Moses… “Kill me, I pray thee” (Numbers 11:15, KJV)…
Elijah… “Take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4)…
Jonah… “It is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:3)…
It looks as if your work can be hazardous to your health. Here are three prophets going through a period of despondency. Despondency means refers to depression, loss of hope, loss of confidence, loss of courage, desperation, gloom, being full of woe, feelings of desolation, extreme discouragement, being low in spirit, or “in the pits.” Despondency is one of the devil’s better weapons. It affects a lot of people, both men and women. It robs you of trust. It robs you of joy. It robs you of your faith and love. It can disable you in warfare. It affects your work. It affects your worship. It produces a “I don’t care; I wish I could die” attitude.
Moses was a meek man. He did great things for his nation, and he was a servant of God. Under his leadership he took two million people and made them an organized nation, and then led them out of bondage. Under his leadership the nation experienced miracle after miracle, and supernatural care and provision. With all of this the people murmured and criticized and were always a discontented people. Moses one day had had enough. “Lord, kill me.” He couldn’t take it anymore.
Elijah had just returned from a great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. He also prayed for rain, and it came. Jezebel threatened his life because she was a Baal worshipper. Elijah wilted in his spirit and ran, and wanted the Lord to take his life. “Lord, I’m in a no-win situation. There’s no point in living.”
Jonah received a mission from the Lord, to go to another nation and preach the word of the Lord. He ran from God’s presence and from the work God called him to do. In running he went from one bad situation after another until he landed in the belly of the whale. There he repented, finally obeyed God’s call, and went to Nineveh. Under his preaching Nineveh repented and turned towards God. Instead of leaping for joy, Jonah wanted to die. He grew despondent. He wanted judgment. God wanted mercy. Things didn’t turn out the way he wanted.
All three of these men had seen the power of God at work. Let’s look at the background for the “wishing I could die” attitudes.
Moses was overburdened with work, which included hearing from God, relating that word to the people, doing the administration work, and hearing the people’s problems. Moses was going down under exhaustion. Jethro finally took Moses aside and gave him some good advice–“slow down” (Exodus 18:14-23). We are not always the best judges of how much work we can do. Moses lost sight of God and was engrossed in himself.
Elijah worked alone. The intensity of the Mt. Carmel warfare took its toll. He prayed for rain and ran thirty miles when he saw it coming. Then after receiving Jezebel’s threat he ran some more until he was physically and emotionally exhausted. He thought that he was the only believer in God that was left. Elijah had lost sight of God also. His self-esteem got in the way, and he too became engrossed in himself.
Jonah experienced the trauma that came with doing a work he didn’t want to do in a place he didn’t want to go. He carried the trauma in his heart because he knew he disobeyed God.
These three thought they had failed God. Their failure was really on the inside of themselves. God dealt with all three, and we can learn from the help that God gave them. God is faithful towards you… Believe it.
Moses… God prescribed the help of seventy elders. “Moses, you can’t do it alone. Delegate some authority to others.” People today, both men and women, grow despondent because it seems that they do everything… and when they have that mentality, everyone lets them do it. Moses was a good at listening to God but he had trouble hearing input from others. Are you despondent? Others have insight that can ease your load.
Elijah… God prescribed some rest. “Elijah, go to a solitary place and be refreshed.” Elijah had two long sleeps, was fed by angels, and encouraged by God. God had an Elisha standing ready to assist Elijah. The Bible does teach about the importance of rest. People, both men and women, work long hours sometimes, not realizing that their spirit, soul, and body are taking a beating. Are you despondent? Take a rest.
Jonah… The Lord provided a sheltering gourd, to give him some shade. “Jonah, let Me show you my grace and mercy”… and then told Jonah that His mercy extended to the unjust people too. Mercy comes before rebuke. Are you despondent? Don’t evade the work God has called you to do even if it’s not to your liking.
God loves to refresh and to restore despondent and depressed people. It all starts with seeing the faithfulness of God. Take your eyes off yourself. Never lose sight of God. Learn to love what God has called you to do. God can deal with those who murmur and with those who are slothful when it comes to working to ease someone’s heavy burden.
Pastor George Belobaba
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