II. In this chapter we have God’s own gracious way of dealing with this sad but far from uncommon despondency. —Elijah had fled into the wilderness, flung himself down under a juniper tree, and requested that he might die. How gently and with what Divine compassion did God deal with his despair! He spread for Elijah a table in the wilderness, and helped him forward on his way; only then, when his bodily powers had been renewed, when his faith had been strengthened, does the question come, ‘What doest thou here, Elijah?’ The vision and the still small voice may have brought home to the heart of Elijah one reason at least why he had failed. He had tried taunts and violence in the cause of God; he had seized heaven’s sword of retribution, and made it red with human blood. He had not learned that violence is hateful to God; he had to be taught that Elijah’s spirit is very different from Christ’s Spirit. And when God has taught him this lesson, He then gives him His message and His consolation. The message is, ‘Go, do My work again’; the consolation is, ‘Things are not so bad as to human eyes they seem.’
III. Those who suffer from despondency, should (1) look well to see whether the causes of their failure and their sorrow are not removable; (2) embrace the truth that when they have honestly done their best, then the success or the failure of their work is not in their own hands. Work is man’s; results are God’s. Dean Farrar.