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In I Kings 19:4 we read that Elijah “requested for himself that he might die.” Why did Elijah desire to die, especially after his great defeat over the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18)?
Discouragement! Even though God had just given the prophet Elijah a great victory, the wicked Jezebel has sworn to kill him, and he is discouraged. In I Kings 19:10 Elijah said, “And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Elijah had been faithful and always obedient to God, and yet things never seemed to let up or get easier. Elijah felt discouraged and all alone, but God said, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all
the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him “(I Kings 19:18).
Discouragement is a common ailment today! How often do we feel like Elijah, discouraged because even though we are striving to be faithful things do not ever seem to go our way. Perhaps problems at home or on the job are getting us down. It might be that we are discouraged because of problems in the church or among our friends. Whatever the problem we need to overcome our discouragement.
We must realize that discouragement is dangerous! It will defeat and disarm us when there are battles to be fought and won. Discouragement causes idleness, self-pity and distracts us from the work before us. It is also very contagious. Discouragement will spread to our family, friends, co-workers, and brothers and sisters in Christ. If not dealt with quickly it can cause untold damage (physically and spiritually). I would like to suggest several things that we can do to overcome discouragement.
When we become discouraged we should pray. In I Samuel 30:6 we read, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” Jesus spent his last hours before the cross in prayer. The apostle Paul wrote, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
God’s word will help us overcome discouragement. David, by inspiration, declared that God is like a Shepherd who provides love and care for us, His sheep. A study of the Bible will increase our faith (Romans10:17) and encourage us (Philippians 4:13). Psalms 37:39 reads, “But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.” Philippians 4:19 is a comforting passage, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Christian fellowship will not only help us to overcome discouragement, but it will help to prevent it. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching”(Hebrews 10:25). All of us need encouragement (exhorting), and we should gain encouragement each time we assemble with our brethren for Bible study and worship. No one should be more understanding, sympathetic and encouraging than our fellow Christians.
We cannot afford to become discouraged! Life is too short, and there is too much good to be done to be weighted down with discouragement! If you are discouraged, NOW is the time to do something positive about it! We will be glad to help. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at Rockford Church of Christ; 8997 U.S. Hwy. 231; Rockford, AL 35136.