Friday, September 28, 2007

Wednesday Night Message Outline

Introduction: We sometimes have mountaintop experiences, and at other times we feel like we are in a valley. Sometimes we have an emotional/spiritual letdown after a great victory, and at other times we feel very depressed due to a series of difficult experiences. Elijah had a series of ups and downs in close proximity. We can learn from his experiences.

1. A Mountain of Special Service

Elijah offered the people a freewill choice. He recognized that they were between two opinions and had not yet made a commitment either to follow God or to follow Baal. (1 Kings 18:20-21) Elijah’s focus was not on himself; rather, he prayed that God would show His power and turn the hearts of the people toward Him. (1 Kings 18:37-38) Sometimes patience is needed to wait on God to demonstrate His power. (1 Kings 18:43-44)

2. A Valley of Depression

Elijah was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. He was alone and close to suicide following the great victory on Mount Carmel. When an angel awakened him, the angel did not command him to pray, to worship, or to witness; rather, the angel told him to eat. When we are physically exhausted (1 Kings 19:4-5) as Elijah was, we need to rest and eat. After being physically renewed, Elijah moved in faith toward Mount Horeb. (1 Kings 19:8) There was no quick fix for his depression.

3. A Mountain of Revival

Twice God asked Elijah what he was doing on the mountain. (1 Kings 19:9, 13) God was trying to help Elijah gain perspective. Elijah twice answered God that he was alone and that people were trying to kill him. His focus was on himself and his problems, not on God and His solutions. God gave Elijah some simple tasks to perform to help him get back on the right track. God also told him that he was not alone—that there were 7,000 people who had not surrendered to Baal. (1 Kings 19:15-18) When God gives us a task and a team, we can move out of our depression.

4. A Valley of Simple Service

We cannot live permanently on a spiritual mountain, and neither should we live permanently in a deep valley of depression. Sometimes, however, we have to perform rather simple, unexciting tasks that may be very important from God’s perspective but may seem insignificant from our perspective. Elijah threw his mantle on Elisha while Elisha was plowing a field with oxen. Elisha understood the symbol, and he indicated that he had closure on his old life by killing the oxen. Then Elisha became the servant of Elijah. (1 Kings 19:19-21) God was not yet finished with Elijah.

Conclusion: Our spiritual lives will have many peaks and valleys. Our emotional and physical conditions can affect our spiritual condition, and our spiritual condition can affect our emotional and physical conditions. God wants us to lead a balanced life.