It is enough!

9:03:00 AM

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I want to read a story that I just read recently. There was a church service that was going on. All of a sudden there was a bolt of lightning and after the smoke cleared there was Satan himself standing at the pulpit. Everyone got scared and started running out of the hall except for an old woman who was sitting calmly. Satan looks at the woman surprised and asks her, “Aren’t you scared of me?” The woman replies, “Not at all.” Satan asks her, “How come?” She replied, “How can I be scared of you? I’ve been married to your brother for the last 30 years!”
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Are we ready? Turn to the person next to you and tell him or her that you’re ready!

I want to start by reading the text today and then we will pray.

1 Kings 19:1-4, “1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 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." 3 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. 4 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!" NKJV

I have titled today’s message as “It is enough”.

Elijah was a great prophet. When we read about his story, we know that he is the one who appeared before King Ahab who was king of Israel at the time and declared that there would be no rain. Ahab and his wife Jezebel were wicked and did not walk in the ways of the Lord. The next three years there was no rain. There was also a severe famine where the Lord miraculously provided for Elijah first sending ravens and then from a widow. Elijah goes back to Ahab and takes all of them to Mount Carmel and in front of the king and all the Israelites calls down fire from heaven and burns up all the offering. He even kills 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. Then he calls upon the Lord and the Lord even sent rain.

Here is a man who experienced great things from God and did great things for God but now he’s come to a place where he’s depressed. Just as the nation of Israel is coming out of a drought, he is entering into one. IT’s not a drought which someone can see. IT is something internal which many of us are living in where no one can see it. Here’s where we pick up reading about Elijah, he is in that place where internally he’s broken down and feels that he can’t go forward anymore. He tells the Lord that it’s enough!

Have we ever been in a place where we’ve told the Lord that it is enough? That you can’t take it anymore? We’ve been at the same thing for so long but now we’ve come into that place where we just feel that we don’t have the strength to fight through it anymore.

Now the traditional interpretation is that Elijah ran away because he was afraid. There are some translations that read that way too. But Elijah was a courageous man and if we were to speak on his courage then that would be another message by in itself. Elijah wasn’t afraid to call all the people onto the mountain and challenge all the prophets of Baal. He wasn’t afraid to go to Ahab and tell him that it won’t rain. He wasn’t afraid to kill 850 false prophets! So now when Jezebel tells him that she’s going to kill him, he gets afraid and just runs? He runs so much that he collapses and asks God to take his life? No, there has to be something more. If Elijah has to tell God that it is enough then I am thinking maybe there is something more.

Disappointment


Usually when we talk about disappointment, we talk about the disappointment of defeat. We would’ve expected Elijah to run of course if he had stood upon Mt. Carmel and God didn’t show up. If God had not shown up there on Mt. Carmel then his disappointment would’ve made sense because his faith would’ve been shaken up and he would not really know what to do. We would run if we were standing up in front of the false prophets of Baal and taunting them that our God would do something and that theirs wouldn’t then yes, we would run. IT’s understandable for us to go through disappointment when we pray all that we can and as hard as we can and God doesn’t do what we want Him to do for us. We become disappointed with God. We become disappointed with life as a whole.

But some of the most disappointed people today are not the ones who haven’t seen results. They are not the ones whose prayers God did not answer. If we look, God has answered all of their prayers. IT’s just that something didn’t match. Let me see if I can explain this:

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Now, I know I might offend some on what I am just about to say especially from the young people. I know I am going to break the hearts of some. In fact, some of the young people are going to go out from here and say that what I am saying is absolutely wrong. But here’s what I want to say. I am a BIG believer in arranged marriages. I am not against love marriages but it’s just that I prefer arranged maybe because my marriage was an arranged one. I met my wife Anu just twice before marriage. Yes, that’s right, just twice. One was for the first time in what you would call a traditional pennu kannal and one was for our engagement. That’s it.

Surveys say that arranged marriages last longer than love marriages. They say that love marriages have a higher ratio of divorce compared to arranged marriages. They believe the number one reason is because of this one word: ‘Expectation’.


People who get married in arranged marriages have generally lower expectations from each other compared to love marriages whose expectations from each other are very high. So there are couples who have been in love for years together and then finally get married. Then they are shocked to find out that the person they thought they knew for years together is not the same person after marriage! Here’s what I’ve heard from some: “I never knew this part of that person existed!” In arranged marriages however, because they don’t know each other that well, they go into the marriage not expecting too much. The bar on their expectations is much lower because they go into it not knowing what to really expect.
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Here’s a truth about disappointments! Disappointment is the gap between expectation and reality.

There is a certain expectation we all have about various things in our lives but reality turns out to be quite another and what we are left is or with is in between that gap with our disappointment!
So here’s a question for all of us today: What are you expecting? Turn to someone and ask them that.
That’s what happened to John the Baptist. You see, Jesus compares John the Baptist to Elijah and both John and Elijah had one thing in common. Both had an idea of what the kingdom of God looked like but when God starting establishing it, it happened in a way that they were not expecting. John was doing all these great things for God, asking people to repent and turn from their ways. John got arrested and was in prison. Meanwhile Jesus was out there preaching the Kingdom. John was not expecting to be in prison. He was not expecting it to be this way. Maybe he was asking God that why he was there? He was doing what God had asked him to do and still he ends up being in prison. We know that disobedience to God can lead us to bad places but sometimes obedience can do so too! He was hurting and from prison sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus whether Jesus was the One to expect or whether they should expect someone else.


Matthew 11:2-6, “2 John, meanwhile, had been locked up in prison. When he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples 3 to ask, "Are you the One we've been expecting, or are we still waiting?" 4 Jesus told them, "Go back and tell John what's going on: 5 The blind see, The lame walk, Lepers are cleansed, The deaf hear, The dead are raised, The wretched of the earth learn that God is on their side. 6 "Is this what you were expecting? Then count yourselves most blessed!" (The Message)


That’s good right? Jesus is asking John’s disciples to look at what’s going on now. Yes, John obeyed God and now all of these things are happening. But John was not expecting this. He was expecting the judgment of God to fall upon all those who didn’t listen! He was preaching repentance and therefore expected judgment on those who didn’t. But now in verse 5, the wretched are learning that God is on their side! John is disappointed.

Isn’t it true that many times we expect God to do something for us but He does things in a way that we don’t expect? Then we get disappointed. God is working but because we want Him to do things our way we get disappointed. We get disappointed with God and disappointed with life.

Coming back to the story of Elijah, Elijah was disappointed.  Three years he was running, waiting on 
God to give the Word to release the rain. He thought that after the powerful Mt. Carmel victory that the people would repent and turn back to God. It didn’t happen. Then he thought that when the rain came and the drought was over, the nation would atleast now turn back to God. Nothing happened and nothing changed. When it was finally proven to be true that He is God, then the nation’s heart will be turned back. You see because Elijah’s goal was never rain, it was repentance. So when Jezebel who was running the nation, sent word that he would die, I believe that Elijah’s fear was not that he would die, but that nothing would change.

It’s not difficult to do certain things when you know that results will follow. When we study for our exams and give it our all expecting that we will get good results but somehow when the results comes, we find that we’ve failed, it gets difficult. When we go to work every day, do things that are more than expected at our workplace and find that our salaries are still the same, we get disappointed. When we’ve done all that we know how to raise up our children and find that they are still not right and doing all the wrong things; we even think as to who taught them this? We get disappointed! When we’ve prayed for healing and find that the medical reports are still the same, we get disappointed.

And Elijah said it’s enough! I’m done, I’m out, and I can’t anymore! But take a look at what God does!


1 Kings 19:4-8, “4 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!" 5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat." 6 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. 7 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." 8 So he 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. NKJV


Until this point in the story, Elijah only went to places where God had asked him to go and God provided for him everywhere he went. God sent ravens to feed him in the brook. He gets a widow to feed him. Here he is now running away and not in a place where God has asked him to be in and God still provides for him here. Isn’t it amazing to know that sometimes we may not be doing what God has asked us to do but He cares for us so much and loves us so much that even in those moments and those places, He cares enough to provide for us? Amen!

2.     Opposition

Elijah had to face a lot of opposition. I mean he had opposition from the king, and then he had opposition from the prophets of Baal. But I don’t think any of that got him down so much that he said it’s enough. He took on all that opposition and that’s why I think even Jezebel’s threat wasn’t really much of a threat! I think what broke his heart was when the opposition came from a place he least expected it to come from!

1 Kings 19:9-10, “9 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?" 10 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." NKJV



Elijah’s response tells us why he said it was enough for him. HE was saying that I’ve done all of my responsibility! I’ve been zealous for you! I’ve done all that You’ve asked me to but these people, the Israelites!  Notice he’s already separated himself from his own people. Elijah was an Israelite too! You know how sometimes, married people complain about the children, “See what your son is doing! See what your daughter is doing!” Elijah says they tore down your altars, killed your prophets and now they are trying to kill me too!

It’s alright to fight with an opponent that is not of you. But what do you when the opposition comes from your own. See that’s how the enemy operates! He knows that it’s easy for the church to stand up and fight against opposition that comes from the outside. But what will the church do when the opposition comes from the inside. He creates division inside the church so that the church will not be able to stand when the attack comes from inside. That’s the easiest way to break through opposition. So he brings in un forgiveness, jealousy, bitterness etc.

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A few days ago, we had a discussion on our youth whatsapp group on forgiveness where I asked them a question as to when would we be most hurt? Would we be hurt by some random bus conductor who shouts as us or some professor who scolds us whom we barely know? Or would we be hurt by someone who is very close to us, whom we thought was on our side? The obvious answer was the ones who were close. This is also why it is most difficult to forgive them because we never expected them to hurt us of all the people!
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I expected to have to fight Jezebel, I expected to have to fight those who didn’t believe in God what I didn’t expect was to fight the inner me. That’s how the enemy is breaking down marriages today. He won’t come and attack a marriage through various trials because in trials the husband and wife will mostly stick together and will make them only stronger! He will attack by bringing in division amongst the husband and wife because then they can’t stand up strong!   

Elijah is hurt. He doesn’t have the strength to fight his own people. So he says that it is enough.

God provides food for him and in its strength he goes as far as the mountain of God and gets into a cave. That’s where we all go isn’t it? We don’t want to meet anyone and we don’t want to talk to anyone and here is God who comes looking for him because He doesn’t want him to be there.
But here’s how God has been working right through out and I don’t know if Elijah was even aware of it. God gives him enough food that he can keep going till he reaches the mountain of God and what do you expect to find on the mountain of God: The presence of God.

God doesn’t want him to end his life after coming this far. See this is the thing about this cave. It’s in the mountain of God where Elijah is in now. It’s in the presence of God where Elijah is in now. That is why God asked him a strategic question as to where are you Elijah…because I believe God wanted him to notice where he had reached. God wanted him in His presence because that’s where the change was going to come.


1 Kings 19:11-12, “11 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; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. NKJV

The still small voice was that of the Lord. Suddenly Elijah is back in the place where he is supposed to be. That’s in the presence of God.

You see, many times we go through life’s situations and difficult circumstances and are disappointed and have lots of opposition that we have to face. So we think that it’s impossible and that we have no strength and we are wondering how things will ever work out. We wonder what we can do to get out of this place where we are. We wonder if anything can be done. But that’s just the problem. We are so consumed by us that our focus is on the problems and what we can do about it.

This is what the enemy wants us to do. He wants us to lift our eyes off God and shift our eyes on to ourselves and our problems!


But God wants us to run back into His presence. That is where everything changes. Because when we are in God’s presence, our focus is no longer on us, our focus is no longer on the problems that we are facing, and our focus is shifted back on to the Creator who made us. Our focus is back on God.
They say that the number 1 disease that used to exist a few years ago was myocardial infarction that is your regular heart attack. But since the last 5 years or so it has been replaced with something else. Do you know what that is? It is Depression. People who are depressed have a sense of hopelessness and are very negative towards life. They feel like their life is useless and many times feel like ending their lives. 


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Let me put up those faces on the screen and let’s see if we can recognize them.


US president Abraham Lincoln was probably one of the greatest presidents ever lived. He was responsible largely for abolishing slavery.

Actress Angelina Jolie is probably one of the most accomplished actresses today. She has many hit movies to her name and was cited as Hollywood’s highest paid actresses.


‘Prince of Preachers’ Charles Spurgeon is a man who has been dead for over 100 years is still one of the revered preachers who ever lived in England. He reversed the course of history for the church.

Each of these three people, well known in their own fields had one thing in common. Each of them suffered from depression.

Abraham Lincoln was known for removing slavery and yet he suffered from depression. There was a movie that was based on his life. You should see it, when you know more about Lincoln’s wife; you will know why he suffered from depression!

Charles Spurgeon the great preacher was preaching one day in his church which had over 6000 people. One day a man from the balcony screamed, “Fire!” and in midst of the panic and people running, 4 people were trampled over and died. The mind of this young gifted preacher broke and Spurgeon went into depression. Over the next several weeks, the elders and the members of the church prayed round the clock for their pastor until the peace of God came over him. He walked back into the pulpit with the double portion anointing and shook the world with his preaching. 
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The number one reason for depression is thinking about yourself.

That is why God doesn’t want us focused on ourselves. He doesn’t want us to be focused on our problems. He wants us to focus in on Him.

This is why worship is so important. We have these worship sessions every month so that we can come into His presence and focus in on Him.  

Here’s what it says about Jesus in Isaiah 61:3, “3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." NKJV


Hear this: He gives us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. He gives us a garment of praise for the spirit of depression.

Heaviness or depression is not an emotion. It’s a spirit. We’ve heard of the fact that God has not given us a spirit of fear, fear is not an emotion, and it’s a spirit. If we treat fear as an emotion, we’ll never overcome it. It’s a spirit that attacks our emotions. The only way to overcome the spirit of fear is to take authority over it and cast it out. Fear comes so that we end up making a wrong decision. 

The enemy doesn’t want us to make faith based decisions but fear based ones.

Depression comes to swallow us in a blanket of self and negativity. God has given us a garment of praise for the spirit of depression. This means that I don’t come with it every day; I have to consciously make a choice to wear that garment. 

God is enthroned on the praises of His people. God and the devil cannot co-exist together. When we are facing a lot of problems and all we can think of is ourselves and our problems, we need to lift our focus off ourselves and put on the garment of praise. We have to praise Him in the midst of our problems. We are not praising Him for our problems but we are praising Him in the midst of it. When we start praising Him, the spirit of heaviness leaves us.

Listen to what David says here. Psalms 16:8-9, “8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. NKJV


David is saying that he has made a conscious choice to set the Lord before Him and therefore his heart is glad. What I do in the midst of my problems, I keep thinking about Him. If I think about me and my problems then I get depressed. When I put on the garment of praise, I begin to praise Him.

David says in Psalms 34:1-3, “1 I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together. NKJV

What is David saying here? When we praise Him, does God get any bigger? No, He doesn’t. When we worship, we magnify the Lord. He gets bigger in us. When we use a magnifying glass, the object doesn’t increase in size, it increases in size to us. That’s what happens when we worship. God gets bigger to us.


When we don’t worship, God becomes smaller in us and our problems becomes bigger and we become obsessed with ourselves. This is why it’s so important to worship the Lord in midst of our problems.

Elijah finally focused in on God. It’s not that his problems had been solved. But his perspective changed. God told him to go back to the place of his calling and he went back with a renewed strength and passion.

Today as we leave, I want each of us to ask the Holy Spirit to speak to us. Whatever are the problems that are there, whatever are the disappointments that we are carrying today, whatever are the oppositions we are facing today, let’s not let the enemy to swallow us in depression but let’s wear the garment of praise and magnify Him in our lives!


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1 comments

  1. Hey keep posting such sensible and significant articles.

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