The message was brought by Rev. Eddie Foster.
Have you ever been discouraged? I have. I’ve been ready to throw up my hands and quit. Several people in the bible were discouraged too. What can we do about it? I pray that God will help us see.
Numbers 21:1 And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners. 2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. 3 And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah. 4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
The place the people of Israel were in was sandy and stoney, subject to sandstorms. Heat and drought discouraged them. They were merely going in circles on their journey to the Promised Land. In verse 5 we see they had no bread or water meaning there was no ordinary supply of it. Without them they would die. The bread they did have was not like the bread they had in Egypt. How quickly they forgot they were nothing but slaves there. Be careful when you complain about what you have because what you get may be worse than what you have. They complained so much that God sent something much worse. In verse 6 we read that fiery serpents, snakes, were sent that bit and killed many.
Discouragement is a bad weapon. When we get that way we pray the wrong thing. Back in chapter 10 Moses prayed to die. I don’t think he’d have prayed that way if he had not been so discouraged. Elijah got discouraged and prayed to die. And this was right after his big victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Wicked Jezebel threatened his life; he tucked tail and ran praying to die.
Discouragement causes you to say the wrong thing. Job was tested. The first was the loss of all his property and his children. The second was physical. What a stark contrast we see in his response to the two. First he said Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. To the second, in discouragement, he gave a long statement in chapter 3. Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes. Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest. This is what discouragement did to him, but Job proved to us that a man can love God not for what he gives him but because God is God. We are vulnerable during times of suffering and pain. David said I said in my haste, All men are liars. (Psalms 116:11). Have you ever said something you wished you had not? James tells us we have a small member in our body that gives us more trouble than any other–the tongue.f
Discouragement causes you to think the wrong thing. John the Baptist was in prison for standing against wrong with Herod. He heard of the works of Jesus and sent word asking Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? John had baptized people telling them the Messiah was coming, one he wasn’t worthy to unlatch the shoes of. When he saw him coming he said behold the Lamb of God. John knew. Maybe he wondered why was he in prison instead of still preparing the way for Jesus as he was born to do. Discouraged. Both Martha and Mary said almost the same thing to Jesus when Lazarus died–if Jesus had been there that he wouldn’t have died. In a time of discouragement they said the wrong thing because Jesus was the resurrection and life.
Discouragement causes you to do the wrong thing. Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God told him. He was traveling with rebels in the wilderness. The people of Israel were doing nothing but complaining. In discouragement he struck it twice when he should have just spoken. His punishment may seem harsh to us but because of his great responsibility God didn’t let him off lightly. He was not allowed to enter the Promised Land with the people. He got to see it but not go into it.
Discouragement causes you to see the wrong thing. Ten of the twelve spies saw giants instead of God. They saw themselves as grasshoppers. Joshua and Caleb saw the giants but said let’s go take the land. They saw the giants and a God bigger than the giants.
Discouragement causes you to get in the wrong place. Jonah wasn’t about to go to Nineveh. He got in a ship headed the other way. He ended up in the belly of a whale. That wasn’t the right place. He had a revival in that belly.
Discouragement cause you to have a wrong spirit. Grouchy. Critical. If we can blame someone else, we will. Be careful. Remember you might get something worse if you don’t watch it. Let’s remember to ask God for help when we get discouraged. He is there to help us.