This week’s teaching from Paige Benton Brown made me think of all the people I talk to, believers and unbelievers alike, and even how I myself can be when I face really hard circumstances. We forget what God is really like, forgetting He is for us, not against us. We forget how He has delivered us time and time again, how He has been with us in trials, and of the love that took Him to the cross for us. When we were filming “The Jesus Who Surprises,” a homeless woman “happened” to come. To her great surprise, she discovered the real God, so different from the god she had created in her mind.
Her testimony is a perfect set up for this week. This is Jennifer:
Whatever you are facing, or whatever you fear facing, you need this study.
So far in our study of Elijah, this hero of Scripture has had amazing unstoppable faith. He miraculously fed the widow, brought her son back to life, and defeated Baal. Paige compared him to Daniel Day-Lewis in “The Last of the Mohicans.” This man of men was running up mountains, swimming upstream, and rescuing the maiden from death.
In the parking lot afterward, one of her single friends fell to her knees, threw up her arms, and cried:
Where are the Mohicans?
And this week when we wonder:
Where is the Elijah we have seen?
He is despairing, wanting to die.
To watch this week, click below.
(Remember, it comes down Tues. night)
Thursday: Context of Despair
- Read 1 Kings 19:1-9
A. What does Ahab tell Jezebel and how does she respond? Why is this surprising considering what Ahab must have reported? (1-2)
B. How does Elijah respond when he hears this? (3-5)
C. What does God do? (6-9 )
D. The God who created us knows we need rest and food. How is His love evidenced here, and how does this speak to you?
E. How is Elijah demonstrating “selective memory?”
2. Watch Paige up to Minute 19 when she says: “We are not determined by our context but by our hearts.
A. What is Elijah focusing on, and what is he not focusing on?
B. How do you see the same thing happening in the time of Jesus? See John 3:19.
C. What is the punishment for not believing?
D. Paige said we are living in a time like that now, but we are not the first people to do so. Thoughts?
E. What else stands out to you and why? Application?
Friday: Cause 1: Pushing God to the Background
Many of you know the story behind my daughter’s painting of Aslan that is now in the Marion Wade Museum. She painted it to try to understand why God allows so much suffering. A mysterious lamb appeared in the painting, a lamb who looked as though he had been slain. But even Sally herself didn’t see it at first, she was so focused on the lion and how at times God could feel “not safe.” But in the background was a lamb. Once she saw that lamb, it was all she could see, and it comforted her, for she remembered that though there are times God does not feel safe, He is good, for He is the Lamb who was slain for us. (If you want to see Sally tell the story, click here and scroll down: https://deebrestin.com/aslan/
3. Watch Paige from minute 19 up to 32:13 when she is talking about the “Magic Eye” paintings and says: “Once you see it you can’t unsee it.”
A. What is the first cause of Elijah’s despair?
B. Paige says despair is understandable but not excusable. Why?
C. She emphasizes that the Bible never says this life will be easy. Why is this important to remember?
4. Read 1 Corinthians 4:7-12 and describe Paul’s perspective in hard circumstances. How could this help you?
5. Examples from Scripture:
A. When David was down, instead of listening to his downcast soul, he talked to it. Read Psalm 42 and explain what he did.
B. What mistake did Peter make when walking on the water toward Jesus?
C. When the twelve spies came back from scoping out the promised land, only two were confident. Why?
6. What does Colossians 3:1-5 tell us to do?
7. Are you facing something hard right now? How could you talk to your soul? Where is your focus?
Saturday: Two More Causes of Despair:
8. Watch Paige from minute 32:13 to minute 45. Out of Bounds and In A Box. Stop at when she says Elijah “believes he cares more about God than God cares about him.”
A. Many will accept God or God’s direction in their life as long as they can call the boundaries. How do you see this attitude in Elijah in verses 4?
B. What are some other examples Paige gave of people feeling “God is out of bounds!”
C. Was there ever a time when you felt God was asking too much of you? If so, how did you get past that?
D. John Newton said: “Everything is necessary that he sends, nothing can be necessary that He withholds.” Thoughts?
Imagine, Paige said, that the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art Delivered a 20 by 14 foot Monet to your door and you tried to fit it into your small frame. That is what we do with God. We try to put Him in our small box.
9. If God shows up in your life, He will “blow up” your whole life (in a good way.) How has He done that?
God Hunt Sunday:
The reason we do this each Sabbath is to help us fight selective memory about God.
10. How has God been tender to you as He was to Elijah in helping him rest and eat?
11. How has He met you in your need as He met the widow, and as He met Elijah in defeating the prophets of Baal?
12. Why is it good that we remember these things and tell them to our children?
Monday: Cure for Despair
When we meet the real God we are undone by His beauty, His magnetism.
13. Listen to Paige from minute 45 to 57:30 when she tells of a woman in an ice cream store running into Paul Newman.
A. She said, Elijah didn’t need a sermon, he needed sleep and food. Have you ever despaired of life or God and then realized you were just hungry, tired, or isolated from fellowship? If so, share.
B. What was her point with her story of the little boy hiking with his grampa and saying, “I’m done. I used up my last pair of legs?”
C. Share a time when God carried you because you used up your last pair of legs.
14. Read 1 Kings 19:9-11
A. Where was Elijah and where did God invite him to come and why?
B. What was Paige’s point about inviting her sick little boy to come vomit on her?
C. She said Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai are the same mountain. How is Elijah’s experience similar to that of Moses?
D. Paige gave an illustration of when they had a power outage and her toddler daughter began screaming in her crib. What did Paige finally do that helped her daughter calm down? Her point?
15. Read Psalm 73:1-5 and Psalm 73:17 and explain how Asaph gained perspective.
16. Read 1 Kings 19:11-13
A. Describe what happened in this passage and where the Lord was finally to be found. What is He endeavoring to communicate to us? (Think of Jennifer’s testimony.)
B. How is Elijah approaching the Lord here? (verse 13)
C. God is holy, but through Jesus we can see what He is also like. What do you see in Jesus that shows how approachable and compassionate He is?
Tuesday: How God Communicates With Us
God primarily communicates to us through His Word, which is what He does now with Elijah.
17. Read 1 Kings 19:12-18
A. What is God endeavoring to communicate through verse 12?
B. He comes to us gently through His Word — but often our hearts are not ready to hear Him. What has helped you to prepare your heart when you are in His Word?
C. What is Elijah’s perspective in verse 14?
D. What does God tell Elijah in verse 18?
E. What does God also tell Elijah to do in verses 15-17?
18. Listen to Paige to the end.
A. Paige said “Despair comes from chasing our own plan. Delight comes from following His.” Have you experienced this? If so — how?
B. She gave examples of the above from both Elisabeth Elliot and Joni Erickson Tada. Choose one and explain.
C. Moses and Elijah were not destroyed because they hid in the rock. What does Psalm 18:2-3 say?
D. Who is the rock according to 1 Corinthians 10:4 say?
Sing along with this:
19. What is your take-a-way and why?