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When Godly People Get Depressed, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2024 9:00 am

When Godly People Get Depressed, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 16, 2024 9:00 am

First Kings Chapter 18 records a definite high point in the life of the prophet Elijah, when he faced off against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. God came through for Elijah in an awesome way, and the people repented and turned back to the One True God!

Summit Life
J.D. Greear

Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. That's how despair and depression actually works. The momentum of a few true things leads you to a dangerously false conclusion. Oh, it's all lost. False.

God, it's useless. My family's never going to change. False. I'll never be happy. False.

Your depressed self is whispering these conclusions to you and you have got to stop listening to them. Welcome to Summit Life with J.D. Greer, lead pastor of the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. 1 Kings Chapter 18 records a definite high point in the life of the prophet Elijah when he faced off against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. God came through for Elijah in an awesome way and the people repented and turned back to the one true God.

It was an amazing victory. But then right afterward, things seem to go downhill for him and downhill rather quickly. Today, Pastor J.D. picks up the story as Elijah is on the run for his life and dealing with some heavy emotions.

It's safe to say that the high he felt is long gone and he's slipping into the depths of depression. So grab your Bible and a pen and let's rejoin Pastor J.D. in 1 Kings. 1 Kings 19-2. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, So may the gods do to me and more also if I do not kill you by this time tomorrow. Jezebel has not repented nor has she been deposed.

Far from it. She is still on the throne, worshiping her gods, barking out orders, ordering his death. He's got to go back into hiding. Verse 3. Then he was afraid and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba which belongs to Judah and he left his servant there and he went by himself a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree and he asked that he might die.

Safe to say Elijah is depressed. He's angry with God. Verse 5.

And he lay down and he slept under a broom tree and behold an angel touched him and said to him arise and eat and he looked and behold there was at his head a cake. Verse 9. And behold the word of the Lord came to him and he said to him, What are you doing here Elijah? He said, I've been very jealous for the Lord the God of hosts for the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant. They've thrown down your altars and they've killed your prophets with the sword and I even I only am left.

They seek my life to take it away. What do you see there in those verses that God is doing? Let me point out that you got three different approaches to dealing with depression in those verses. He ministers to Elijah physically with the touch with the food and with the nap spiritually by dealing with his wrong view of God and psychologically by listening to him.

Right? God uses all three because he designed us in all three ways. Now I can't diagnose which one of these is primarily a problem. Usually not always it's a combination of these things and what I'm going to say from here on out applies mostly to spiritually based depressions and discouragement.

The biblical counseling coalition put out a chart recently called the development of spiritually rooted depressions and what you'll see is you've got kind of four stages. The first one is disappointment. Disappointment that's where you've got confusion, sadness, grief, unfulfilled expectations. That's what's going on with Elijah right? Unfulfilled expectations.

I thought things would be different. God didn't come through. That leads to discontentment. Discontentment which produces self-righteousness. Self-pity. That's where Elijah is.

I'm the only one. You're not taking care of me. Brooding. That leads to number three despair. You see no way out. You watch this start to give up on responsibilities.

Stage four destructiveness where in some cases you become suicidal or homicidal. Here's what God's word is to the discouraged. Here it is. Here's what he says to Elijah. Verse 11. God said go out and stand on the mount before the Lord and behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces 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 and after the earthquake a fire but the Lord was not in the fire and after the fire the sound of a low whisper or a still small voice verse 13 and when Elijah heard the still small voice he wrapped his face in the cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave and behold then there came a voice to him and said what are you doing here Elijah? All right so what's this about?

Well it's a very important detail that you got to understand to unpack this passage that you might have skipped over. Mount Horeb. Do you know another name for Mount Horeb? Mount Sinai. Mount Horeb is Mount Sinai. Do you remember what happened to Mount Sinai? That's where God gave the 10 commandments and when God descended on that same mountain to Moses what did it look like? Fire, wind, earthquake and God in Moses's case was in the fire.

Remember the burning bush? He was in the wind. He was in the earthquake. Those things were the presence of God and now with Elijah those same things happen but it specifically says God was not in the fire. God was not in the earthquake. God was not in the tornado. So what is the meaning of that?

Here it is. God's voice in our lives does not always come in the ways we expect him to but that does not mean that God is not speaking. That's the point that he's trying to make. Hey with Moses I was in the fire. You were thinking that when I showed up in your situation I'd come with the same kind of things. You thought that there would be this epic revolution but there wasn't and you assumed that that meant that I'm not working but you are wrong. The verses 15 through 18 look at it you'll see what God says he's doing. He's raising up a pagan king named Hazael who's going to bring judgment on Ahab and his wicked witch of the west wife Jezebel.

You may want to write this down. Elijah thinks that God has let him down but God has not let Elijah down. Elijah's limited view of God and how God works has let Elijah down. So you want to take a point?

Write down number one. In a time of discouragement you must defer to the wisdom of God. In a time of discouragement you must defer to the wisdom of God because God is often doing his best work in ways that you don't know. You ever get to a stage in your life when you look back on another stage in your life when you really looked in that stage like God was was not there he's not working and then like five years later you're like oh I totally see that God was doing some of his best work right there right.

So if you watch if you with with five years with limited time perspective can already see what God was doing in some of the dark times don't you think that given enough time like eternity and enough perspective like heavenly wisdom you're going to see a reason for all of it? You must defer to the wisdom of God. Number two here's the second thing being taught you must embrace the love and the grace of God. You got to embrace the love and the grace of God.

You say where do you get that J.D.? I'll show you. Remember I pointed out the detail God calls Elijah out of the cave in verse 11 but Elijah doesn't actually get out there to verse 13. So what's happening? Is Elijah just you know is he why why does he not go out in verse 11? All right well what happens in verse 12? Do you see that? Tornado.

Right? Earthquake. Fire. In fact the tornado and the earthquake are so bad it said it tore the mountain in pieces. If it tore the mountain in pieces what would it have done to Elijah had Elijah gone out there in verse 11? So God keeps Elijah in the mountain so that the mountain listen absorbs the intensity of the tornado the mountain absorbs the fire the mountain absorbs the earthquake and so when Elijah comes out all he experiences of God is a still small gentle voice.

You see the tornado the earthquake and the fire are all pictures of God's judgment. Elijah was hidden in the cleft of the rock the rock the cave so that the mountain would absorb those things and they would not touch Elijah. The mountain absorbed the judgment so Elijah got grace but maybe even more than that what he's giving to Elijah catch this is a picture of something that we you and I are going to see much more clearly. Do you know that Elijah you know this he never dies he gets swept up in a chariot of fire. All right one of the only people in the Bible doesn't die but he shows up again.

Do you remember where he shows up? You don't know if your Bible know this he shows up again right before Jesus dies on top of a mountain standing with Jesus in all of his glory and standing with him is Moses. Now Moses if you recall so just a second ago also met God at that exact same place Mount Sinai and when remember this when God came to Moses Moses God said if you see me you'll die so God put Moses in the cleft of the rock just like he put Elijah and he passed by so that he would not be destroyed. So now what you've got watch this is Moses and Elijah standing on top of the mountain in the presence of the glory of Jesus and it's not hurting them because they are for the first time seeing what that mountain represented and that is Jesus who would be the rock who would absorb the tornado the fire and the earthquake of God's judgment so that all we could get is the low and gentle whisper of intimacy and tenderness. What they saw in mystery we see in clarity.

What they saw in shadow we see in substance. Jesus received the tornado of God's judgment. He in Hebrew terms inherited the wind. He got the earthquake of God's justice. There was a little earthquake when Jesus died on the cross. He got the fire of God's justice that burned through him so that you and I watch this we experience all three of those things in the first four chapters of Acts. The Holy Spirit comes like a mighty rushing wind but the wind does not destroy the wind fills us with power. It appears as a cloven tongue of fire above our heads but the fire does not destroy it gives us resurrection power. They pray in Acts 4 and God shakes the room with an earthquake but the earthquake does not destroy them it fills them with boldness. Jesus got the fire the tornado and he got the earthquake of God's judgment so that you and I could get the low whisper that releases into us a tornado an earthquake and the fire of God's power. You see he is the he's the rock he's the what took that so that you got grace so that you hear the low whisper of God saying in you Abba father. The book of Romans he sheds abroad through his spirit love in your heart and he whispers to you I am your daddy you are my child you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased you're my beloved daughter in whom I'm well pleased the spirit testifies in our spirit that we are the children of God and cries out daddy and seeing that means that whenever God doesn't do what I think he really should do I don't have to doubt his goodness or his control let me think about it God's goodness toward me was forever demonstrated at the cross when he prayed for my forgiveness even when I was pounding nails into his hands do I need to doubt his goodness toward me now it's like John Owen said the greatest insult you could give to God after the cross is to doubt his love for you I don't doubt his goodness when I feel like I'm alone in a time of discouragement or despondency I'm not I'm not white Gethsemane proves I'm not because that's where Jesus went into the garden and actually was alone he prayed to God the father and God the father turned his back away and so that Jesus would say to him my God my God why have you forsaken me but because Jesus went through that and was forsaken for me I know that when I walk through a garden that feels like Gethsemane that I am not alone that he is walk with me that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I don't have to fear any evil because you're with me I will never leave you or forsake you he says I don't have to doubt those things even though I feel like it I might feel like all hope is lost I may feel like it's all out of control but it's not thanks for joining us today for summit life with pastor JD Greer we'll get back to today's teaching in a moment but I am very excited to tell you about our latest premium resource here on summit life it's called Elijah and Elisha an eight-day scripture guide through first king 17 to second king 6 and the beautiful part is that it parallels our new teaching series here on the program it's an eight-day devotional that takes you through the amazing extraordinary lives and ministries of these two prophets and by using our normal four-part approach to the text reading studying praying and applying you can walk through it on your own or bring someone along the journey through some key passages in first and second kings as you'll see reading about the great faith of others is a very helpful way to grow your own faith in god's power we'd love to send you a copy of this new devotional today with your gift of 35 or more to this ministry give us a call at 866-335-5220 or you can give online at now let's get back to today's teaching once again here's pastor JD think about it if there was ever a time ever that it looked like god was out of control it was the cross that's when wicked men and women the Jezebels of that day are not just trying to kill Jesus but actually killing Jesus and the spineless wimp king in this case Pilate not Ahab won't do anything to stand up for him but instead of it being the greatest time where evil was in charge it was actually where god was doing his best work it was a Friday of despair but it was a Sunday of resurrection and what that means is in my dark times when I feel like I'm in a Friday and sometimes I feel like that and when I feel like it's all that is as crosses around me and I feel like god's not showing up and I'm like my god my god why have you forsaken me I know that he actually has not because every time there's a cross he always brings a resurrection if a good all-powerful all-wise god was fully in charge of the cross I can be sure he's in charge of my life even when he's not doing the things that I expected him to do so that leads me to number three you must confront the lie you must confront the lie twice in this passage god asked Elijah why he's depressed twice god asked Elijah twice Elijah responds get this listen with a mixture of truth and error says the exact same thing twice and it's a mixture of truth and an error watch this look at verse 10 I've been zealous for you is that true or false true thumbs up the Israelites have rejected you true or false true they have killed your prophets true I'm the only one left false god's got seven thousand secret agents in Israel Elijah doesn't know about and by the way he's about to raise up another prophet at the end of first kings 19 a little fellow by the name of Elisha okay who was forever condemning you to get the two confused and not be able to know who's who right and you're like Elijah Elijah what happened to who I don't get it all right but Elisha is going to have twice the power that Elijah had god's going to raise up twice the power that Elijah had and Elijah's totally unaware of that oh and by the way there's actually coming another prophet who's going to show up 800 years later who is going to be not just a great prophet it's going to be the son of god himself who is going to bring the salvation that Elijah's just gotten a taste of he alone is left do you realize how wrong that statement is Elisha is coming Jesus is coming but see that's how despair and depression actually works the momentum of a few true things leads you to a dangerously false conclusion oh it's all lost false god it's useless my family's never going to change false my friends will never listen false the workplace that I work in will never be will never be good it's always going to be toxic false it's not going to get any better false there's nobody who cares about me false I'll never be happy false your depressed self is whispering these conclusions to you and you have got to stop listening to them you got to defy your depressed self you got to start preaching gospel over your life and don't mumble when you do it you got to take hold of yourself and preach don't be long and by the way don't be do be long-winded if that's what it takes don't let me be the only long-winded preacher in your life all right you'll be like I am not alone I am not alone Gethsemane and the cross prove I'm not alone my future is not dim it feels like it's dim but the resurrection shows me it is not I will be happy again I will have joy again tell your depression and sadness that its days are numbered and even if it should god forbid even if it should last till your dying breath it will be vanquished for all eternity while you your redeemed glorified soul will escape to everlasting joy and the father's presence in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore so see if you never get over it if you never get over it it's still not permanent if you never get over it in this life it's still not permanent because god has a resurrection and you're going to be in the presence of him in whose presence is fullness of joy can't get more joy than that right hander pleasures forevermore can't get longer than that that's what your future is so god says to Elijah see I'm working on a plan beyond anything you ever considered and it involves me actually coming to earth Elijah you feel like your efforts have failed and are wasted they are not church when you get to heaven you're going to see that there was no wasted act of faithfulness not one no one answered prayer every cup of cold water given in Jesus name he knew about every one of them and every one of them he used nothing done in god's name is ever wasted in every cross of pain and suffering and deprivation that you go through in faith god works the miracle of the resurrection so paul says in the midst of a cross of his own therefore my beloved brothers be steadfast unmovable always abounding in the work of the lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the lord because the resurrection first christians 15 proves it's not going to be which means number four you got to get back to your assignment you got to get back to your assignment verse 15 the story ends with god telling elijah to get back do you see it just get back to being a prophet elijah there's some people who need the word of god you got a king to anoint you got a you got another young man to train up named elijah that means for you whatever you ought to be doing no matter how despondent and underappreciated you feel doing it you got to get back to doing it being a dad being a mom being a wife or a faithful husband yeah i know the people around you don't appreciate you and i know that's the kind of cross and i'm not trying to make light of that but i'm just saying you keep working through that cross because god that's how he brings resurrection you got to get back to being a witness to your friends even when they're not listening to keep pressing in on that unreached people group i'm saying that for our church planners that are listening right now to keep knocking on that door realizing that god is through the faithful service of his people and the crosses that they bear god's going to bring that resurrection of revival and awakening that you have hoped for for so long for that nation you see people tend to think that in the past in bible times god's work was always clear and dramatic and easy to trace that's not true wasn't true for elijah one of the greatest prophets that ever lived elijah knew what it meant to be confused and angered by god he had questions like you and he was despondent he was depressed god was always working he's working in your situation his still small powerful earth-shattering mountain moving fire inducing voice is still speaking in your heart in tenderness and grace i told you charles virgin struggled with depression for most of his life doctors later figured out it was related to a condition he had called gout that produced a lot of these symptomatic things that meant that for all of his days he struggled with depression never got over it wasn't it a lack of faith by any means she's one of the greatest men of faith to live in the 19th and 20th century never got over it spurgeon decided to see depression not as the absence of god's word spurgeon decided to see depression listen to this as itself a word from god he opted to use it to trust that god meant something by it or through it he assumed that god through his depression was giving spurgeon and the people he led a picture of something and that picture of something was better and it was deeper than even an easy earthly life in a body that works like it's supposed to he assumed that that depression was a symbol a pointer to an eternity that would be much better than anything we could ever achieve on earth an eternity in the presence of jesus in whose presence is fullness of joy and at whose right hand our pleasures forevermore once the spurgeon's congregation he said listen to this i quote i find myself frequently depressed perhaps more so than anybody else in this room of 10 000 people i the pastor the man of god and more depressed than anybody else in here i find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the lord with all my heart and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace speaking blood of jesus and his infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions you hear what he did he preached to himself he preached to himself you need to preach to yourself you need to stop listening to your depressed self and start preaching to your depressed self because the only thing that can get you out of a deep valley of despondency is a deeper arm of resurrection power and love so i just corrie tim boom said this she said um she said there is no pit there is no emotion that is so deep and painful that god's arm is not deeper still you got to realize whatever pitch you're in i say 59 1 and 2 the lord's arm is not shortened that it cannot save the lord's ear is not heavy that he cannot hear that god takes depression god takes it and he says you're not alone and i never stopped loving and i'm always working and if you hang on in time you'll see that resurrection come so be steadfast unmovable always abounding in the work of the lord because your labor is never in vain it's never in vain and you never doubt my love for you the only thing that can overcome a deep well of despair is an even deeper arm of god's grace lifting us out and setting us on high ground again an encouraging message today on summit life from pastor author and apologist jd greer as jd was speaking maybe you felt a new passion and excitement to follow god to live a life that's pleasing to him if so we would love to get you a new scripture reading guide that aligns directly with the teaching airing on the broadcast right now it's an eight-day guide titled simply elijah and elijah the secret behind elijah's power here on earth was his fierce devotion to the god of heaven and elijah left behind an amazing legacy not because he was thinking of this life but because he was focused on the greater things that were ahead this is an eight-part study with interactive workbook style questions and scripture study along with devotionals prayer and response we'll send you a copy of elijah and elijah an eight-day scripture guide through first king 17 to second king 6 as our way of saying thanks when you donate today to support this ministry join the team that makes summit life possible and remember to ask for your copy of elijah and elijah call 866-335-5220 that number again is 866-335-5220 or head to our website to give it's and if you don't receive our e-newsletter yet be sure to stop by the website to sign up you'll get ministry updates sneak peeks of our new resources and pastor jd's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox sign up today at i'm molly vidovich tomorrow we're diving into the second half of this two-part teaching series as we turn our attention to elijah's protege elisha we'll see you friday here on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-16 10:06:38 / 2024-05-16 10:16:51 / 10

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