Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word moping in the following way: to be very stupid; to be very dull; to drone; and to be spiritless or gloomy.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back.”
Are you being held captive in a gloomy prison? Have you become spiritless when it comes to the things of God? Have you - like Elijah - become a gloomy servant of God?
As you may recall, Elijah served God during a time of unprecedented wickedness. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were in power and they led the nation into idolatrous practices. It was actually a dangerous time to be a prophet of God because Jezebel was on a mission of execution.
In the middle of the ungodly and hostile setting was Elijah; a man of conviction, courage, and confidence in God. In fact in answer to his prayers Israel endured three and half years of intense famine as punishment for their wickedness (James 5:17). However, as a result of Elijah’s courageous ministry, Ahab viewed the preacher as the source of Israel’s problems (1 Kings 18:17).
Perhaps one of the most exciting moments in Elijah’s ministry took place on Mount Carmel when he literally prayed down fire from heaven, thus exalting Jehovah God. But that miracle only angered queen Jezebel and it was a message from her that became the bolt that locked Elijah into a, “gloomy prison" (1 Kings 19:1-3).
A study of Scripture does indicate that Jezebel was to be more feared than her husband. In other words, it was not foolish to believe her threat was not an idle threat. But here is what is tragic about this move on Elijah’s part: he who had been so courageous had suddenly become fearful. Also, he who had encouraged others to be courageous in difficult times, was now fearful (1 Kings 17:13).
He who had moved only at God’s command, now made a major move without any command from God. Do you hear the prophet praying or God telling him to run for his life? Why was he suddenly so fearful? On Mount Carmel, hadn’t he just proved that the gods Jezebel appealed to had no power whatsoever?
Another tragedy connected with Elijah's trip is that God was no longer ordering his steps. I have to wonder if Elijah ever stopped to consider the possibility that if Ahab previously exerted much time in searching for him, would Jezebel be any less diligent (1 Kings 18:10)? In other words, would running away do any good?
Is it me, or have you noticed that whenever gloominess takes over our spirit often we long to run away? In fact we can even convince ourselves we have a valid reason to run. As we're held captive by despair and depression we stop, "looking unto Jesus" and begin looking for an escape route (Hebrews 12:1-2). We somehow think life will be much more enjoyable elsewhere. But life is never enjoyable outside of the will of God.
So if you're being held prisoner by gloominess and are thinking about running away may I urge you to allow God's, "heavenly hand" to push back the massive prison door? The only way to do that is by allowing him to direct your steps. Psalms 37:23 states, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." Why not make the decision that you will not move unless God clearly tells you to move?