Satan, the accuser excels in causing discouragement; he knows the lies to whisper. He uses people as his puppets to disseminate his half-truths. If your viewpoint is distorted by hopelessness, then you are in good company: Elijah, Moses, Job, and Jeremiah.
This is the 10 Bible study in the Examining Elijah and Elisha Series.
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 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. (1Kings 19:1, 2 NIV)
“Yes, Jezebel I know I am king, I know Elijah is just a man. But you weren’t there, after the fire fell Elijah said kill the prophets of Baal. Well the people did, they killed the prophets and prophetesses.”
The Bible doesn’t say whether, Ahab’s heart had softened toward God. It is clear about Jezebel’s loyalty and that she was in control of Israel.
Scripture doesn’t explain that Elijah expected Queen Jezebel, and King Ahab would repent when confronted with the power of God. One commentary surmised that Elijah had assumed that the drought, the holy fire, and now the rain would have been enough to convince them that Jehovah was the only true God. Jesus tells us that some people will refuse to believe no matter what proof is offered (Luke 16:31).
Does it seem odd, that Elijah doesn’t trust God to protect his life? (David made the same mistake. Read “Policing Your Thoughts, Disarming Satan”.)
From 1Kings 18:46-19:3 Elijah traveled 100 miles. Jehosphat, the king in Judah, (1 Chronicles 17:3-4) did not worship Baal so Elijah’s servant would be safer in Beersheba. Next few week we will consider the mistake of Elijah isolating himself.
Today’s topic: Hopelessness
While he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, 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.” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV)
After three and a half years of drought and hiding, Elijah thought life would finally be good. After God’s powerful display on Mt Carmel, he expected Israel would revolt against Jezebel or she would leave her idolatry. With no hope of life improving, he wanted to do die. When your expectations are not met, do you get discouraged?
Look at other men in the Bible’s reaction:
(Job 6:11) Job said, “I just can’t take it anymore. I have no hope, I give up.”
(Jeremiah 20:17) Even though Jeremiah was preaching God’s words, he was beaten and placed in stocks. He said, “I wish I had never been born.”
It took much less than what these men suffered for me to have a pity-party. When all my effort doesn’t seem to make a difference, satan asks, “Why try? Does your work even matter? Do you even matter?”
To regain hope, find the lie. When you are discouraged, and depressed; you are in good company: Moses, Elijah, Job, and… Click To Tweet
Our downward spiral begins with satan’s half-truth.
For Elijah: “Jezebel will kill me.” It was true she vowed you will die. Elijah overlooked that God controls life and death.
“Just like the prophets before me, I have failed; because the people have not given-up their idolatry.” It was true, the stubborn Israelites seldom repented completely. He forgot that a prophet controls what he says and does; he is not responsible for other people’s behavior. If he obeyed, he is a success; regardless of the outcome.
For Moses: “I cannot meet all of these people’s needs, I am completely in adequate for the job.” This was completely true, but his mistake was not realizing that God would provide for the people. Moses forgot that just because the people expected something, it did not mean that it was his responsibility to do it.
For Job: “I cannot take care of my needs.” It is false pride, if we think we have control of our bodies. Only God gives us the oxygen and the ability to process it. We are all helpless, we must rely totally on God to give us strength.
For Jeremiah: “My value is based on other people’s response. I deserve an easier life, because I am obedient to God.” There just isn’t any truth to either of these ideas, yet they are lies I often believe.
Scripture provides the hope:
These passages from Romans 8 refute the lies. When I focus on the truth, I am not deceived, I regain hope because it is not based on anything or anyone but Jesus. When I focus on the truth, I am not deceived, I regain hope because it is not based on anything… Click To Tweet
- Romans 8:17 Teaches us: we will suffer and be glorified along with Jesus Christ. No matter how scared or lonely we feel, we are never even a heartbeat away from Him.
- Romans 8:24 Encourages us: be confident that God will use our efforts even when we feel we accomplished nothing. Just like Elijah, Moses, Job, and Jeremiah, we are not going to know all of the good that comes from our obedience.
- Romans 8:31 Reminds us: our evaluation of a situation is distorted. God sees all, we can trust His viewpoint.
- Romans 8:35 Assures us: even when we fail. God still loves us completely. God’s acceptance has nothing to do with our performance.
- Why do you think Elijah was so scared of Jezebel?
- Do you think Elijah felt like a failure? Why or why not?
- What is satan’s most effective attack for you?