Summary: The fact is that discouragement and faith cannot and will not mix we will either have one or the other but not both.

The Prison of Discouragement


May 16, 2004


The movie Toy Story has to be one of my favorite animated films. It’s a wonderful story about toys that come to life and have great adventures while no is watching. The two key characters are Woody a stuffed cowboy doll and Buzz Lightyear the latest and greatest action figure.

There is one problem though through out the movie Buzz believes that he is a real hero and not a toy. In the scene we are going to watch this morning, Woody confronts Buzz about the reality of who and what he is. Here is a clip from the movie Toy Story.

Thinking that toys come to life is just make believe but there is something about Buzz that I think we all can relate to; he got discouraged. Even though talking toys are not real, discouragement is a very real problem for all of us at times.

This morning I want to look at one of the times when discouragement took over the nation of Israel and the price they paid for it.

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

To set the stage for the events in these verses, Moses had selected 12 men to scout out the Promised Land because they were preparing to invade and take over the land that God Promised to give to them.

The spies have just returned from their mission and give their report to Moses. I think it is important to remember what these men were responsible for doing. Look at verses 18-20 in chapter 13.

Their mission was to:

· Discover what people lived in the land and see what their strength and numbers were

· Discover the kind of land

· Discover the kinds of towns and fortifications

· Discover the kind of soil, trees and fruit

The responsibilities of the spies was to search the land and report the facts of what they had found.

However, the spies did not give their report based only on facts. The spies started out telling the people how great and wonderful the land was and that the place was truly amazing. The spies even brought back a bunch of grapes that took two men to carry and told Israel that this was a land of milk and honey.

Unfortunately, they did not stop with just the facts when it came to the people already living in the land. The spies reported about the people living in the land and then gave their opinion about these nations

Read 13:28-29

The opinion of ten spies was that their enemies were too powerful, too numerous and too overwhelming. These men took their focus off of God and put it on their circumstances. They revealed a true lack of faith and when faith begins to diminish, discouragement starts to set in.

Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God. William Ward

The ten spies were already discouraged because they saw a good and wonderful land but they also saw a fight that they could not win. Instead of trusting God to accomplish what they could not do on their own, they gave up. This attitude spread like wildfire through the Israelite camp. The simple truth is this: nothing kills the enthusiasm and spirit of a church like an attitude problem.

Discouragement starts with a wrong focus

Discouragement is a disease of the soul and it flows out of a lack of faith in God. When we focus on the circumstances and situations around us, we will always get discouraged.

When we fail to remember who is in control of things, we will get discouraged. When we stop counting the blessings we’ve been given and the victory that Christ has already won for us, we will get discouraged.

Discouragement gets our priorities out of place

When we get discouraged priorities begin to shift

· Relationships start to suffer: In times of discouragement, people tend to spend less positive time with others.

· Spiritual things matter less and less: When people get discouraged they spend less time with God.

· Passion for God’s work move to the back burner: When people get discouraged their desire and drive to serve God lessens

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

Great discouragement infected the entire camp and the situation was disasterous. This was the world’s biggest pity party. The discouragement in the camp made the circumstances worse than they actually were. There is an old saying: Life is made of 10% of what actually happens to us and 90% of how we respond to it. Israel responded in a horrible manner. The reality is that when people get discouraged the giants against them grow larger while they themselves become smaller.

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