Monday, March 5, 2012

Elijah 04: Depression Follow Up

• What types of things tend to get you down the most?

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." Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. .
1 Kings 19:1-3a (NIV)

How does fear sometimes create depression? What types of fears have a grip on your life?

When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 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." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep...
1 Kings 19:3b-5a (NIV)

Immediately following a great victory, Elijah became depressed. 1 Kings 19:3-5 illustrates four common contributors to depression: Elijah wore himself out, shut people out, focused on the negative and forgot the faithfulness of God. Of these four, which one is your most common challenge in you own life?

One of the most common factors that leads to depression is wearing ourselves out. In what areas of your life are you exhausted? What are some things you can do starting today to help relieve that exhaustion?

All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 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. 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." 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.
1 Kings 19:5b-8 (NIV)

The most spiritual thing we can do is rest. While that sounds so easy, why is it so hard for most of us to rest? What are some things you can do to have more rest in your life?

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?" 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."
1 Kings 19:9-10 (NIV)

Elijah honestly believed he was the only faithful one left. God replaced this lie with the truth: there were actually 7,000 others who still were faithful. Can you name a similar lie that you believed to be true? How did God reveal His truth to you?

 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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NIV)

God spoke to Elijah with a gentle whisper. Describe a time when God spoke to you with a gentle whisper. What did He say to you?

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. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet
1 Kings 19:15-16 (NIV)

God encouraged Elijah to eat and rest, to believe truth instead of lies, to listen to His voice and to get back to doing what prophets do. At this season in your life, which of these areas resonate with you most? Why?

As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirl- wind. Elisha saw this and cried out, "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!" And Elisha saw him no more.
2 Kings 2:11-12 (NIV)

Final thought: 
Even if your greatest fear or “what if” occurs in your life, God will be there for you to help rise above it. God will always be enough for you. Pray for those in your group that are struggling with depression, as well as those that are struggling with fears and exhaustion. Ask that God will work in them to remove these feelings from their life just as He did Elijah.

For Further Study
To use this resource, simply select one or two questions from each category below that you think will help your group discussion. Alternatively, you can use these questions and Scriptures in your own personal devotions during the week.

• Describe one of the loneliest moments of your life. How did you make it through such a difficult time?

Read 1 Kings 19:1-21
• What did Elijah pray when he had fled to a lonely place? (19:3-5)
• How did God miraculously care for Elijah in the desert? (19:6-9)
• What did God say to Elijah when the prophet had taken refuge in a cave? (19:9)
• How did Elijah express his despair about his circumstances? (19:10)
• What did God command Elijah to do? (19:11)
• What disturbances of nature did Elijah witness from inside the cave? (19:11-13)
• What question did God repeat in the "gentle whisper"? (9:13)
• What was Elijah’s reply after seeing the demonstrations of God’s power? (19:14)
• What "marching orders" did Elijah receive from God? (19:15-17)

• Do you think Elijah was justified in being discouraged by his circumstances?
• Why do you think God revealed Himself to Elijah when the prophet was discouraged?
• What strikes you as unusual about God’s question to Elijah in the cave?

Describe a situation where it felt like you were the only believer?
What important lesson did Elijah learn about how God chooses to speak to people?

• What are some ways that you can remind yourself that God is in control when you are in the middle of difficult circumstances?

Putting it into Action
This week we saw how God brought Elijah out of a time of depression. It’s likely we all know someone that is currently struggling with a difficult situation or may be battling depression. This person could be someone in your own group or just an acquaintance. Take what you have learned and put it into action by doing something this week to help that person through their difficult time. One idea is to use God’s example of telling Elijah to rest by doing something for that person that would allow them some rest. You might also consider carrying out this task with your entire group. Here are some ideas you might want to consider in carrying out your task:
  • Prepare some meals and take them to their house.
  • Offer to help with housework, run errands or help with yard work.
    • Help meet a financial need that person may have.
    • Take that person out to dinner and a movie. Give them an evening of fun and fellowship.
    • Help babysit their children to allow that person some time to rest.
    • Send that person some letters, cards or emails from the members of your group letting them know you are thinking of them and praying for them.

    Here are some suggestions you may want to use for your time with God this week:
    Day 1: Read 1 Kings 19:1-3. Pray over the fears you are currently dealing with in your life. Ask God to help you overcome them and give you comfort and peace as you deal with them.
    Day 2: Read 1 Kings 19:3-5. Pray over any depression you may be experiencing in your own life, or pray about those areas in your life in which you are exhausted. Ask God to help you find ways to better manage your time in these areas.
    Day 3: Read 1 Kings 19:5-8. Ask God to help find ways to find more time to rest in your life. Spend your time in quiet prayer just resting in His presence.
    Day 4: Read 1 Kings 19:9-12: Take time today to allow God to speak to you. Listen quietly for His gentle whisper.
    Day 5: Read 1 Kings 19:15-16 and 2 Kings 2:11-12. Pray and ask God what He is wanting you to do in this season of your life? Ask if He wants you to continue what you are doing or see if He has something new in store for you.


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