Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Five of God's greatest and most faithful followers had reached their breaking point and had a death wish. Even though they articulated it in a different way, the wish was still the same.
At that particular time, they want to die. However, God was not ready for them to leave the world because they still had work to do.
The stories of those five people are told below in the order in which they appear in the Bible.
Moses was one of the most faithful servants in the Bible, but he got fed up with the rebellious Israelites he had delivered out of slavery in Eygpt under Pharaoh's hand. The millions of people grumbled and murmured about a lot of them. At one point, they wanted to turn back. They rationalized that at least they had food to eat even though they were in bondage. When Moses spoke to God on their behalf, He provided bread for them to eat in the wilderness. After a few days, they were tired of that, so God provided quail for them to eat.
The attitude of the Israelites got so bad that Moses told God the burden was too heavy for him to carry. Then according to Numbers 11:13-15, Moses made a request to God. He said, "Just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!"
God did not honor Moses' request. Instead, God provided help for Moses so the entire burden would not be solely on him, according to Number 11:16. God told Moses to choose 70 elders to share the burden of the people with him.
Elijah was a mighty prophet, but there came a time when he became discouraged. Jezebel had threatened to kill the prophets, and Elijah became afraid and ran for his life. Then he did something that was out of character for a prophet.
He prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough, LORD. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4)
God did not honor Elijah's request. He did not take his life. God had more work for Elijah to do. In fact, Elijah never died. According to 2 Kings 2:11, "Chariots of fire and horses of fire appeared, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."
Job had everything a man could want in Chapter 1 of the book. He was blameless and upright. He feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. Job was a family man, a rich man, a good businessman and was well respected in the community.
By Chapter 2, Job had lost everything including all his children. He was afflicted with sores over his body, and his wife told him to curse God and die. Job was more concerned that he had been forsaken by God than he was over his loses.
Then Job cursed the day of his birth. He said, "Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?" (Job 3:11)
Job suffered through the entire book until God answered. He was restored and blessed by God so much that he eventually got double of everything he had previously lost except for his children because he will be with them in heaven.
Jeremiah was one of the major prophets, but even he said, "Cursed be the day I was born! The day my mother bore me, let it not be blessed!" (Jeremiah 20:14) He had been preaching for 40 years with no noticeable results. He was weary and had received only persecution and sorrow.
He got to the point when he didn't want to prophesy God's word to the people any longer. When he tried to stop, it became fire in his bones and he could not hold it back. He was doing what he was destined to do, but he felt unappreciated.
Before he was born, God had plans for Jeremiah, but now Jeremiah didn't believe those plans were working out for his good. We can look back on the prophet's life and see that God told him, “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach to rebellious people. The prophet did not want to go so he went in the opposite direction. He was thrown off the boat into the sea where he was swallowed by a big fish.
He prayed and the fish spit him out, and Jonah went on his way to Nineveh where he preached to the Ninevites. They received the word of God and repented. Jonah should have been happy about their repentance, but he became frustrated that the city repented and was able to avoid God’s wrath.
He sat down under a vine that began to wither and die. Jonah cried out to God and told him he wanted to do like the vine. He told God, "It would be better for me to die than to live." (Jonah 4:8)
Then God asked Jonah a question, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” (Jonah 4:5-11)
God did not grant Jonah's wish.
God did not honor any of the men's requests
They had served God, and they were tired. None of the five men committed suicide because God interceded and ministered to them.
All of the men completed the work God had assigned them before they finally died but not at their request. As has been stated, Elijah was taken to heaven in a whirlwind.
What do we learn from these five men?
When life becomes overwhelming, even the best of the best want to give up. The five men continued to live to fulfill God's purpose for their lives.
Whenever we become overwhelmed and want to give up and die, we should realize that God has a purpose for our lives that must be completed before our lives end here on earth.
Hongwe on July 17, 2020:
A wonderful piece. Am reading this in tears. I have just cried for nearly an hour non-stop before searching for this information in google engine. I really feel that I also need a rest from the troubled world. I have been through a lot but I am trusting God for His mercy after reading this article. But my question remains up to when Oh Dear Lord?
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on April 25, 2018:
Yes, Tim, it is a great reminder that life can sometimes be overwhelming for the best of us. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on April 25, 2018:
Wonderful article a bout very strong men in the Bible. It's a good reminder that even when we want to give up God is there.
Thank you for an informative article.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on April 22, 2018:
Yes, Dora, the men said they had all they could take. They were tired and overwhelmed by all they had done.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on April 22, 2018:
Did they think that their situation was more than they could bear? Some people insist they could never reach this breaking point. These men teach us to be honest about how we feel.