1 Thessalonians 5
“Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’” —1 Kings 18:21
Sometimes, genuinely great times with God are followed by depths of discouragement, disappointment and depression, where great victories are often followed by deep valleys. Great triumphs can lead to trying temptations and great times of exaltation can lead to times of sorrow.
Elijah had a great moment with God intervening in a challenge he proposed to the prophets of Baal to prove who is true god. They would each take a bull, cut it into pieces, put it on an altar and lay it on wood with no fire. Afterwards Elijah said, “...call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God” (1 Kings 18:24). The prophets of Baal went first. They pleaded, danced and cut themselves while crying out to their god but there was no response. Elijah mocked them, “Shout louder!...Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or travelling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened” (1 Kings 18:27). But to the prophets of Baal’s dismay, their altar remained unlit.
When it was Elijah’s turn to call on his God, he doused the altar with water to make it even more impossible for it to light on fire. Next, he cried out to God, “LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel....answer me, so these people will know that You, LORD, are God” (1 Kings 18:36-37). Suddenly, “...the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water
in the trench” (1 Kings 18:38). Elijah saw a wonderful triumph by God but very quickly became depressed, fleeing to a cave and telling the Lord, “The Israelites have rejected Your covenant, torn 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 19:14). He had this great encounter with God but now, was in despair.
Sometimes, great moments with God can lead to great battle. But in the midst of all these battles, God is always at work. Elijah thought he was the only prophet of God left but the Lord told him, “I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18 ESV). Whether we are experiencing a great moment of God or struggling with depression, God’s goodness and His plans are constantly at work in our life.
Lord God, may I find encouragement in Your constant goodness in my life even when I feel discouraged, disappointed and depressed. Thank You, Lord.