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Dealing with Despair

A devotional by Grace To You for reading on September 22nd

"Take the helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17).

Your helmet of salvation protects you from discouragement and despair.

We've seen how Satan attacks believers with his two-edged sword of doubt and discouragement. But he doesn't stop there. He tries to take you beyond discouragement to despair by robbing you of hope. Unless you're careful, his attacks will be successful when you're battle-weary.

The prophet Elijah is an illustration of that truth. The highlight of his ministry came atop Mount Carmel, where he slew 450 prophets of Baal ( 1 Kings 18:40 40 and Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. ). Yet immediately after that great victory, he fled for his life because Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him ( 1 Kings 19:1- Chapter 19 1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 3).

He ran from Mount Carmel into the wilderness of Beersheba, where he "sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers'" (v. 4). He went on to moan, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (v. 10).

Elijah lost hope because he failed to see his circumstances through the eyes of faith; he was attempting to fight the battle on his own. He allowed himself to become emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent, and became overwhelmed with self-pity. He felt utterly alone.

But God hadn't abandoned Elijah. He was still in control and His people were numerous (v. 18). But Elijah had, in effect, removed his helmet of salvation and received a near-fatal blow to his confidence in God's blessing on his life.

There may be times when, like Elijah, you lose your confidence and doubt God's faithfulness. At such times, putting on the helmet of salvation means taking your eyes off your circumstances and trusting in God's promises. You may not always sense His presence or understand what He's doing, but be assured He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5) and His purposes will always be accomplished Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His unchanging character and irrevocable promises.

For Further Study

Read Isaiah 40:29-31 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. and Galatians 6:9 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. .

  • What promises are given in those passages?
  • In what specific ways do they apply to your life?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Copyright 2016 by John MacArthur. Used by permission from Grace to You.

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