Summary: How does discouragement affect our lives and our walk with Jesus Christ? When we are discouraged, we are to seek God’s Will and read His Word, even more than ever.
Prior to His arrest, Jesus traveled up and down the strip of land once ruled by David and Solomon, inviting the people of Israel to become a part of His kingdom, promising abundant life. His followers fully expected that He would become their king and that Israel would again be prosperous and free. He was their Messiah. But on one fateful Friday afternoon, as the sun fell behind the horizon, the Son of God hung lifeless on a Roman cross just outside the city walls.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning and the Passover feast came to an end, two of Jesus’ followers, disillusioned and resolving to leave their foolish dreams in Jerusalem, left for home. The dejected pair began the seven-mile walk to Emmaus even as rumors of resurrection circulated among the ranks of Jesus’ disciples. Luke describes the disciples’ conversation as bantering ideas back and forth with great emotion in a shared search for answers. In the Greek, the phrase “talking and discussing” would be more literally translated as “conversing” and “disputing.” The disillusioned followers desperately wanted to know why their expectations of the Messiah had come to such a tragic end. Luke employed a clever narrative device called literary irony, in which the reader is aware of important facts that are hidden from the characters.
How’s your faith doing today? Some of you might think that’s an inappropriate question to be asking of those who are gathered together in a sanctuary on a Sunday morning to worship God. But the fact is, even those who come every week, sometimes more than that, can have moments of weakness in their faith.
There are times when we are so affected by things of this world; illness, relationships gone wrong, unemployment or underemployment, war, famine, death, that we begin to wonder if God really meant it when He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Some of us know those words were written in the book of Hebrews, but they actually had their origin in the Old Testament.
In the book of Deuteronomy chapter 31 verse 6, Moses was addressing the people of Israel. They were nearing the end of their wandering in the desert and Moses was nearing the end of his life. He knew that there would still be struggles and battles ahead for the people whom he had led to the brink of the Promised Land, and he spoke these words; “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Joshua was God’s next chosen leader. He was to lead the people of Israel into the land promised to their father Abraham. In the first chapter of the account of Joshua’s leadership of this chosen people, God said: “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 1:5
In the book of 1 Kings, chapter 6 verse 13 King Solomon in building the first beautiful temple in Jerusalem, God assured him that “I will dwell among the people of Israel and will not forsake you.”