Ever Want To Die?
Have you ever felt like you wanted to die? As I was reading the Word this morning, in Job, it occurred to me that several people in the Bible prayed to God to just let them die. It wasn’t just Job. These people were amazing people who did HUGE things for the Kingdom. Why did they want to die? How did God respond to all of them? Here are a few of them.
Moses was so tired of the people he was leading. They were complaining and not being thankful. It was incredibly taxing to him. He became exhausted trying to lead them. He does not know what to do with all the negativity and feels like he needs way more help than he is getting. He feels his efforts are in vein trying to lead the Israelites. Here is his cry.
And if this is the way You deal with me, kill me, I pray You, at once, and be granting me a favor and let me not see my wretchedness [in the failure of all my efforts]. Numbers 11:15
God calls Job a righteous man but calamity after calamity comes upon Job and he begs God to just let him die. He even wishes he was never born. The entire chapter 3 in the book of Job is dedicated to Job’s crying out in anguish over wanting to die. There are many other accounts in the book of Job of him begging to die as well. Job was at such a low point and he eventually makes it through. In the end he is restored and everything he had lost he gets back and then some.
Elijah fed a starving widow and her son in a miraculous encounter. He actually raised her son from the dead. He then moves on to defeat the prophets of Baal, 450 men at one time! He slaughters them and thus releases a drought that had been over the land for 3 1/2 years. He also runs faster than the Kings chariot back to Jezreel. All of these things are complete miracles, each one being spectacular in itself. But then we know that he gets depressed and finds himself suicidal under a broom tree.
‘While he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1Kings 19:4
Jonah was a prophet who despised the people of Ninevah. He knew Gold told him to go there to rescue the people. He knew of God’s mercy but did not want to preach it to the people of Ninevah. He gets mad at God’s kindness to the Ninivites and shows his anger. He asks God two separate times to die. Here is one account.
So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” (Jonah 4:1-3)
In all of these scenarios God did not grant them their request but rather taught them HOW to pray. When they felt low, He taught them how to pray. When they felt at the end, He taught them how to pray. Prayer and praise go hand in hand. You notice when the praise stops, the defeatist mentality sets in. When their eyes got off of the Lord and on their circumstances, depression and defeat were waiting around the corner.
If you read from some of the previous posts I have written, I think that much of what these men were dealing with was exhaustion. When great men of God, who know His voice, find themselves in the pit of despair, I think it is often attributed to exhaustion. It could be a physical one or a mental one but nevertheless I see it in scripture. When we keep a life of prayer and an attitude of worship, it refreshes us. Now it does not mean you won’t go through things that make you feel low. It does mean that when you do feel on empty, you have a means of refilling. All the amazing things that God uses us to do does not make us invincible. We have to rest. God himself rested. I don’t think we are going to get around that one.
Notice King David in most of the Psalms. He would go through an intense period of depression because of serious situations he would face. He would start off a Psalm in despair and then by the end he would get a hold of those two things that would pull him through. He knew how to pray (which is simply a conversation with God) and he knew how to praise (lifting up God’s name). His attitude would always change after he did these things. He knew that at times there was trouble that was facing him but with God on his side, it was all going to be ok.
Praise has a way of changing our perspective!