Bible Study Notes

 

 

 

Depression

Walking from Darkness into the Dawn

1 Kings 22:5 (NIV) “But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the LORD.”

Have dark clouds of depression poured their tears upon your soul? Do you feel emotionally stuck…with your mind and emotions all muddled? Do you feel isolated and alone…afraid that no one understands? If so, you are far from being alone. People from all walks of life have languished under the dark clouds of depression.

Can anything bring back the blue skies of contentment? King David was no stranger to depression—discovered the answer. He learned how to exchange the darkness of despair for the light of hope.

Again and again, when his soul was downcast, he intentionally changed his focus—he continually fastened his focus on the faithfulness of his Savior…his Redeemer…his God. At three different times, in three different verses, David asked himself the same question, and then three times he followed with the same answer….

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5-6, 11; 43:5

What Is Depression?

If you place a heavy iron on a heart-shaped foam pillow, that plump pillow becomes pressed down—”de-pressed.” But the next day, if you remove the iron, the pillow returns to its original form. However, if you wait six months to remove the iron, the pillow will not return to its original shape. Instead, the pillow remains flat and depressed. A pillow, which can sustain temporary pressure, is not designed to hold its shape for a long time under heavy pressure.

The same is true of the human heart. When “pressed down” due to normal pressure from normal situations (situational depression), your heart is designed by God to rebound once the pressure is removed. However, if you live under the weight of heavy pressure for long periods of time, your heart can enter a “state” of depression.

We should always realize that Jesus cares about your heart and knows you are especially vulnerable when you are heavy-hearted. That is why He gives this word of caution…

Luke 21:34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.”

  • Depression literally means being “pressed down” to a lower position (as in a footprint).
  • Depression can refer to a state of decline and reduced activity (as in an “economic depression”).
  • Depression sometimes is a result of an emotional heaviness that weighs the heart down. The apostle Paul used the Greek word bareo, which means “pressed or weighed down,” to describe the immense emotional pressure and severe hardships that he and Timothy suffered at the hands of those who opposed Christ. …

2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (KJV) 8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

 Is Depression the Result of Sin?

This question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. Although some people believe the answer is always yes, the accurate answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

  • Depression is not a result of sin when…

—Your heart grieves over normal losses. The Bible says…
“There is…a time to weep and… a time to mourn…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4).

—Your body experiences natural deterioration due to the passing of years. Your body chemistry can change and become compromised. The Bible says…
“Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).

  • Depression can be a result of sin when…

—You experience the consequences of your sin but don’t attempt to change.

—You don’t take the necessary steps for healing (seeking biblical counseling, memorizing Scriptures, reading Christian materials, getting medical help when appropriate).

—You hold on to self-pity, anger, and bitterness when you have been wronged instead of choosing to forgive.
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17).

—You use your depression to manipulate others.

—You continually choose to blame God and others for your unhappiness.

—You choose to let others control you instead of choosing to obey Christ and allow Him to be in control of you.

—You are willfully choosing to maintain a sinful life.

The Bible says… 2 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Depiction of Jonah’s Depression

(depression as a result of sin)

Book of Jonah

Jonah’s bout with depression is an example of situational depression that occurs as a direct result of sin. Jonah is a man called by God. Yet he ends up angry, pouting, and in the depths of depression. How does Jonah become so deeply depressed?

  • Chapter 1: Disobedience
    Jonah is called by the Lord to preach God’s truth to the godless people of Nineveh. But Jonah rebels and boards a ship going in a different direction. When Jonah’s disobedience brings repercussions on the ship’s crew, he is rejected and literally thrown overboard.
  • Chapter 2: Dread
    Recognizing that the judgment of God is upon him to the point of losing his life (inside the belly of a great fish), Jonah cries out for mercy….“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry” (Jonah 2:2). The Lord extends mercy and spares his life.
  • Chapter 3: Declaration
    Jonah resigns himself to obey God’s call. He declares God’s truth, and all the godless people of Nineveh repent.

Chapter 4: Depression
Jonah becomes angry with God for extending mercy to those whom he doesn’t deem worthy of God’s mercy. Ultimately, he plunges into a severe depression in which he is consumed with bitterness and despair to the extent of wanting to die. Jonah moans…“Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:3).
Then, filled with seething anger and self-pity, he makes this brief, poignant statement…
“I’m so angry I wish I were dead” (Jonah 4:9).

 

(To get a complete Bible Study Lesson like this join us on Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm during our midweek prayer and Bible Study.)