Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin
A woman called Jezebel, a coward called Ahab, a prophet living in self-pity called Elijah.
We continue with our nineteenth “Defense Mechanism” which is known as the “Defense Mechanism” of subjectivity.
19) Subjectivity is the “Defense Mechanism” which involves self-pity in that you assume no-one loves you or cares about you and you feel left out and rejected and filled with pity.
JOB 19:2-23, “How long will you torment me, And crush me with words? These ten times you have insulted me, You are not ashamed to wrong me. Even if I have truly erred, My error lodges with me. “If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me, And prove my disgrace to me, Know then that God has wronged me, And has closed His net around me. Behold, I cry, ‘Violence!’ but I get no answer; I shout for help, but there is no justice. He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass; And He has put darkness on my paths.
He has stripped my honor from me, And removed the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; And He has uprooted my hope like a tree. He has also kindled His anger against me, And considered me as His enemy. His troops come together, And build up their way against me, And camp around my tent. He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have failed, And my intimate friends have forgotten me. Those who live in my house and my maids consider me a stranger. I am a foreigner in their sight. I call to my servant, but he does not answer, I have to implore him with my mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am loathsome to my own brothers. Even young children despise me; I rise up and they speak against me.
All my associates abhor me, And those I love have turned against me. My bone clings to my skin and my flesh, And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth. Pity me, pity me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me. Why do you persecute me as God does, And are not satisfied with my flesh? Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!”
This type of believer has no capacity for life, love and happiness and so they sublimate by becoming a slave to some detail or details of life, thereby ending up a loser.
LUK 14:28 says “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?
This is the type of believer who always feels sorry for himself and feels like the weight of the world is upon their shoulders and definitely needs spiritual autonomy to get back in fellowship with the Lord. However, the believer who has at least at spiritual self-esteem demands avoidance of self-pity or any function which arouses pity from others. Satan loves to get believers to be self-centered because it takes them away from occupation with the Lord and leads them to frustration and self-pity. Self-pity removes you from any possibility of a solution because as long as you are preoccupied with yourself, there is absolutely no solution to any problem in your life. Self-pity leads to a false sense of self-importance. Feeling sorry for yourself. Hiding in a cave. Pulling the shades down. And all that is because no one ever felt sorry for himself without adding arrogance and emotions to it.
People who are full of self-pity and seem to be humble and broken are, in reality, very much stuck on themselves and very arrogant. This happened to Isaiah when he questioned the calling of God because of fear.
ISA 6:1-5, In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim [six winged angels] stood above Him, each having six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
Isaiah questioned the calling of God and cried out to the Lord about him being chosen or elected and he said “Woe is me, for I am ruined” as he was feeling sorry for himself.
Jeremiah said “Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers.” when they tried to kill him before he fulfilled the plan of God.
Tradition teaches us that Jeremiah was stoned to death in Egypt by the Jews and he is also said to be the sleeping prophet because he was known at times for sleeping for years because he was disappointed with the apostate Jews.
Self-pity is bad enough because it is self-induced and therefore stupid, but in addition to that, self-pity is very painful because you do what you do, to yourself. Self-pity intensifies any problem. Self-pity also removes you from any possibility of a solution. And as long as you and I are preoccupied with ourselves, there is absolutely no solution to any problem in life we may face.
For those in a state of self-pity there is no hope, no comfort, no doctrine, nothing that would ever help them. You’ve been hiding from the Lord in the swamp of self-pity and feeling sorry for yourself long enough. Complaining about the way things are. Complaining about the way you want things to be. Complaining that others don’t seem to care. Or complaining and feeling sorry for yourself and living in self-pity.
The Lord can use your disadvantage, be it physical, emotional, mental, financial, or anything else, to positively impact the lives of others. The only thing that stands in the way is our attitude. The real danger belongs to the person who is consumed by what they have and it is difficult for them to prosper because they are always depending on what they have.
As REV 3:17-19, ‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.
The question is “Are you willing to repent or change today?” Then in heaven you will be a part of COL 1:28 where the apostle Paul says And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. Or in 2CO 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
In EPH 5:27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.
In COL 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach
Don’t let the injustices of life, the unfairness or the disadvantages get the best of you….you get the best of them by making something out of your life with God.
We begin with the fact that Elijah has just led a great revival in Israel and someone has become very angry that this revival has taken place and that it was very successful. 450 prophets were slain and someone is very angry. She’s a woman whose name most of you are familiar with, a woman called Jezebel. We begin in 1KI 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Now, Ahab is just a figure head, he’s the king but his wife wears the pants even though she gives the impression that she doesn’t. Ahab doesn’t have too much to say about what happens, Jezebel does.
And so, Ahab had told Jezebel all that Elijah had done. And she’s very angry knowing Elijah is responsible for killing her 450 prophets. Now, she finally settles down emotionally and realizes that you can’t kill a man to destroy a revival, you must make him run and discredit him. Jezebel’s action was the typical anger which in turn was followed by the plotting and the thinking of how to get rid of Elijah.
In 1KI 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”
In other word’s, she gives him 24 hours to get out of town, and subtly she develops a scheme. So, she has decided to threaten him or to frighten him from his ministry to the Lord. And she tries to start panic in Elijar’s soul so that he’ll run away and his fruit will be spoiled and the revival will stop. Now, remember that Elijah has just enjoyed a spiritual victory.
1KI 19:3 And he was afraid [this is when he read the letter] and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
And notice that it says in 1KI 19:3, he left his servant there. He just ran away like a coward and he left his servant alone as he ran away because of fear.
In fact, Elijah’s servant was devoted to him so much that he ran 150 miles with him….but a person who is afraid and involved in self-pity, and can’t even recognize faithfulness, love and devotion in others. People who feel sorry for themselves are always ready to attack, gossip, and to blame others for the reason why things are going wrong in their life. Here is Elijah sitting down under a leafless tree and feeling sorry for himself.
Self-pity took away his integrity and spiritual self-esteem.
Now, in 1KI 19:4 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 my life, for I am not better than my fathers. Here he demands God to kill him because in his arrogance he thinks that he is the only one who is serving God, however that’s not the Lord’s opinion that’s his opinion.
ROM 11:2-6, God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.