After the great victory at the summit of Carmel, Elijah immediately descended into the valley of Jezreel (I Kings 19). It was here that he learned of Jezebel’s fury-filled plot to murder the prophet of God. Afraid for his life Elijah flees into the wilderness and begs for God to kill him. Amazing that just days before Elijah had defeated 450 False Prophets by calling fire down from heaven and consuming the burnt offering upon the altar. In that one act he had sparked a revival in Israel that would have ramifications for decades to come. Through the power of God, he had won! He had turned the people toward God, defeated the enemy, and accomplished his mission. But now we find him here, sitting under the knotted timber of a juniper tree, 20 miles away from the closest village, begging to die.
This Sunday at Southern Hills I will be teaching on the way out of the valley of depression, but here I would like to share with you the dangers of staying in this valley.
No One Knows You’re There
Anyone who lives in a desert can tell you that it is stupid to go exploring in the wilderness alone. Death is nearly certain if you are all alone. Elijah had left his servant in Beersheba, 20 miles north of his juniper tree and now found himself utterly alone. Often those who struggle with depression feel guilty about their condition and seek the solace of solitude. They tell no one. Instead of finding a confidant that can help them bear this burden they will “put on a happy face” and fake their enthusiasm for life. This loneliness perpetuates the problem.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him,two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
You Begin to Believe the Lie
The serpent is a slimy, cold-blooded thing with an acute ability lie. He has honed this particular skill since his early days in the Garden of Eden. Eve believed him when he said that nothing would happen if she ate the fruit. Cain believed him when he said that Able was arrogant and needed to be taught a lesson. Moses believed the lie that he could control his anger. David was convinced that one elongated look at Bathsheba wouldn’t change a thing. All along the way, with subtly, the serpent has slipped into the background of every life. Oh that Adam would’ve been there to protect his wife, that Eve could have stopped her son, that Aaron could have talked with his brother, that Nathan could have talked with the King. Yet, in the loneliness of depression you are more likely to believe the lie of Satan and fall into sin.
John 8:44 When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Your Dilemma is Exaggerated
Depression takes a simple problem and makes it appear impossible. Take Elijah for example. He told the Lord that he was the only one left who really cared about God. All others had forsaken the Lord and He… Alone… was still serving God. God had to kindly remind Elijah that there were still 7,000 others who, like Elijah, still loved the Lord. If you are struggling with depression you must understand that your situation is not as bad as you may think it is. There is still a sun that is shining, rain that is falling and a God in heaven who loves you.
My Grandfather used to say, “God will never use a discouraged preacher.” I’ve thought of that statement hundreds of times over the past 9 years. What was my grandfather trying to say? When we become discouraged we focus inward, when we focus inward we are not focused on others and therefore, unusable. Elijah was unable to be used by God as long as he wasted away in the Valley of Depression. To be used by God we need to get through this difficulty and rise up once again to be the person God has created us to be.
II Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be…meet for the master’s use.
But How do I get out? How do I get back on top of the mountain? Come this Sunday to here the 2nd sermon in our series: Mountaintops. I will be sharing the 4 steps to leaving the valley of depression.
Please Comment Below: