Many Christians are perplexed when they experienced depression. They do not understand why they have become depressed, feel guilty about it (especially for Christians who loved the Lord dearly), and do not know how to get out of it. Today let us study the different aspects of Elijah’s depression, and see if we can resolve our own questions about depression.
BACKGROUND: Read 1 Kings 18:16-46
II. BIBLE READING
1 Kings 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He 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 no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel– all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. (NIV)
A. The Problem (vv. 1-10)
- How did Jezebel threaten Elijah and did Elijah react? (vv. 2, 3)
- How did Elijah pray? (v. 4)
- What immediate provision did the Lord make for Elijah through the angel? (vv. 5, 6, 7)
- What happened at Mount Horeb? (vv. 8-10) In spite of the victory over Baal at Mount Carmel, what was Elijah’s analysis of the situation? (v. 10)
- From verses 3 to 10, describe the feelings of Elijah.
- From these feelings of Elijah, how would you describe his mood? (He was depressed)
- What do you think were the cause of Elijah’s depression?
- How do we feel when we are depressed?
- What are the possible causes of our depression? (Try to relate with the causes of Elijah’s depression, plus others)
B. The Solution (vv. 11-19)
- Summarize the events in this section.
- In the previous section, God provided for Elijah’s immediate needs (food, drink and sleep–interestingly three factors modern doctors advice depressed patients to strictly observe). In this section, how did God continue to lift Elijah out of his depression? What were the contrasts between Elijah’s world view and God’s world view?
- Applying what we have learned, how can we get out of depression?
REFLECTION: Am I really depressed? What do I intend to do about it?
Elijah was a great man of God who suffered depression. God lifted him up by meeting his immediate needs, talking with him, giving him a proper view of God, a proper view of the world and how Elijah fit into it. Elijah obeyed. We should ask God to do likewise when we meet depression.