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depression

July 28, 2013

For years I never understood how Elijah could go from the powerful, obedient man he was in I Kings 17 and 18 to depressed and suicidal in chapter 19.  Then I looked back at the incredible day he had in chapter 18 and saw that what he accomplished was super-human.  Just a quick overview will leave you astounded.  He may or may not have eaten breakfast, but we’ll start there.

  • breakfast?
  • climbs a mountain (Mt. Carmel) which is 1,724 feet high
  • is in charge of the challenge between Baal and God (this would cause a rise in adrenaline I would think)
  • watches Baal worshippers act like idiots as they yell, dance, and cut themselves (very appetizing if he was eating a snack at the time)
  • rebuilds the altar which entails:  moving, lifting, and stacking 12 stones to form an altar
  • dug a trench which encircled the altar
  • stacked wood on top of stone altar
  • butchered ox (no small feat)
  • directed 12 jars of water to be poured over the sacrifice and wood to thoroughly soak it (the trench caught the excess water)
  • had a possible break (see verses 35 and 36) — and maybe a snack?
  • as the only believer among hundreds, Elijah boldly prayed out loud (when was the last time you boldly prayed out loud in the Break Room at work?)
  • Elijah asked God to prove to the people that He is God (do not try this at home with your agnostic or atheist friends unless God clearly shows you to do it).  Was this another possible adrenaline rush?
  • watched the dramatic, instant display of God’s power (another rush of adrenaline?)
  • watched as people fell to the ground and worshiped (I would think there was a surge of powerful emotions coursing through Elijah as he observed what he had longed to see – his fellow Israelites prostrate in worship before his Lord
  • cried out for people to capture all the false prophets
  • took them all down to the Kishon Valley and killed them or ordered the Israelites to kill them (either way, that sounds like an incredible adrenaline rush once again)
  • told King Ahab to go get some food and drink because a heavy rain was on its way
  • climbed the mountain again!
  • went into fervent prayer for rain, got into the birthing position with his head between his knees (not comfortable)
  • told his servant to go seven times to look toward the sea
  • when servant said a small cloud was seen he sent his servant to tell King Ahab that he needed to leave immediately or the rain would stop him
  • Elijah tightened his clothes around him and ran down the mountain to Jezreel.  He even beat the King back to Jezreel

I get exhausted just reading that, but Elijah’s day isn’t done yet.  In I Kings 19 the King told the Queen how Elijah had all her pet prophets killed.  She wasted no time and sent a death threat to Elijah for what he had done.  Whether God’s prophet should have stopped right then and asked God for direction before he made a move is a subject for another post which I will address later.  The fact is that Elijah fled for his life just as Moses did when the Pharaoh threatened to kill him.  Elijah’s servant went with him.  We don’t know the reason, but he left the servant in Beersheba, about 90 miles south of Jezreel.  From there he went about 20 miles into the wilderness.  That’s where we find him in I Kings 19:4 where he finally sits down under a tree and tells God he’s done.  Do you blame him when you look at what he’s been through?  I’m not in the medical profession, so I can’t even begin to diagnose what state his body could possibly have been in at that time.  I do know of a few things that might have been going on.  His spiritual man must have felt drained.  His physical body had to have been exhausted.  I would think his blood sugar was low which would cause a lack of ability to think clearly.  Adrenal fatigue may have been in play as well which will produce an overwhelming fatigue which also can feel like depression.

I know one thing that I think of every time I look at this incredible account.  It reminds me to “Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.” – Native American Proverb.  For those of you that want scripture, look at Matthew 7:1 from the Amplified Bible.  “Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.”  The Message Bible minces no words as it states in Matthew 7:1-5, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”

Ouch!  Father, I’m sorry for judging, criticizing and condemning.  I choose to forgive myself.  Please forgive me.  I truly want to walk in humility before you.  Please show me what action, if any, You want me to take in this.  Thank You.  I yield myself to You to completely.

(See my posts “The Lie Has to Die”, “lean listen obey”, “God allows our choices but He wins in the end” .)

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