Elijah is Suicidal--God's Response and the New Covenant pt.3

Andrew Fountain
Sun, 2022-07-03

Video cover image by Grand Canyon NPS CC BY 2.0

  • In this extraordinary story, God replaced his old way of speaking with a new way, through Jesus.
  • It is imperative that you learn to hear this voice.
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Sermon Slides - Elijah is Suicidal—God’s Response and the New Covenant pt.3


That each of us would hear the gentle voice of Jesus
and not our self-blame, criticism and self-condemnation,
which constantly tell us our weaknesses.

1 Kings 17:4

  1. [Elijah] came and sat down under a juniper tree.
    and he asked that he might die, saying,
  2. “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life,
    for I am no better than my fathers.”

“I am a failure! I have achieved nothing! and it is all too much for me.”

How will God answer?

  • Your suicidal thoughts are sin and you will be punished
  • You stupid man, shut up and get on with your task
  • Don’t focus on yourself, but on others
  • I accept your resignation, Elijah!
  • Just try to think positive thoughts
  • Yes, you are a pathetic failure, but I love you anyway


  • I know your pain, and am going to gently meet you, just where you need to be met
  • I am going to show your value to me by giving you one of the biggest prophetic revelations any human has yet received.
  • That is how much I value you!
  • I want to do four things in this presentation

Elijah is Suicidal—God’s Response and the New Covenant pt.3

  1. The Old & New Covenants—Quick recap
  2. The Prophet who wanted to end his life
  3. God’s Extraordinary Response: the New Covenant
  4. Hearing the Quiet Whisper Ourselves

1. The Old & New Covenants—Quick recap

  • What is a Covenant? —My definition:

“A forever relationship with serious commitments”

  • A relationship (often friendship or family), not merely a legal contract.
    • the only things in our society which are like covenants are marriages and adoptions
    • even they are not quite the same as a covenant because there are provisions for ending them
  • We read through Genesis 15 and watching it re-enacted (watch the video)

Gen 15 portrayal

Gen 15 portrayal

Gen 15 portrayal

Gen 15 portrayal

Gen 15 portrayal

Gen 15 portrayal

  • Note that this was a special covenant with Abraham, not what we call the Old Covenant or the New Covenant
    • But it was a picture of the New Covenant
    • why does only God go between the pieces (not dependent on Abraham)
    • Abraham was not on the hook, but God was!

Three Covenants

  1. Covenant with Abraham (grace) —a picture of the New Covenant
  2. “Old Covenant” (laws, performance)
  3. New Covenant (grace)
  • God made a covenant with the whole nation of Israel in Old Testament times
  • He gave them a lot of laws and commandments
    • If they kept them, then he would give them
      • financial blessing
      • health and long life
      • lots of children
    • If then broke them then
      • He would punish them
      • He would take away all the good things
      • Ultimately the nation would be destroyed
  • It was all based on their performance
    • It was gracious (they were totally undeserving)
    • But that is not the same as saying it was a covenant of grace
  • It was mostly external, not about the heart

The New Covenant

  • To be a Christian is to be part of the New Covenant
    • This was actually God’s plan all along. The purpose of the Old was to teach the need for the New
  • The clearest prophecy in the Old Testament about the New Covenant is in Jeremiah 31:31
  • This is unpacked and explained in Hebrews 8
    • The Four promises of the New Covenant:


Hebrews 8

A. God’s law written on our hearts I will put my laws in their minds and I will inscribe them on their hearts.
B. We will belong to him and he will belong to us And I will be their God and they will be my people.
C. No need for priests between us and God 11. And there will be no need at all for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, “Know the Lord,” since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.
D. Our sins are all forgiven 12. For I will be merciful toward their wrongdoing, and their sins I will remember no more.

A. God’s law written on our hearts

  • story of trapped butterfly

B. We belong to him and he belongs to us

  • I think the most important element of this part of the N.C. is that it is unshakable
    • Think of God going between the animals
    • Not dependent on our feelings
    • Whole point of the book of Hebrews is “better promises”
    • This is what we can hang onto in the storms of life
      • “an anchor within the veil”

C. We can all hear God for ourselves and don’t need to be totally dependent on “priests”

  • God still gives teachers to his people
    • but they are to be listened to with discernment
    • Since we have the Spirit, we can discern truth from error, and are responsible!

D. Our sins are all forgiven

  • But many Christians today live lives full
    • of guilt & self-condemnation
    • of anxiety over their failings
    • of feelings of being inadequate and failing God all the time
    • of a sense that God is angry with them and is judging them
  • This is particularly what we will look at today


  • If you are a member of the New Covenant:
  1. You have a new heart, that like a butterfly wants to soar
  2. You are God’s beloved and he is your beloved. You are secure in the relationship
  3. You relate to God directly, not through priests
  4. You are totally forgiven and God is never judging you or condemning you

2. The Prophet who wanted to end his life

  • God is going to re-run the story of Moses from the Exodus from Egypt to the Old Covenant at Mt Sinai, but with a radically different ending

1 Kings 19 – Elijah and the Gentle Whisper

  • Notes:
    1. He is running for his life into the wilderness, just as Moses & the Israelites were
    2. cakes - same word used for what the Israelites made with manna they baked it in pans and made cakes of it
    3. Mt Horeb is another name for Mt Sinai, where Moses met God
    4. Ex 19:20 “the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mount, and Moses went up.
    5. Elisha never killed anyone—in fact there is an amazing story:

2 Kings 6:13. It was told the king of Syria, “Behold, Elisha is in Dothan.”

  1. So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
  2. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.”
  3. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
  4. As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
  5. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?”
  6. So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

3. God’s Extraordinary Response: the New Covenant

Exodus 19

  1. On the third day in the morning there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud horn; all the people who were in the camp trembled.
  2. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their place at the foot of the mountain.
  3. Now Mount Sinai was completely covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently.
  4. When the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, Moses was speaking and God was answering him with a voice.
  5. The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and the LORD summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Exodus 20

  1. All the people were seeing the thundering and the lightning, and heard the sound of the horn, and saw the mountain smoking — and when the people saw it they trembled with fear and kept their distance.
  2. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we will listen, but do not let God speak with us, lest we die.”

Exodus 24, 25

  1. Moses went up the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.
  2. The glory of the LORD resided on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses from within the cloud.
  3. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in plain view of the people.
  4. Moses went into the cloud when he went up the mountain, and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
  5. The LORD spoke to Moses:… (The Laws of the Old Covenant)
  • Later it tells us that for those forty days and forty nights Moses ate nothing (same as Elijah in our story)

Parallels with Moses

  1. Has to escape into the wilderness
  2. Supernatural provision of food
  3. Then 40 days of fasting
  4. Led by God to Mount Sinai
  5. Told by God to climb the mountain
  6. Earthquake and fire
  7. Hears the voice of God: The Covenant
  • What must have been going through his mind?
    • Terrified—now he has to face the law! How he has failed God!

God is re-running Sinai,
and replacing the Law

  • Replaces the fire, earthquake and terrifying noise
    with a gentle whisper
  • Prophetic:
    God is going to replace the Sinai Covenant
    with a new way of speaking to humanity
  • The gentle voice of Jesus

Zechariah 9 —Jesus

  1. Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
          Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
    See, your king comes to you,
          righteous and having salvation,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
          on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Isaiah 42 – Jesus

  1. He will not cry out or lift up his voice,
    or make it heard in the street;
  2. a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a faintly burning wick he will not snuff out;
    he will faithfully bring forth justice.

How did God respond to Elijah’s self-destructive mental illness?

  • “I value you so much, I am going to take you beyond Moses”
  • “And I am going to do this extremely gently, because that is all you can take right now”

Elisha & Jesus

Many similar miracles, but at a much smaller scale

  • Broke loaves and fed 100 people
  • Healed a leper (Naaman)
  • Healed the blind
  • Float on water (axe-head)
  • Love your enemies (made a feast for them)

Elijah & John the Baptist

  • Anointed Elisha/Jesus
  • Prepared the way, calling for repentance
  • A tough ministry
  • Moment of darkness, with a gentle response from God

Matthew 11

  1. …John… sent his disciples to ask a question:
  2. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
  3. Jesus answered them, “Go tell John what you hear and see:
  4. The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them.
  5. “I tell you the truth, among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist.
  6. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, who is to come.

Elijah is Suicidal—God’s Response and the New Covenant pt.3

  1. The Old & New Covenants—Quick recap
  2. The Prophet who wanted to end his life
  3. God’s Extraordinary Response: the New Covenant
  4. Hearing the Quiet Whisper Ourselves

4. Hearing the Quiet Whisper Ourselves

The New Covenant is about hearing the gentle voice of Jesus!

  • We all feel like this sometimes
  • Even the loud narcissist who thinks he is more important than anyone else?
  • Deep inside is a terrified child
  • This inner voice telling us we are worthless is one of the fundamental roots of mental illness and addiction

Often there is some guilt

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin

  • Is this gentle whisper Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
    • Both! It is Jesus speaking through the Spirit. this would be another talk

The Gentle Voice of Jesus

  • It is critical that you listen to his voice, not the thunder
  • When you sin, remember how gentle he was with Peter!
  • The prodigal son, the woman in adultery —so gentle
  • He has a destiny for you, a seat at his right hand

How did God respond?

“It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life,
for I am no better than my fathers.”

  • With a soft and gentle voice
  • With a gift of extreme value:
    A prophetic revelation that replaced the law of Moses with Jesus
  • Let him whisper your value to you right now!

Updated on 2022-07-03 by Andrew Fountain