“O Lord, Take My Life”

Text: 1 Kings 19:1-4

Elijah prayed to God, requesting that the Lord take his life. This was not a matter of depression (suicide), but a feeling of being worn out in his service to God. He prayed for relief – that his task on earth might be done. There may be times when we feel like Elijah – worn out in our service to God. It is not that we are considering leaving the faith, but that we simply want our race to be finished. When that is the case, what should we do? What should we remember? This chapter describes how this feeling comes about and how to handle it.

First, Remember This…

  • We must keep ourselves from becoming weary from the wrong things
  • Do not weary yourself in doing evil (Jeremiah 9:5) – do not be a slave of sin (Romans 6:16)
  • Do not weary yourself in the pursuit of earthly riches – more than just being tired; we are to work hard (Ecclesiastes 9:10), which will cause us to be tired (Ecclesiastes 5:12); but keep things in perspective (Ecclesiastes 4:8); work with a purpose
  • Do not weary yourself in the futile pursuit of knowledge – study is wearying (Ecclesiastes 12:12); diligent study to know the truth is good (2 Timothy 2:15); study to train to work is good; nothing wrong with acquiring knowledge on various subjects (pursuing it as a hobby); but we must not weary ourselves in the futile pursuit of knowledge (2 Timothy 3:7; Ecclesiastes 1:18)

Why Elijah Felt Weary

  • After praying for the Lord to take his life, he went to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8) – while here, he spoke to God and explained why he felt as he did (1 Kings 19:9-10,14)
  • He had been very zealous for the Lord – God expects this of us (Titus 2:14); this takes energy
  • The people had been unfaithful to God – this will always be true (Matthew 7:13-14; 1 Timothy 4:1); this is discouraging
  • He was targeted for persecution – as we will be (2 Timothy 3:12); we must endure to the end (Revelation 2:10)
  • He believed he was the only one left – sense of loneliness (hard without encouragement – Hebrews 3:12-13; but not impossible – 2 Timothy 4:16-17); sense of increased responsibility (we can only do so much – principle of 2 Corinthians 8:12)

What to Do When We Feel This Way

  • Trust in the Lord to provide (1 Kings 19:5-8) – God is able to provide (Psalm 37:25; Hebrews 13:5); do not be anxious, but seek spiritual things (Matthew 6:33-34)
  • Recognize the great power of God (1 Kings 19:11-12) – God is able to do more than we think (Ephesians 3:20-21); does not mean He will do whatever we want, but He is more powerful than all (Ephesians 1:21)
  • Make your appeal to God (1 Kings 19:4,10,14) – go to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7); He is your source of help (Psalm 121; Philippians 4:13)
  • Continue serving the Lord (1 Kings 19:15-16) – do not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:3; Galatians 6:9); be faithful until death (Revelation 2:10)
  • Remember that there are others who are faithful (1 Kings 19:18) – we may not know who they are; but they are enrolled in heaven (Hebrews 12:13); on day we will be together with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
  • Find help, encouragement, and relief from others (1 Kings 19:19-21) – this is what brethren are for (Hebrews 3:12-13)

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