A Compilation of messages that explain Bible verses on this topic.
WE ARE MORE EASILY INTIMIDATED WHEN WE ARE EXHAUSTED
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. - 1 Kings 19:1-3.
The man who confronted the idolatrous king, killed hundreds of evil prophets, confronted the whole nation, defended the honor of God, and with the power of the Lord, outran a two-horse chariot for almost 60 km, now was so scared of the queen that he would run away? If we read carefully, we see that if Jezebel would have had the real courage to kill him, she would have sent some soldiers with swords and not just a messenger to tell him that he would be dead in 24 hours! It seems that Jezebel got what she wanted, as Elijah left the city. The darkness in Jezebel could not bear the light in Elijah. Even when all the people were gathered on Mount Carmel, the queen remained in the city because she hated God and could not stand Elijah. It was she who had all the prophets of the Lord put to death. Jezebel had fed and cared for the 850 Baal and Asherah prophets, that Elijah overcame. She knew Who’s power was in Elijah and that if he would remain in the city, her own life would be in danger.
There are situations in life when it does not matter how much God has done through us, or how amazing we think we are, because once we believe the lies of the evil one, we get to where “going on to heaven” seems to be the best solution. The same thing happened to Elijah. Just the day before, he was used by God with such power, only for next day to fall into exhaustion and discouragement.
Humility, physical rest and refilling of our inner "tank" with the Holy Spirit are essential to avoid what Elijah experienced. Let us pray, praise the Lord with songs whose words glorify the truth about God, and express our gratitude for all He has done for us, so we may enter into His presence and be refilled with the Holy Spirit. If we do our best to be constantly in right-standing with God and spend time in His presence, we will have much more peace, joy and hope.
THE EFFECTS OF BEING DISCOURAGED
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” - 1 Kings 19:4
It seems that the fear of death gave Elijah enough power to walk the distance that someone well rested and in good shape could walk for one day. After all the effort, he got to where he wanted to die. But did he not run away from Jezebel to stay alive? He could have spared himself the exhaustion of the long walk and let Jezebel kill him, if that was what he truly wanted.
All the success’ euphoria and physical effort, exhausted Elijah. When we are tired and sad, we are not doing well spiritually, either. When we do not spend enough time in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are weakened and it makes it easier for the evil one to ensnare us.
Elijah was right, he never was better than his parents and this is true for us all. His words were suggesting that until then, he considered himself better and he seemed to have good reasons for that. He had a successful life for years, and as a result, pride began to rise up in his heart. But because pride goes before the fall, he had forgotten that God was the source of his strength and everything he did, he did with the help of the Lord and as a result, fear filled Elijah’s heart! Being physically exhausted, fearful and desperate, he had begun to realize that he was by far, not as great as he had thought he was. He was only a step away from wishing he was dead.
When we realize that we are exhausted, it is up to us to start praising the Lord for who He is and what He already did for us, even if that is the last thing we feel like doing. Praising God lifts us up, gives us the strength we need to move forward and pulls us out of the discouragement pit. Praise the Lord, in Him we always have hope and can be victorious!
GOD DOES MIRACLES FOR US WHEN WE REPENT AND HUMBLE OURSELVES
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” - 1 Kings 19:5-7
After Elijah humbled himself, acknowledging that God had done all the miracles through him and that he had done nothing in his own strength, the Lord sent the angel to feed and encourage him, and also to give him a new purpose. Though he had failed regrettably, running for his life from Jezebel’s threats, God showed him His loving and understanding Father’s heart. Elijah had stepped out of the Lord's plan. He was to stay and help the people to strengthen their faith after they realized that God is the only true God, but fled instead.
We can only imagine how many other miracles the Lord might have done through Elijah if he would have remained in the city and continued to lead the nation back to God.
Could the Lord have strengthened Elijah without getting sleep? For God there is nothing too hard or impossible. Nevertheless, this time, God chose to let Elijah sleep for his body to be restored. For the physical exhaustion of Elijah, as well as of any of us, God has made us to be restored through sleep and food. A strong body is one that is rested, well-fed and hydrated. And then, when we are full of the Holy Spirit, we can do anything that the Lord asks us to do.
THE STRENGTH THAT COMES FROM THE LORD
So he (Elijah) arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. - 1 Kings 19:8
God had chosen to let Elijah sleep and sent an angel to give him fresh bread and water. How tired he must have been if he managed to fall asleep after seeing that an angel prepared him food, spoke to him, and served him! This was not an ordinary experience, on the contrary! And yet Elijah fell asleep again. The angel confirmed Elijah’s exhaustion, by telling him “arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” That food provided supernatural strength for Elijah and because of it, he was able to travel walking non-stop for forty days and nights.
We have such a good and wonderful Father who knows us better than we know ourselves and who knows what we need. He knows better what we need at any time, and if we take the time to ask for His advice and then put it into practice, we will spare ourselves of much suffering and many headaches. Not everything we think the Lord wants us to do, is so. God is the best Father and does not want us exhausted, not even if we work for the prevailing of His kingdom. We may think that the more we get done for God, the happier He will be with us. But for God, what really matters is the condition of our hearts and to become more and more like Him. How much more had God prepared for Elijah to accomplish, if he had not retreated? And what does the Lord still have for each of us yet to achieve?
THE FRUSTRATION THAT COMES FROM DISCOURAGEMENT
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.” - 1 Kings 19:9-10
It is interesting that Elijah thought he had to inform God about what the children of Israel had done and about all he was going through. Let us remember that it was precisely for these deeds that God sent him to Ahab with the judgment of the drought. It seems that Elijah had forgotten what Obadiah told him, how he had saved a hundred prophets from death. Elijah should have known that he was not the only prophet alive. Was Elijah a liar? Certainly not, but it is well known that when we are disappointed and have serious problems, we do not remember the good things, because the bad ones become giants for us and we see the situation distorted, through "eyes of pain."
God spoke to Elijah while he was still in the “cave of despair.” Did the Lord not know the answer? The question was rhetorical and was meant to make Elijah hear himself speaking out his frustration, to realize that it was not how it was and it was time to change his attitude. How many times has it happen to us that when we were telling someone else about our problems, that we realized that ours were not so bad after all, and began to feel ridiculous? How often are we tempted to exaggerate and make our problems seem bigger.
IN GOD’S PRESENCE
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. - 1 Kings 19:11-12
The prophet Elijah experienced great times of glory and also of despair in his ministry for the Lord. We are tempted to believe that it would be wonderful to be able to just be "on the mountain top" with the Lord without ever descending into the valleys. But without the experience of the valleys of everyday life, we would not climb the mountains because we would trust in ourselves and forget God.
The Lord did not correct Elijah's answer, but instead He offered to manifest His presence more than ever. When Moses, the friend of God, asked to see the Lord (Exodus 34:2), God allowed Moses to only see Him from behind. But because Elijah was so discouraged, the Lord gave him the chance without even asking for it.
But God cannot pass unnoticed. The first time God manifested His power, at the mountain (before His presence), through wind, fire and earthquake, was when Moses and the children of Israel were in the wilderness (Exodus 19:16-18). For both, they and Elijah (many years later) these manifestations were incredible, but they did not experience God’s presence yet. Elijah did not come out of the cave until he recognized the gentle and loving presence of the heavenly Father, in "a still small voice." It requires sincere attention, dedication and strong desire to enter the presence of the Lord. Elijah's despair was so deep that even in the wonderful presence of the Lord, he did not change his answer. I believe that the Lord manifested His presence to Elijah, because He knew how much he suffered and how much he needed to be strengthen by Him.
No one understands us better than the Lord and how wonderful are His comforts. He prepares the right measure of anointing for us, so that we can overcome the hard times that lay ahead of us.
THE LORD MEETS US WHERE WE ARE AT
Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.” - 1 Kings 19:15-16
God sent Elijah back on his way. In other words, God told Elijah that he would continue to be His prophet, but not for a long time. Elijah received three very important tasks. By “the anointing of the two Kings” the fate of not only their nations rested, but of the whole region. And the third task was personal for Elijah.
If Elijah would have done all that the Lord had asked him to do, the history of the children of Israel would have been different. God’s plan for those two men to become kings, still came to pass, even if Elijah did not obey, but the delay cost their nations much suffering.
Our obedience or disobedience has implications and consequences, not only for ourselves, but also for those around us. Because we are created with free will, we can choose right and produce beneficial effects in our lives and in the lives of others or we can choose wrong and the consequences will follow accordingly.
THE LORD KNOWS THE PAINS AND DESIRES OF OUR HEARTS AND INTERVENES WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT
So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. - 1 Kings 19:19
Why did Elijah choose to fulfill the last task that the Lord gave him and ignore the others? Let us remember that the discouragement that overwhelmed Elijah after Jezebel promised to kill him, caused him to ask the Lord to take his life. Probably when God told him to anoint Elisha, as a prophet in his place, he forgot about the other two tasks and went straight ahead to find Elisha, hoping that God would then put an end to his unhappiness.
It took a few years until Elijah was taken from the earth, and in the meantime, he continued his work as the prophet of the Lord and he trained Elisha. It is encouraging to see that the Lord knew exactly what was in the heart of Elijah. Therefore, no other task could have made Elijah happier, than the fact that God had found him a replacement and his job was coming to an end.
The Lord knows how much things hurt us and what our desires are. God sees all things from the right perspective and takes care that all will work together and blend harmoniously for our best, but He will not work in our lives unless we want and allow Him to do so. There are extreme situations when God intervenes to save our lives or to stop bad attacks against us and most of the time He does it without us even realizing it, but God never forces us to do His will, if we do not want to do it.
ONLY IN JESUS CAN WE FIND TRUE REST
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” - Matthew 11:29-30
We are content, full of energy and ready to do whatever we have to do if we are well rested. Sleep is not rest. Sleep and rest work together in getting every part of us restored, but they are not the same thing. When we find ourselves in a place of exhaustion, where we have become grouchy and lose our temper more easily, at such times, others even find it difficult to be around us because we are actually in a place of “burn out.”
Specialists have defined five stages of sleep, from light sleep to very deep. During the night sleep, we normally cycle in and out of the five stages of sleep. We wake up rested if the majority of our sleeping hours were in the deep stages of sleep. Also, to wake up rested it is important to get at least 20% of the sleep time where we dream and process information.
Sleeping is for our physical body, but for us to be restored and refreshed when we wake up next morning, we need to experience the rest that Jesus is talking about in the above verses.
It is important to do everything from a position of being “yoked with Jesus.” When we remain in Him and He in us, it changes everything. We seek His help to follow His direction. When we ask for His counsel to do things His way, we know we can depend on Him and learn from Him in every situation. By learning to do all things with Jesus and being meek, gentle, humble and submissive to God, we find true rest and peace for our souls. When our hearts and minds are at peace, we will be able to sleep deep, to truly rest and to be our best, that God created us to be. Life is good and blessed when we live it for the Lord!
GOD BLESSED THE DAY OF REST FOR OUR GOOD
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. - Exodus 20:11
God created the week with six working days and day of rest, the Sabbath, for a reason. He created us in such a way, that after six working days we need a day of rest. We focus on our relationship with Him most of our sabbath, relaxing and only doing whatever work that cannot be avoided. This is for our benefit
We also need to achieve the right balance between work and rest daily. If there are activities that leave us feeling drained, tired and exhausted all the time, we need to pay attention and take action. We also need to listen to our body and behavior. If we start to have frequent headaches, different body aches, neck pain and muscle soreness; if we find ourselves getting upset, angry or offended easier; if we feel depressed, stressed and cannot justify many of our activities, then we have reached the point of being physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually exhausted, or to put it simply: burned out.
When we are that tired, even a vacation with lots of activities can make things worse and when it’s over, we will need a vacation to rest from our vacation. We need to identify the areas where we feel the most effects of being exhausted, ask the Holy Spirit to show us ways to get refilled in our drained areas and to help us determine the right balance between our work hours and rest on a daily basis, so that we will be able to be the most productive and still keep our peace and joy.
BY FAITH IN GOD WE MAY HAVE SUCCESS AND PEACEFUL SLEEP
Thus says the Lord: “… Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” - Jeremiah 17:5a,7-8
The Lord spoke the above words through Jeremiah, to show us the core of His blessings for those who trust in Him. Faith in God keeps us well nourished and hydrated. We lack nothing as long as we keep God first and ask His help for a balanced life. We all go through seasons in life where we have more duties and responsibilities than we can handle and this is what I will address here and in a few other devotionals.
It seems like the more our society progresses, the more occupied and tired we are. Why do people feel more tired, exhausted, fatigued and drained out? The most common answer to the “How are you?” question is: “Good, but busy.” We have become so busy with so many activities, that we stop doing what really benefits us and we stress out by doing too much for too many.
Oftentimes we forget that we feel the best when we enjoy what we are doing and that there is rest in doing so. Instead we all struggle to get more done, even with the cost of lacking rest and sleep. The more tired we are, the less joy, peace, contentment and happiness we have. How can we fix this? God created our bodies to be restored during deep sleep. If our night sleep is light and any little noise wakes us up, we are not truly resting and our bodies are not getting the regeneration we need. As a result, we feel tired all the time.
We get real rest while sleeping, when our brain ceases its active processing. This is when we lose our conscious awareness about our surroundings and our brains and bodies enter in a quiet state. The best way to make this happen is to take a few minutes before going to bed to “unwind,” having a conversation with God telling Him what bothered us during the day and then giving Him whatever caused us to feel confined, tense or bound. We need to give it all to Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to show us the right Scripture that will help us pray correctly about whatever the problem is. Whatever hurt or offended us and all the issues that we feel we need to take care of or solve, but we cannot really do anything about, we pray about it according to what the Bible says God’s will is and based on it, we know that God hears and answers our prayers! If we do this in each area that bothers us, until we have peace about it, we will be able to rest by sleeping deep.
EVERLASTING PEACE AND REST ARE THE RESULT OF A RIGHTEOUS LIFE
The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, - Isaiah 32:17-18
When we truly belong to God and live in obedience to Him, through Jesus’ sacrifice we are counted righteous. Being in right standing with God results in “peace, quietness and assurance forever.” This is an amazing promise and it is the truth! Because we are God’s children, we dwell in a peaceful habitation. We can have constant inner peace in knowing that “in Jesus we are in a secure dwelling,” where we can rest in silence. We can ignore all fears and worries choosing to have peace and rest in knowing in that we are in Christ, in whom we belong to and who takes care of us and our future.
It is up to us to never forget all the truths mentioned in the previous paragraph. We are often surrounded by many unbelievers that worry and despair about everything. If we do not keep our focus on Jesus and the truth of His Word, we may find ourselves starting to think and react like those around us. Our character is constantly affected by the behavior and words of those around us. The truth of the above verses cannot become a reality in our lives if we do not spend enough time in fellowship with our Lord and we are not on guard to not copy the words and behavior of the unbelievers that circumstances often require us to be around.