophets slain, then you have the prayer for rain, then you have Jezebel Guarantees (19:1-2), in the first two verses of the next chapter. Remember what Jezebel’s assumption had to have been? Four hundred and fifty of her guys against one guy? You know that she knew what was going to happen. ‘My guys are going to win this, hands down.’ Well, Ahab gets back, and he tells Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and she is livid! She is filled with rage. Notice what happens, verse 2, “She sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’” You know what I think the key word is that he heard in that? The word, ‘tomorrow.’ I’ve got less than a day and I am going to be slain just like those 450 prophets.

You say, ‘Why didn’t she immediately send out a group of soldiers and arrest him and kill him?’ Well, sometimes when you do that it can create a special hero in the community. I think part of her thinking is, ‘If I could spook him, then the key one who stands up against Baal will be gone and the people will just crumble.’ Notice his response in verse 3, “And he was afraid.” Some of the manuscripts say, “And he saw,” like he saw the picture clearly.

So, you have the prophets slain, the prayer for rain, Jezebel’s guarantees, and then Elijah Flees, in verses 3 and 4. “He arose,” verse 3, “and ran for his life.” This was a pure, emotional reaction. You notice that there is no prayer, there is no reflection, there is nothing. He just does a Forrest Gump and starts running. He just takes off running. And he runs, it says in verse 3, to Beersheba, seventy more miles. If you look at that map, the top box is up where Mount Carmel is, the middle box is where Beersheba is located. It was the southernmost city of Israel, at the bottom of the Dead Sea.

Notice what happens there in verse 3, he leaves his servant there, his comrade. What was he trying to do? Well, he is doing what many of us do in this kind of situation, he decides, ‘I want to isolate myself.’ It is a very common tendency when we are discouraged, or we’ve experienced failure or despair in our life. We just go and we isolate our self. It is one of the worst choices we could make.

Then, in verse 4, the run continues, he goes another day’s journey into the wilderness. He goes further south. Then, look at the rest of verse 4, he eventually comes and, “He sits down under a juniper tree’ and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

This is something he never saw coming, it was an outcome he didn’t see coming, it was this hard, radical turn. He had an expectation and it was totally different from that. And he is discouraged,  he is in despair and he says, “I’m not better than my fathers.” What is he saying? He is saying, ‘I failed like everybody else. I failed to influence the nation like my predecessors failed to influence the nation. I am nothing but a failure. I’m nothing but a loser. I’m a failure, I’m a loser!’

Where did those thoughts emanate from? You know what the enemy likes to whisper in our ear? ‘Failure! Loser!’ Especially when we are emotionally stressed and physically exhausted. [Bruce whispers] That’s when he likes to come and start whispering in our ear.

That is exactly what he did with Jesus, do you remember that? Remember when he came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness and he did it after Jesus had fasted for forty days. When Jesus was emotionally stressed and physically exhausted, the enemy was there, and he begins to whisper. We need to remember that when we are discouraged and down and exhausted and stressed, that the voice we begin to hear is the voice of the enemy. We need to be alert to that. We need to recognize that.

What he was experiencing here, today we would describe as being depressed. Now, I’m not an expert on depression, but I do know what it is like to go into spiritual shock. I do know what it is like to be down and discouraged. I do know, I do know, what it is like to be a spiritual screw-up, I really do. Those kinds of feelings affect all types of people. It can affect spiritual leaders. It can affect all types of personalities. It doesn’t make any difference what your personality type is. Everybody can be affected by these kinds of things.

I want to read you a quote. You think about who you think might have said it.  Here is the quote:

“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth.”

What type of person do you think would say that? Well, the one who said that was Abraham Lincoln. Maybe the greatest leader our country ever had. See, such feelings affect all types of people.

The preacher of preachers as he is called, Charles Spurgeon, many consider him to be the greatest preacher who ever lived in our culture. He struggled with fits of depression on a regular basis. Here is part of what Spurgeon said, “The strong are not always vigorous. The wise, not always ready. The brave, not always courageous. And, the joyous, not always happy.”

There are multiple causes that can lead us to being down and despairing. Maybe it is stress and trauma in our life. Maybe it is a painful relationship that has occurred and there is a lot of hurt, and that causes us to be down and despairing. Maybe it is just some deep disappointment we are experiencing in life. Maybe some unfulfilled expectation, ‘I thought by now, this would be happening and it’s not.’

Another cause could even by chemical depression, where our body chemistry is off. Multiple things can cause us being down and despairing. There are certain marks that we display when we are like that. There is sadness, there can be hopelessness. There can be a loss of energy. We can be feeling like we are misunderstood and unappreciated. We are unmotivated, ‘I can’t seem to want to do anything.’ We can’t think clearly. Then, as we see here in Elijah’s case, there can be some dark thoughts that come our way.

Now, there are several different things that can influence this. There are psychological factors, physical factors, spiritual factors. All of those things can factor in at different levels…and they can be related. If we’re not doing well physically, sometimes we can have some psychological issues and some spiritual issues. If we are having spiritual problems, it can affect us psychologically and physically.

So, we don’t have all the answers to the concept of somebody being despondent and depressed here. But, we do have one case study in front of us, and that is the case study of Elijah and there are some helpful principles for us here.

I’ve entitled the next section, from verses 5-18, ‘Elijah and the Lord, Spiritual Graduate School,’ because that is where God is going to take him. One thing without any debate we know is absolutely true of Elijah: he is physically and emotionally exhausted. Think about the adrenaline of this big confrontation with the 450, and then you are running the twenty miles to Jezreel.

Then, you do another seventy and then you go further. His adrenaline has been pumping, pumping, pumping. When your adrenaline has been pumping, what eventually happens? You have an adrenaline crash and he is physically and emotionally exhausted. Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said this, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” That is really true.

So, the first thing that he really needs is physical rest and refreshment. Physical rest and refreshment. Notice what happens there in verse 5, “He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.” Verse 7, “The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat.’”

I’m always impressed by what God does not say. Through the angel, He does not say to Elijah, ‘Hey, get up and pray. That’s what you need to do, get up and pray.’ Or, ‘Get up and find someone to proclaim the message to.’ Or, ‘Get up and start serving the Lord. Come on, get up.’ No, He says, “Get up and eat.” Notice the heart of God in all of this: you know, he has been sleeping for a while, getting some rest and refreshment and then there is this hot meal there…that odor of baked goods and the water that is there. It just shows the heart of God and His promise to meet our needs.

A gal by the name of Virginia Brasier has written a poem and it is a poem about life today. The hectic life that we have in our culture today and the way we just keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Here is part of what she said in that poem. She said,

This is the age of the half-read page

The quick bash and the mad dash

The bright night with the nerves tight

The brain strain and the heart pain

And the cat naps, till the spring snaps

Isn’t that a description of the way we tend to live our lives? At times, men and women, what we really need is some rest and refreshment. Sometimes we just need to sleep.

We have four children and I remember when all of our kids were in the home and many of them were very, very little and a lot of times I would come home from work and my wife would be there and she would be apologizing to me. She would say, ‘You know, such and such didn’t get done. I didn’t get that cleaned up today. I’ve been hassling with the kids and everything and trying to get them down for naps and everything else.’ She said, ‘I’m exhausted. I’m just totally exhausted.’

What I would say to her—and you can ask her, she’ll verify this—I would say to her, ‘Janet, what you need to do is, you need to take a nap. When you put them down for a nap, that is when you go down for a nap.’

‘But, how can I do that? Because I’ve got all these other…’

I said, ‘No, you need to take a nap.’

She would begin to do that, and she would say, ‘You know what? I feel refreshed. I feel like I can get some of these things done then.’ Sometimes, we just need some rest and refreshment. We just need some sleep.

Sometimes, we just need some nourishment. When I was in high school I was a strapping male of 145 pounds, six feet tall. I was impressive, so impressive [smile]. There just wasn’t a lot of extra stuff [body weight] to nourish myself with when I wasn’t eating. What I would notice is I would get hungry and when I would get hungry I was just so famished. It began to affect my attitude. I would get so grumpy, so snappy. Still happens, sometimes. What I really need to do then is, I just need to eat well. Sometimes we just need some rest and refreshment, we just need some sleep, or we just need some nourishment.

Isn’t it encouraging that the Lord knows us? He knows all of that. He knows at times we need rest and refreshment. I mean, think about it. Look at the economy that He laid out. You are to work for six days and then on the seventh day, what happens? Some rest. What is He communicating? It is important to have some down time. It is important to have some rest and refreshment.

Jesus taught the same thing to the disciples. In Mark, chapter 6, you might remember there, He begins to send them out in pairs to do ministry. Do you remember that? He sends them out two-by-two to do ministry, so they are doing intense ministry. They are proclaiming the message of the kingdom, they are healing people, they are casting out demons, and they are seeing so many people that many of them were not able to eat at all. And, Jesus, when they all come back, He says to them in chapter 6, verse 31, ‘Here is what I want you to do, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” Sometimes we need rest and refreshment.

Vance Havner, I love the way he worded this. He said, “If we do not come apart and rest awhile, we will simply come apart.” It is so true.

As we told you, we are going to be headed off to Louisville to speak at the FamilyLife Marriage Getaway this next weekend. It is an intense time. We start traveling on Thursday. There is a lot of preparation we have to do beforehand. Then, the speaking is on Friday night, then all Saturday morning and it’s all Saturday afternoon. Set aside Saturday evening for the couples to have a little bit of a date night and then we go again all Sunday morning, all the way until about 12:30 in the afternoon. And, it is a draining time. Your adrenaline is pumping. You are talking to these people, you’re interacting with them after sessions and everything. It can be draining.

We’ve learned that we need to schedule a break, a little bit of time to rest and recharge. That is why, even on this prayer sheet, there is a little section there about prayer post-getaway. Avoiding the post-game blahs. We’ve learned that. There is that crash that can happen, so we need to remember that we need to have some rest.

By the way, more coffee and more energy drinks cannot compensate for our need for rest. We can try to pull that off, but it doesn’t compensate for it. There needs to be some planned rest and recreation and refreshment in our life. By the way, this is vital. I don’t know if you schedule that, but you need to. You need to schedule some planned rest time and some recreation time and some refreshment time. It is vital to living the spiritual life.

Although it may not be the major cause of depression, physical rest and refreshment is a great place to start. I don’t know where I first heard it, I really don’t remember. I don’t know if it was from my parents or from somebody else, but I remember people were saying, ‘When things really look bad, go ahead and get your nights rest, because things will look better in the morning.’ Have you ever heard that one? You know what I learned? I said, ‘That is largely true.’ It doesn’t mean everything goes away by the next morning, but when you have had a night of rest, things just look better than they did the night before.

Well, in verses 8 and 9, he takes off again and it says he traveled to Horeb, which is called THE mountain of God, not A mountain of God, but THE mountain of God. This is where he goes down further, that is that last box you see here. He goes down to the very tip of the Sinai Peninsula. He is in the Arabian Desert. He is actually in the area where Israel wandered in the wilderness. He goes to Mount Horeb, which is another name for Mount Sinai. What happened on Mount Sinai? Moses met face-to-face with the Lord on Mount Sinai. That is what Mount Horeb is, same place.

It appears to me that he is just desperate to meet with God. ‘I’m going to go where God talked face-to-face with Moses.’ What does he do in verse 9? He goes there to a cave and he lodges there. ‘I’m going to find a dark, dingy place and I’m just going to hole up there.’ Isn’t that the way we work when we feel some despondency? ‘I want to get in the dark for a while.’

Then you have an interesting question that God asks. The Lord came to him in verse 9 and He says, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” You know it is true of all the questions that God asks, He already knows the answer. He already knows that his last direction He had given to Elijah was, ‘I want you to go talk to Ahab.’ “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Notice his response in verse 10, “He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword.’” And all of that was totally true.

But, then what happens in the rest of the verse tells us that he had lost perspective. He said, “And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” You know, when we find ourselves in a little bit of darkness and a little bit of despair and despondency, when we are discouraged, the key question to ask ourselves is, ‘Where are my eyes? Where are my eyes? Are they riveted on the circumstances. Are they fixed inwardly on myself? Where are my eyes?’ He is so fixed on the circumstances and riveted on himself, he is having a little pity party.

Someone has said this, ‘Self-pity is the enemy of all spiritual growth.’ What a great quote. Self-pity is the enemy of all spiritual growth.

Another thing we need to do when we find ourselves discouraged like this is: we need to readjust our focus, where our eyes are. What he needed was fresh perspective from the Lord.

Do you notice, again, what God does not say to him, as he says all these things, and part of it is true and part of it isn’t. You notice that God doesn’t ridicule him and condemn him? He doesn’t say, ‘Elijah, you’re an idiot. Elijah, would you snap out of it? Elijah, you know what? You’re a failure, you’re a loser! You make me sick.’ He doesn’t say any of that. Remember, Psalm 103:14, “He knows we are but dust.” And what we see out of the Lord here is tenderness and compassion. God is really saying to him, ‘Elijah, come over here, I want to show you something. I want to show you something.’

What happens there in verse 11, it says, “The Lord was passing by on the mountain and a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking 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. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.”

There is this great wind, we call it in Oklahoma, a tornado! It is just ripping the mountain apart. God is not there. There is the earthquake and then there is the fire, like the wildfires you might see in California. All these spectacular things, but where was the Lord? He wasn’t in those things. He was in the gentle breeze. In the quiet of every day, He is always right there.

We talked about Psalm 46 earlier in our worship service, verse 10, “Be still [Elijah], and know that I am God.”

Psalm 42:5, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God.”

Change your focal points!! Get your eyes off the circumstances, eyes off yourself. See, when our focus is on the circumstances and ourself, we sink faster. Depression distorts reality. Think about it. He lost perspective. He lost sight of what God did at the brook Cherith, how the ravens came and fed him. He lost sight of what God did at Zeraphath, providing supernaturally and raising a boy from the dead. He even lost sight of what happened on Mount Carmel, when 450 are defeated soundly by the Lord. And, God is gently saying to him, ‘Be still and know that I am God. Put your hope in God, Elijah.’

Then, we have verses 15-18. The Lord says to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The third thing that was going to be helpful to him, at this point, was to Resume Serving God and Others. Physical rest and refreshment, readjusting our focus and then resuming serving God and others. He was saying to Elijah, ‘Hey, hey, hey, hey, it doesn’t all depend on you. I’m going to use other people. I’m going to use Jehu.’ By the way, we learn from 2 Kings 9 he is the one who leads in the demise of Jezebel. ‘Elisha, I am going to have him succeed you.’ He is really saying to him, ‘Listen, you never were alone. You never will be alone. I’m with you. The Lord of Hosts is with you, and 7,000 others are with you.’

I’m always taken with the words in verse 19, the front part of it, “So Elijah departed from there.” Perhaps you are here and you have been hit with a financial or a medical turn that was a turn that you never saw coming and you’re in despair and discouragement about that. Maybe you are a parent who has poured your heart into your children and as they have gotten older, they have turned a cold shoulder to you.

Maybe you gave your heart and soul to your marriage and your spouse walked away or is threatening to walk away. Maybe you have faithfully given yourself to your job and then you have been released from that. Or, maybe your friends have just seemingly turned away from you and you don’t understand what is going on. There are emotions that come. We are down, we are discouraged, we are defeated. There is some spiritual shock. We feel like a failure, we feel misunderstood, and unmotivated.

What do we need? Some rest and refreshment. What do we need to do? Readjust our focus. Get it off the circumstances and the situation. You know what we tend to do when we are focused on the circumstances and the situation? We just mentally replay that, over and over again. It is toxic to do that. Readjust our focus. Shift to the fact that the Lord is always there. Be still and know that I am God, put your hope in the Lord. He is there, He cares, He is on your side.

Then, we need to resume serving God and others. See, when we start focusing on others, we lose that self-orientation. I’ve learned that over the years. Sometimes, the best way to draw me out of that is just to begin to serve other people. I want you to know, by the way, this is not an instantaneous thing. It’s not just [Bruce snaps his fingers] Boom! It’s all over. It is a process. But, when we do those things, we will find again, as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “The One who calls you is faithful.”

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You again for this living book. We thank You for the lesson of the life of Elijah. We thank You that You understand that we are just dust. We are human, yet You are so caring, and You are so tender, and You want us to understand these principles so that we don’t have to become a prisoner of some of the events of our life. Then, Father, we need to be reminded at all times, at all times, that the One Who calls us is faithful. We thank You for that and we thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

1 Kings 18:41 – 19:18

1. Are you old enough to remember ABC’s Wide World of Sports?  What can you recall about the opening video sequence of that show?

2. Elijah has an immediate pure emotional reaction to Jezebel’s guarantee and pulls a “Forest Gump” and takes off.  Why do we tend to that? 

  How could he have responded better?

3. When Elijah ran immediately after the events of Mt. Carmel, what do you think the impact was on the people of Israel?  What lesson should we learn from this as we lead others?

4. Think of a time when you made some poor choices and felt like a failure, a loser.

 What did you learn from that experience?

5. When you find yourself pressured, overly busy, short on sleep, and stressed out, what areas of your life tend to suffer?

6. Vance Havner said, “If we do not come apart and rest awhile, we will simple come apart.”

On the other hand, we can’t just immerse ourselves in video games, permanently plop in front of the TV, or spend our whole day on Facebook.  How can we maintain balance in this arena of life?

7. “Self-pity is the enemy of all spiritual growth.”  Expand on what you think that statement means.

8. Note that God twice asks Elijah a question (God already knew the answer) and both times He listens to Elijah’s expression of his feelings.  What does this tell us about the heart of God…what does it mean for you and me?

9. What lesson was God communicating when He was NOT in the tornado, earthquake, or fire, but He was in the gentle breeze?

10. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “The One who calls you is faithful.”  Take some time to thank our Heavenly Father for His faithfulness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *