Summary: Discouragement is one of the greatest challenges that the church faces

Dying in the Dungeon of Discouragement

Numbers 13:26 - 14 (Selected verses)

June 25, 2000


I. Down but not out

A. People who seemed hopeless: Cripple him – Sir Walter Scott, Deafen him – Ludwig Van Beethoven, Bury him in snow and give him a seemingly hopeless war – George Washington, Raise him in absolute poverty – A. Lincoln, Strike him with paralysis – FDR, Burn him so bad that doctors say he’ll never walk – Glenn Cunningham: 1 mile record 1934, call him a slow learner, retarded and write him off – Albert Eistein

B. Truth of the Matter: Life is about 20% in what happens to us and 80% in how we respond to the events.

II. We may be down but we never out

A. We often feel down about things in life

 Work

 Relationships

 Home Life

 Church

1. What happens in life may not be our choice

2. Our response to life is our choice

B. The problem comes from perception

1. The way we see things creates certain responses

a.) No two people see everything the same way

b.) Our perception shapes the world around us – The way we see it

2. We see things differently than God sees things

a.) We see things as they are

b.) God sees things as they can become

c.) Discouragement comes from confusing these two – It comes from people not God


I. The Discouraging Report (Verses 13:26-33 )

A. The spies return from their mission

1. Their mission responsibilities – Based on facts

2. Their mission report – Based on opinions

B. The spies focus on circumstances, not on God

1. This reveals a major lack of faith

2. Discouragement begins to set in

a.) Ten of the spies were already discouraged

b.) This sets and spreads quickly

c.) Discouragement is the disease of the soul

C. Lessons we learn – Discouragement is Faithless

1. Discouragement starts with a wrong focus

a.) Whenever we focus on circumstances, we get discouraged

b.) When we fail to realize who is in control of life, we get discouraged

c.) When we stop counting our blessings and victories, we get discouraged

2. Discouragement gets our priorities out of place

a.) Priorities begin to shift

1.) Relationships begin to suffer

2.) Spiritual things matter less and less

3.) Passion for God goes to the “back burner”

b.) God will work to get your priorities back in life

1.) People who ride the fence with God will have more problems in life

2.) God uses difficulty to get their attention – god is willing to sacrifice the temporal to save your eternity

II. The Discouraging Response (Verses 14:1-12 )

A. Discouragement infected the people

1. There was a great weeping in the camp

a.) The entire nation was effected

b.) This must have been the world’s biggest pity party

2. They refused to listen

a.) Joshua and Caleb tried to challenge the people

b.) The people tried to stone them

B. Discouragement shackled them where they were in life

1. Discouragement had captured the people

a.) Discouragement became a prison for the people

b.) They were chained to the limitations they placed on themselves and God

2. Discouragement was too strong to be removed

C. Lessons we Learn – Discouragement is fruitless

1. Discouragement is like a disease

a.) Discouragement is contagious and it will infect us

b.) Discouragement will cause two things

1.) Ungodly sorrow – Poor me attitude

2.) Failure to listen to godly counsel

2. Discouragement binds us in life

a.) Discouragement will keep us from moving forward in life

b.) Discouragement becomes a prison

1.) Steals our ability to serve God effectively

2.) Opens us to spiritual attack

III. The Discouraging Result (Verses 14:26 - 38 )

A. The people lost their faith

1. The people would not follow God

2. The people lose favor with God

a.) God cannot bless a person who will not obey Him

b.) Israel lost their favorable position with God

B. The people lost the land

1. The land that God had promised was lost

a.) God had wanted to give them a great land

b.) God had the ability but the people did not have the faith

2. The people would now wander for forty years in the desert

a.) Instead of having the home God wanted for Israel; they will wander

b.) One year for each day the spies were in Canaan

C. The people lost their lives

1. The ten negative spies die

a.) These were the ten men who spread the “bad report”

b.) God struck them with a plague for their faithlessness

2. The rest of the nation will die in the wilderness

a.) Only Joshua and Caleb will reach the Promised Land

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