Summary: One of the deepest valleys we go through as Christians is that of Discouragement.
The Valley Of Discouragement
15th February 2009 am
One of the greatest Valleys that God’s people go through, especially in these last days, is that of Discouragement. In these verses, we find Israel still wandering around in the wilderness because of their sin of unbelief. The 10 spies gave an evil report of the Promised Land and discouraged the hearts of the people so much, that they refused to go forward and as a result brought upon themselves the judgment of God.
Even in the wilderness, the Lord was good to Israel and met their every need, but the way was long and hard and the people were prone to complain. Israel had just won a great victory through the help of God and in the very next verse they were discouraged!
I want to look at this valley of discouragement this morning with both its causes and affects. Why do God’s people get discouraged when He is meeting our every need?
I. Reasons for Discouragement
a. Because the battles are long and hard – vs. 1-3
Israel wasn’t prepared for this attack because some of their people were taken prisoners, but the leaders immediately turned to the Lord for His help. They vowed to utterly destroy the Canaanites and their cities if the Lord would give them the victory.
We are in a battle Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
This battle is long and hard, it is easy for us to become discouraged – if we are unprepared.
b. Because the way is often long and hard – vs. 4
The first victory certainly encouraged the Israelites, but it’s one thing to mount up with wings as eagles but it is something else to wlak and faint not (Isaiah 40:31) Courage in the battle must be followed by endurance in the race.
Because the Edomites wouldn’t give Israel right-of-way through their land, Moses had to lead the people east of Edom and then north through difficult terrain. It didn’t take long before the difficulty of the march made the people impatient, and they started complaining again.
It is possible for us to win the battle but lose the victory.
c. Because our hearts are often complaining and bitter – vs. 5a
The anger and impatience in their hearts boiled over into harsh words against the Lord and Moses. In both their attitudes and their words they were tempting the Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
d. Because our spiritual sight is often dimmed – vs. 5b
It was the same old complaint. Moses had brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, and there was nothing to eat but manna. In the difficulties of the daily march, they’d forgotten God’s promise that they would enter the Promised Land and claim it as their home Numbers 15:1
A bountiful supply of manna had been sent from heaven each morning since just after the exodus, so for 40 years God has been feeding His people the nourishment they needed. Manna was Angels food Psalm 78:25 but the people had gotten so accustomed to their blessings that they loathed it and called it light bread.
1. Discouragement Is Sin
2. Discouragement Is Infectious
3. Discouragement Is Curable
II. Resources for Encouragement
You Will Not Find Encouragement in Circumstances even though they may improve temporarily, they will continue to change.
You Will Not Find Encouragement in Human Reason because the world has no spiritual answers.
You Will Not Find Encouragement in Self-Pity as this will only cause the valley to deepen.
1. You Will Find Encouragement In The Lord
1 Samuel 30:6 …but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
a. There Is Encouragement In His Person - Habakkuk 3:18-19
When Babylon was through attacking the land of Judah there would be very little left. Buildings would be destroyed, treasures would be plundered, and livelihoods would be devastated. The economy would fall apart and there would be very little to sing about.
BUT, God would still be on His throne, working out His divine purposes for His people. Habakkuk couldn’t rejoice in his circumstances, but he could rejoice in his God. Habakkuk discovered that God was his strength, that God was his song and that God was his salvation, therefore he had nothing to fear.
Who has ever whistled in the dark when they are afraid? That nervous whistle?
When we find ourselves in the valley of discouragement we need to take a leaf out of Habakkuk’s book, don’t try and whistle in the dark, take encouragement from the Person of God and sing about the one who will never fail you. It worked for Paul and Silas and ended up bringing the house down, literally.