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(Wednesday, 10-24-07) Prayer 18 - Elijah's Prayer of Self-Pity

Read first:
1 Kings 19:9-18

Elijah was a great prophet of God, but he was also a man who struggled with the same issues of faith and confidence with which we do. His life demonstrates how quickly we can go from a “spiritual high” to the “depths of despair.”

Elijah had challenged the people and especially the prophets of Baal (cf. 1 Kg. 18:20-22). After his famous, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions . . . .” speech, he demonstrated the power of God and slew the false prophets.

But news came to Jezebel, and fear came to Elijah. This prayer is the result of his self-pity.

What Can We Learn?
1. Even men of great faith can become discouraged and depressed due to the stresses of serving God.
2. Elijah’s retreat to a cave reflects his lack of confidence in God at a time when he had just proven God’s ability.
3. God’s question, “What are you doing here?” was intended to get Elijah to focus on the purpose(s) of his behavior, and ultimately his life.
4. Elijah excused his behavior by blaming others instead of looking within himself.
5. God showed Elijah that there was no confidence in outwardly terrible and powerful effects like wind, earthquake and fire, but rather in the still, small voice confidently delivering God’s word.
6. Few events in scripture so powerfully illustrate the power of faith that comes by hearing God’s word.
7. Despite appearances, God is always served by a remnant who are faithful.

Questions to Ponder
1. Why do you think Elijah ran away so soon after such a great victory over the prophets of Baal?
2. How effective do you think Elijah’s claims to past faithfulness were in answering God’s question, “Why are you here?”
3. Why did God send the wind, earthquake and fire for Elijah to witness? What was Elijah to conclude from them?
4. What kind of things create a sense of discouragement and depression, even among great people of faith?
5. Are we still looking for the “flashy” or powerful demonstrations of God’s power to convince us to follow him? If so, what kind of things do people look for?
6. Does God still speak with a “still, small voice?” If so, how does this happen?
7. “What are you doing here?”

1 comment:

Twisting his arm said...

I just LOVE this statement about this prayer, "God showed Elijah that there was no confidence in outwardly terrible and powerful effects like wind, earthquake and fire, but rather in the still, small voice confidently delivering God’s word".

It reminds me that God is trying to speak to me. I just have to be still and listen!