3Come Out of Your Cave(Short)
COME OUT OF YOUR CAVE
1 Kings 18:16 - 1 Kings 19:19
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like the world was caving in on you and you had no place to run and hide. God seemed absent from your life , prayers (if you could pray) seemed to go nowhere, your inner being was full of pain, grief, sorrow, sadness, darkness, emptiness, and void of hope? Well you are not by yourself!
The prophet Elijah learned a very difficult lesson in his dark moments of life and found himself hiding in a cave and isolated from everyone including his personal aide.
How Elijah got there, and what God did to bring him out with his life and ministry intact, is a fascinating story. It=s also a lesson from Scripture filled with principles we can use during those times when the darkness and defeat seems to swallow us.
Discouraged Prophet Elijah was discouraged, downcast and even depressed. I=m referring to those periods we all have when we are physically or emotionally drained and the darkness overtakes us. Times like these are a normal part of life.
A Great Victory Elijah=s depression followed a great victory .....secured his reputation as fearless prophet. Israel ruled by spineless King Ahab and his wicked wife, Queen Jezebel. Baal worship. A great contest.
1 Kings 18:19-40 (READ).
So the enemies of God were destroyed and defeated and Israel underwent a tremendous spiritual awakening and revival.
A Serious Threat When Queen Jezebel heard what happened she threatened the life of Elijah.
1 Kings 19:1-4 (READ)
A Hasty Retreat Faced with Jezebel=s threat, Elijah chose to run for his life into the desert. By the time he stopped running and fell exhausted under a broom tree, he had sunk into a dark hole of depression. He even prayed, that he might die. 1 Kings 19:4
Elijah became fearful, anxious, and afraid, and he ran over 150 miles. That=s where we find him in 1 Kings 19:4
Have you ever been there?
Have you ever said that?
It is possible to be serving the Lord and yet find yourself emotionally and mentally drained, depleted, and depressed?
Elijah=s condition had three components; physical, emotional, and spiritual, and God dealt with each one in turn.
Elijah manifested many of the classic symptoms of a person with normal discouragement. He was fatigued and sluggish.
He had not only lost his zest for life and sense of purpose. He had even lost his will to live.
Elijah was no longer interested in being the man of God, standing against evil.
He no longer seemed to care that Israel was still in the clutches of Ahab/Jezebel.
A sense of hopelessness and helplessness had enveloped him.
Fear and anxiety were clutching at his spirit.
His thoughts had turned to death as his best way of escape.
These feelings are usually a reaction to some loss, tragedy, or problem in a person=s life
When the problem hits and pressure mounts, then discouragement & depression set in.
Let=s look at Elijah=s problem, because in it we may find help in understanding our problems and where to look for help when the darkness won=t go away.
1. Mount Carmel was very physically demanding and taxing. It was no cake-walk.
2. He was hungry.
3. He was tired. He was lonely.
4. He was worn out and burned out, at the breaking point. HALT
We become candidates for spiritual defeat. That=s exactly what happened to Elijah.He was physically wasted.
EMOTIONAL STRESS: Elijah=s physical stress was mixed with severe emotional stress. We can see this very clearly in 1 Kings 19:4 when he said AI=ve have had enough LORD Take my life; I>m no better than my ancestors@
What he was saying, ALord, I=ve had it. You=ve brought me to the end. You might as well get it over with and kill me before Jezebel does. I thought I was Your prophet. I thought I was special to You. But I=m no better off than anyone else.@ Major self pity party!
Elijah hit the bottom as fast as he had risen to the top.
Now Elijah prayed to die, he became obsessed with the idea of dying.
One of the worst things a person in Elijah=s condition can do is to withdraw from everyone and just run away and hide.
I want to show you that before Elijah got to the cave, God took care of his physical and emotional needs.
The first thing God did to deal with Elijah=s depression was to refresh him 1 Kgs 19:6-8 (READ)
The food and the sleep replenished the prophet=s exhausted supply of strength and energy.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to eat a bologna sandwich and take a nap.
When you=re physically tired and emotionally drained, you=re vulnerable to defeat.
The darkness looks even darker when you=re wiped out.
Depression is not the end of the world. That means even though you may be in the darkness now, you will get through it. The dark clouds will lift.
SPIRITUAL DEFEAT: Isn=t it interesting that after Elijah got some rest and the angel ministered to him, he was able to travel 40 days 40 nights, going all the way to Horeb?
But there was still a dark cloud hanging over Elijah, because he also had a spiritual problem that needed to be dealt with. 1 Kgs 19:9 (READ)
That was a good question. Elijah was not supposed to be in that cave.
Have you ever observed that we=re most vulnerable to spiritual attack and defeat right after a great spiritual victory?
Two of Satan=s chief weapons are discouragement and depression.
If he can put you out of battle by wiping you out physically and emotionally, he can turn you into a spiritual casualty.
Facing the Issue: Though Elijah had regained his physical stamina, he was still in darkness because he was out of God=s will. God refreshed Elijah, He rebuked him by asking AWhat are you doing here Elijah?@
Elijah=s answer reveals that he was still feeling discouraged and depressed. 1 Kings 19:10 (READ).
Elijah tried to defend his actions, and indulged in a little self-pity.
1 Kings 19:11-18
This time, Elijah obeyed and went FROM THERE (From Where? The Cave!), 1 Kings 19:19 Music ministry team.
The darkness lifted. The depression was over. His ministry was restored. He had come out of his cave into the light of God=s restoring grace and power.
If you are in the cave right now, if the darkness is hanging heavy all around you, or you need restored to ministry, God will meet you here at the altar.
There are two key elements here that occur in the life of this prophet of God:
Depression is defeated and ministry is restored.
So God refreshed, rebuked, and re-commissioned Elijah.
He still had something important for Elijah to do.
Then the last cloud of despair and fear was lifted.
So however dark your situation, don=t give up hope.
Here at this altar today your depression is defeated and your ministry is restored.
God has something important for you to do.
God says AGo back the way you came...!@ 19:15