San Diego Clairemont Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Developing a loving relationship with Christ and our community

A Word To The Little Flock Part Twenty Nine

Dear Follow Believers:

These have become very trying times and some of our young people have remarked that such trials in which we do not know when life can become normalized, when this COVID pandemic will subside, if it will subside, when suicides are at an all time high, when the sense of loneliness and isolation have reached a fever pitch, how can we get out of this depressive, melancholic state and feel secure and joyful once more?
I certainly hear you and can assure you that when we hurt, God feels it as well. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15 KJV)
Porque no tenemos un Pontífice que no se pueda compadecer de nuestras flaquezas; mas tentado en todo según nuestra semejanza, pero sin pecado. (Hebreos 4:15 SRV)

On a personal note, many of you know that my mother passed away on February 12th, just last Friday. She had fallen, and the blow to her head caused a very serious brain bleed. Since she did not want to die alone in a hospital, my siblings cared for her over a period of two weeks 24/7. You would have no idea how helpless, how powerless I felt not being able to do my share of the caring after this remarkable woman, but due to COVID restrictions, if I had tried to get to Canada, I would have be quarantined in a hotel for 14 days and of no good to anyone. That was incredibly trying indeed, but the Lord reminded me that with Him there is eternal life, so death is but a sleep when we consider His resurrection power. Through His grace, I could go on.

The apostle Paul went through great trials. We read, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed”. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV)
Estando atribulados en todo, mas no angustiados; en apuros, mas no desesperamos; Perseguidos, mas no desamparados; abatidos, mas no perecemos; (2 Corintios 4:8-9 SRV)

Here is another great example coming from the life of Joseph. Yes, he was sold off by his jealous brothers, sold as a slave in Egypt, but rather than sulking, Joseph went on! His confidence in God turned disappointment into His appointment. Joseph could say, “So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:8 KJV)
Así pues, no me enviasteis vosotros acá, sino Dios, que me ha puesto por padre de Faraón, y por señor de toda su casa, y por gobernador en toda la tierra de Egipto. (Génesis 45:8 SRV)
The Holy Spirit so softened Joseph’s heart that he named his sons Manasseh {forgetting} and Ephraim {Fruitfulness}, for God helped him forget his disappointment and be fruitful in the land of his affliction.

David went through a very trying time in his life. King Saul was hunting him down, out to kill him; when David and his men had left his family and the families of men unguarded, they were all captured and we read, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV)
Y David fué muy angustiado, porque el pueblo hablaba de apedrearlo; porque todo el pueblo estaba con ánimo amargo, cada uno por sus hijos y por sus hijas: mas David se esforzó en Jehová su Dios. (1 Samuel 30:6 SRV)
Do you remember how unpopular Jesus became? Men hated Him. The great crowds deserted Him.
And near the end of His journey He said to the few who followed Him, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32 KJV)  
He aquí, la hora viene, y ha venido, que seréis esparcidos cada uno por su parte, y me dejaréis solo: mas no estoy solo, porque el Padre está conmigo. (Juan 16:32 SRV)
Like Jesus, David “encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

We find various people in the Bible who went through such trying circumstances that they wanted to die. There was Moses, Job, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Elijah. We read, “Elijah was only a man like ourselves, but, when he prayed fervently that it might not rain, no rain fell upon the land for three years and a half. And, when he prayed again, the clouds brought rain, and the land bore crops.” (James 5:17-18 TCNT)
Elías era hombre sujeto á semejantes pasiones que nosotros, y rogó con oración que no lloviese, y no llovió sobre la tierra en tres años y seis meses. Y otra vez oró, y el cielo dió lluvia, y la tierra produjo su fruto. (Santiago 5:17-18 SRV)

“Elijah was only a man like ourselves”? Yes, “Elijah was only a man like ourselves”. He was a human being like the rest of us. He had emotional problems. He saw the same ups and downs that we all face.

What was the matter with Elijah? He was not a natural pessimist. Unlike Jonah, he struggled to succeed, but what has gone wrong with him? What has brought him so low?
1. He was worn out.
After his big day on Mt. Carmel, where he had been fasting, he ran 18 miles before the chariot of King Ahab. There, he found out that the queen was not converted to God by what had happened on Carmel, but had decided that she would see him dead. Elijah then flees on foot some 85 miles to get out of Jezebel’s territory. From this story, we learn that our physical condition can effect our spiritual condition. The poor man was totally exhausted. And just as a tired body is more proned to physical disease, so does it yield more readily to the torture of discouragement and depression.
Moses prayed that God would kill him, (Numbers 11:15) and so did Jonah (Jonah 4:3). But like Elijah, they were physically exhausted at the time. Moses had been trying to judge the entire nation of Israel single-handedly.Jonah was tired after working the city of Nineveh and then when the gourd withered, we read, “the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live."” (Jonah 4:8 NKJV) Jonah suffered a sun-stroke and then wanted to die. Elijah suffered from what we call today, burnout.
2. The second reason for Elijah’s collapse was that he stopped trusting God! When he had set the Lord before him, he faced the foe whether man or devil without fear. But when he stopped taking God into account and looked at circumstances, things changed. Centuries later, Peter did the same thing. As long as he looked at the Lord he walked on water and was not afraid. The moment he looked at the waves he became afraid and began to sink.
When Elijah heard Jezebel’s threat he came to believe that he must look out for himself. He took his case in his own hands. And that is the road that always leads to the juniper tree. Elijah had no support from wife, family, or friends. He stood alone against the organized religion of his day.
He reminds me of John the Baptist. And by the authority of Jesus Christ we can measure Elijah and his greatness by John the Baptist. “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.” (Matthew 11:12-14 NKJV)
Desde los días de Juan el Bautista hasta ahora, al reino de los cielos se hace fuerza, y los valientes lo arrebatan. Porque todos los profetas y la ley hasta Juan profetizaron. Y si queréis recibir, él es aquel Elías que había de venir. (Mateo 11:12-14 SRV)
They both wore the same kind of clothes. They were both schooled in the desert. They both graduated at the University of the Desert, with the degree, of M.S., Master of Solitude. They both preached stern messages of judgment. They both displayed superb courage. Elijah denouncing Ahab and Jezebel; and John the Baptist, Herod and Herodias. They both became bitterly hated by a wicked woman. Both prophets suffered a temporary eclipse of their faith. Elijah wanting to die, and John when he sent a message to Jesus asking, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3 KJV)
Diciendo: ¿Eres tú aquél que había de venir, ó esperaremos á otro? (Mateo 11:3 SRV)
Elijah under the juniper tree, and John the Baptist in the prison of Herod. If mighty souls like these could suffer and eclipse, then it need not destroy us when we find ourselves depressed and in despair.
3. Elijah came to despair when he began seeing himself as a failure. “I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4 NKJV) Have you ever thought that in spite of all that God had done for you, you were a failure? You may have toiled and labored and nobody complimented you; nobody seemed to appreciate it. Elijah had hoped for a great revival but no change seemed to take place. He had given all his energies to what seemed to be a lost cause. Let’s remember that God has called us to faithfulness, not to success. Looking at their lives, Jeremiah said, “Cursed be the day in which I was born!” (Jeremiah 20:14 NKJV) Job wished that the day of his birth might perish (Job 3:3). All these were men and women of like passions as us.
Frank Boreham had a close friend who became discouraged. He wanted to help his friend by sending him a present. But some present! He sent him an onion. An onion all in a beautiful candy box wrapped in tissue paper and a pink ribbon. Now why send out an onion? Though it is one of the most valuable of vegetables which has added zest to thousands of feasts, yet nobody praises the onion. And he’s right you know! What poet ever wrote to the glory of the onion? What bride ever carries a bouquet of onions as a bridal bouquet? The reason of course that the onion gets no praise is because it is so strong. And many Elijahs get no praise because they are seen as being so strong that they would not need any praise and support. Elijah saw himself as a lonely failure.Do we at times think the wrong things?
A farmer became completely discouraged about his farm. Discouraged about he house, the buildings, the land, the stock and the equipment. He requested a real estate agent to put it up for sale and read the farmer his advertising description of the property. “Wait a minute,” said the farmer. “Read that again and take it slow.” The realtor did. “Changed my mind,” said the farmer. “I’m not going to sell. All my life I’ve been looking for a place like that!”

Do we look only at the dark side at times? Elijah had just experienced his moment of triumph on Mt. Carmel. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem they cried out, “Hail to the Son of David.” But on Mt. Calvary all this seemed in vain. We know today, that in that failure there was victory. We don’t always see things from God’s perspective.
4. Elijah’s fourth problem was that he not only lost faith in God, in himself, but also in all others. He thought that there was not a good man in all of Israel. And if you want to find the shortcut to misery, don’t trust anyone. It is what makes Satan a successful devil. He would say Job is only pious and holy because God is constantly feeding him bonbons. Let’s not be like the father if misery - distrusting everybody.

These four factors: weariness, loss of faith in God, in himself, and in mankind, led Elijah to pray for death. But he’s a man in the dumps, experiencing the blues, and when we are in that condition, we do not know what we are saying. If Elijah really wanted to die, he only had to stay where he was and present himself before Jezebel and she would have accorded his wish. Given our natures, I’m glad that God does not answer all our prayers.

No, God in His wisdom, did not answer that prayer for death, instead God took him to heaven without passing through the portals of death.

Let’s finish by looking at God’s remedy for depression.
1. He put him to sleep. He gave him the rest he needed. Our Heavenly Father knows that just as a cranky child can awaken in a better mood once he has had his rest so can a tired prophet.
2. The Lord then feeds the hungry man. He gives us our daily bread. He tried to teach Elijah through the ravens that he should have an absolute trust. But now, the man is fed not by ravens, not by a widow, but by God’s own loving hand. This weary man who thinks nobody cares for him, awakens to find that the Lord of Glory has prepared him a meal. The Lord does not fling His servants off as the devil does his slaves. When the devil has got all the work out of you that he can get, he wil leave you to die like a dog in the field. But it is not so with the Lord. Jehovah does not rebuke his servant yet, He strengthens him first. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” (Psalms 103:13-14 KJV)
Como el padre se compadece de los hijos, Se compadece Jehová de los que le temen. Porque él conoce nuestra condición; Acuérdase que somos polvo. (Salmos 103:13-14 SRV)
With that food, Elijah went hiking through the desert for 40 days and 40 nights till he got to Mt. Horeb - Sinai. “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" So he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind 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 a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"” (1 Kings 19:9-13 NKJV)
Y allí se metió en una cueva, donde tuvo la noche. Y fué á él palabra de Jehová, el cual le dijo: ¿Qué haces aquí, Elías? Y él respondió: Sentido he un vivo celo por Jehová Dios de los ejércitos; porque los hijos de Israel han dejado tu alianza, han derribado tus altares, y han muerto á cuchillo tus profetas: y yo solo he quedado, y me buscan para quitarme la vida. Y él le dijo: Sal fuera, y ponte en el monte delante de Jehová. Y he aquí Jehová que pasaba, y un grande y poderoso viento que rompía los montes, y quebraba las peñas delante de Jehová: mas Jehová no estaba en el viento. Y tras el viento un terremoto: mas Jehová no estaba en el terremoto. Y tras el terremoto un fuego: mas Jehová no estaba en el fuego. Y tras el fuego un silvo apacible y delicado. Y cuando lo oyó Elías, cubrió su rostro con su manto, y salió, y paróse á la puerta de la cueva. Y he aquí llegó una voz á él, diciendo: ¿Qué haces aquí, Elías? (1 Reyes 19:9-13 SRV)

3. In verse 10 Elijah said, “I alone am left”. The Lord showed him that his calculation of the righteous was off by 6,999, for 7,000 had not bowed the knee to Baal. His ministry was far from fruitless, though he had not known it. You too may be assured that you do not stand alone for God.
Someday, you will see your comrades on the sea of glass, praising God.
4. Elijah was a powerful prophet. He may have been trusting too much in mere power, and so when he found out that it did not change the heart of the nation, he gave up. He was to discover that concerting power is not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in that still small voice.

You may have heard the old fable which tells how the wind and the sun tried to compete to see which could first make a traveler take his coat off. The stronger the wind blew, the more firmly the traveler held on to his coat. But when the sun shone warmly about him, he soon threw the coat aside.
So it is with human nature. If you try to force a person, he will resist; but if you show him love and warmth, he will gladly follow. God comes to us with the still small voice, the voice of Calvary.
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32 WEB)
Y yo, si fuere levantado de la tierra, á todos traeré á mí mismo. (Juan 12:32 SRV)

When Jesus met Nicodemus, He could have said, “You coward, why don’t you come when I am teaching others?” He told him of God’s matchless love in giving His own Son for the salvation of the world. Nicodemus proved faithful to that still small voice. “the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NKJV)
¿O menosprecias las riquezas de su benignidad, y fhfifhfi ignorando que su benignidad te guía á arrepentimiento? (Romanos 2:4 SRV)

The devil would like to destroy us through discouragement, therefore, “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” (Ephesians 6:16 NKJV)
Sobre todo, tomando el escudo de la fe, con que podáis apagar todos los dardos de fuego del maligno. (Efesios 6:16 SRV)

A woman had consecrated herself to go to India for mission service. Just as she was ready to go, her mother took sick and she had to stay by her side for three years. Then her mother passed away. She was again ready to go to India when her widowed sister became ill and there were three little children to be cared for. Her sister died, leaving three orphans to raise. Now all hopes of ever going for foreign mission work were gone. At last, all three children were able to look after themselves, but she was now too old to go to her long awaited mission field. Then one day one of those orphans came to her and said that she was bout to become a foreign missionary to India. Later the other two came with the same purpose. So they all three went to the mission field of India as she had hoped to. This lady, was no failure.
May we have the faith to say and believe that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)
Y sabemos que á los que á Dios aman, todas las cosas les ayudan á bien, es á saber, á los que conforme al propósito son llamados. (Romanos 8:28 SRV)

As we have considered the story of Elijah and others, we found that people haven’t changed much, and God hasn’t changed at all! Please remember that He’s still there for you.

May God richly bless you, one and all.

Pastor Richard Parent

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