Key Question: 
As people of faith, when we feel depleted, how does the Lord refresh us?

Intro:
As people of faith, where do we go when we feel weary, exhausted, even depressed and despairing – possibly to the point of being ready to give up? We might be tempted to think that we should never show weakness; and so pretend that everything’s fine when really we’re not coping with the challenges that assail us personally, nationally, and internationally.

Would it help you to know that even one of the greatest heroes of faith in the Bible, could also have an off day, in fact almost 2 months in a funk? We’re going to learn from the life of Elijah, how the Lord refreshed him; and He can do the same for us today.

Some things to note for context from 1 Kings:
  • Elijah’s name literally means ‘My God is Yahweh’
  • He was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel in the early- to mid-ninth century BC (approximately 1000 years before Christ)
  • He is considered one of the greatest OT prophets cf. Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matt 17; Mark 9; Luke 9:28ff.)
  • On the word of the Lord through the prophet Elijah, there is drought (17:7) and famine (18:2) in Israel for three years, because of Ahab’s idolatry (16:30-33)
  • Elijah is probably best-known for the Mount Carmel challenge (18:16-46) which came three years after the first confrontation with Ahab. It is a resounding moral, physical, and spiritual victory
  • What happens next to this mighty man of faith and servant of God?


Key Passage:
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you, then read 1 Kings 19:1-18
(If you have time, for full context it would be most helpful to read chapters 17, 18, and 19)

Notice from this passage:
● Elijah is depleted and despairing (19:4), “I’ve had enough, Lord, take my life!”
● Elijah sleeps and eats (vv.5-6) … then sleeps and eats again (vv.7-8a)
● Next Elijah travels for 40 days, to “Horeb, the mountain of God” a journey of around 400 kms; Horeb is also known as Mount Sinai (cf. Ex 3; Ex 19-20; Ex 33:12ff.)
● Twice God asks him the same question (19:9, 13) “What are you doing here?” Both times Elijah gives the same answer …
● (19:10, 14) “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty [true]. The Israelites have rejected your covenant [yes and no; they had, but at Carmel they acknowledged the Lord], they’ve torn down your altars and put your prophets to death with the sword [mostly this was Jezebel’s doing]. I am the only one left [not true, look at 18:13], and now they are trying to kill me too [not everyone, only Jezebel wants him dead].”
● 19:11-12, God says “stand in my presence …” Maybe Elijah expected God to show Himself in the same way He did to Moses and the Israelites – in a storm, with lighting, earthquake, smoke and fire. But this time “the Lord was not in them.” 
● In 19:15, “The Lord said to him, ‘Go back …”’ It’s good and necessary to have times of refreshing, but the Lord also sends us back to the calling He places on each of our lives.

Discussion Questions
1. Have you ever felt so depleted and despairing that you wanted to quit? 
2. When you are physically exhausted, how does that affect you mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Do you have regular rhythms for rest and recovery? 
3. Elijah went on spiritual pilgrimage to Horeb; he did whatever it took to find God. What might ‘spiritual pilgrimage' look like for you? Note God’s promise in Jer 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (emphasis added)
4. Have you ever noticed how often other people skew the ‘facts’ to suit themselves? Have you ever been guilty of doing the same?
5. How do you respond when you’re disappointed that God didn’t do things the way you expected? What can you do to surrender your expectations to Him?
6. Do you have any sense of what God’s calling is for you? If not for your life, at least for this season?

Application:
1. Physical rest, but look to God for His ‘touch’ by His Spirit to replenish
2. Do whatever it takes to find God
3. We all are only human – confess that you have both strengths and weaknesses, times in your life of both faith and fear
4. It’s God’s presence that changes us; with that comes His voice, correction, and calling – Anything you need to repent of? Anything you’ve been refusing to see or acknowledge?
5. Go back to His calling on you

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