C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
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24. Elijah Fainting.

But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. - I Kings 19:4.

We may learn much from the lives of others Elijah himself is not only a prophet but a prophecy. His experience is our instruction.

Sometimes we enter into a strange and mysterious state of depression, and it is well to learn from Scripture that another has been in that Valley of Deathshade. Weary, and sick at heart, sorely tried ones are apt to faint. At such a time they imagine that some strange thing has happened unto them; but, indeed, it is not so. Looking down upon the sands of time they may see the print of a man's foot, and it ought to comfort them when they learn that he was no mean man, but a mighty servant of the Lord. Let us study:

I. ELIJAH'S WEAKNESS. "He requested for himself that he might die."

1. He was a man of like passions with us (James 5:17).

He failed in the point wherein he was strongest; as many other saints have done. Abraham, Job, Moses, Peter, etc.

This proved that he was strong not by nature, but in divine strength. He was no unfeeling man of iron, with nerves of steel. The wonder is not that he fainted, but that he ever stood up in the fierce heat which beat upon him.

2. He suffered from a terrible reaction. Those who go up go down. The depth of depression is equal to the height of rapture.

3. He suffered grievous disappointment, for Ahab was still under Jezebel's sway, and Israel was not won to Jehovah.

4. He was sadly weary with the excitement of Carmel, and the unwonted run by the side of Ahab's chariot.

5. His wish was folly. "O Lord, take away my life."

He fled from death. If he wished to die, Jezebel would have obliged him, and he needed not to have fled.

He was more needed than ever to maintain the good cause.

That cause was also more than ordinarily hopeful, and he ought to have wished to live to see better times.

He was never to die. Strange that he who was to escape death should cry, "Take away my life!" How unwise are our prayers when our spirits sink!

6. His reason was untrue. It was not enough: and the Lord had made him, in some respects, better than his fathers.

He had more to do than they, and he was stronger, more bold, more lonely in witness, and more terrible in majesty.

He had more to enjoy than most of the other prophets, for he had greater power with God, and had wrought miracles surpassed by none.

He had been more favored by special providence and peculiar grace, and was yet to rise above all others in the manner of his departure: the chariots of God were to wait upon him.


1. He allowed him to sleep: this was better than medicine, or inward rebuke, or spiritual instruction.

2. He fed him with food convenient and miraculously nourishing.

3. He made him perceive angelic care. "An angel touched him."

4. He allowed him to tell his grief (verse 10): this is often the readiest relief. He stated his case, and in so doing eased his mind.

5. He revealed himself and his ways. The wind, earthquake, fire, and still small voice were voices from God. When we know what God is we are less troubled about other matters.

6. He told him good news: "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel" (verse 18). His sense of loneliness was thus removed.

7. He gave him more to do - to anoint others by whom the Lord's purposes of chastisement and instruction should be carried on.

Let us learn some useful lessons.

It is seldom right to pray to die; that matter is best left with God; we may not destroy our own lives, nor ask the Lord to do so.

To the sinner it is never right to seek to die; for death to him is hell. The willful suicide seals his own sure condemnation.

To the saint such a wish is allowable, only within bounds. He may long for heaven, but not for the mere sake of getting away from service or suffering, disappointment or dishonor.

To desire death may be proper under some aspects; but not to pray for it with eagerness.

When we do wish to die, the reason must not be impatient, passionate, petulant, proud, or indolent.

We have no idea of what is in store for us in this life. We may yet see the cause prosper and ourselves successful.

In any case let us trust in the Lord and do good, and we need never be afraid.

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