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THE DISCOURAGEMENT TEST

December 20, 2014

DISCOURAGEMENT = 1. A feeling of lost hope, a loss of confidence or enthusiasm. 2. The act of making something less likely to happen or of making people less likely to do something 3. Something (such as a failure or difficulty) that discourages someone. 4. The act of trying to prevent something from happening, especially because you do not approve of it or think it is harmful

In this life everyone will have the opportunity to experience discouragement in one form or another. We will either be discouraged or attempt to discourage someone. In this blog I will share two events which will display both of these forms of discouragement and prayerfully it will help you in the future to respond wisely to discouragement.

This first form of discouragement has to do with an unexpected traumatic occurrence. David and his band of soldiers had left their home in Ziklag unprotected while they accompanied King Achish to Aphek to engage in a major campaign against Israel. When the princes of the Philistines saw David and his men they questioned his loyalty and allegiance to them; therefore, they sent them back to their home.

After a three day journey they arrived in Ziklag to discover the Amalekites had invaded, smitten and burned Ziklag with fire. The Amalekites did not kill anyone, but they had taken captive the wives, sons, and daughters of David and his men. 1 Samuel 30:4& 6 reports this response to their findings, “Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” First, David’s two wives were gone, all of his material things and livestock were taken and his place of abode was destroyed. To make matters worse, his loyal men were so angry and hurt they wanted to do him bodily harm. Not only was he discouraged, he was in a big dilemma.

In my research I discovered during their sixteen month stay in Ziklag David had been out of relationship and communication with God. Gad, the prophet had told him to abide in land of Judah but in fear of King Saul David had left that region (1Samuel 22:5). He was a disobedient man on the run with his followers. While in Ziklag he was dishonest, a liar and a renegade but now David had sense enough to realize he needed some divine direction and he sent for Abiathar the priest and the ephod. David enquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? “His answer, “Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.”

Accordingly, David and four hundred men were able to overtake and defeat the Amalekites recovering all. “And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all” (1 Samuel 30: 19).

The second discouragement scenario has to do with the children of Israel. They had been in the wilderness for two years. God had given laws, statues and commandments by which they were to adhere too as a nation, and now it was time for them to go and possess the land of Canaan. Twelve men were sent to search out the land. This is Moses’s instruction to them, “And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land” (Numbers 13:18 – 20a).

The twelve men returned from searching the land after forty days with one cluster of grapes, pomegranates, and figs. Ten of the men gave this discouraging evil report, “We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. (1Samuel 14: 27-29, 31-33). These men were pleased with the land but scared of the inhabitants of the land. They forgot about the mighty God who promised to be with them and how He had previously delivered them out of the hand of Pharaoh.

Caleb and Joshua attempted to convince the congregation who had spent the night weeping after receiving the evil report not to despair. They said, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not. However, the congregation did not respond favorably but wanted to stone them and they murmured against Moses and against Aaron saying, “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.”

At this point God was willing to smite them with a pestilence and disinherit them; however, Moses interceded for them and God pardon them and declared this judgment on them, “Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: As truly as I live, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward which have murmured against me. Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise” (Numbers 14:22-23, 28- 34).

The difference between David and Israel was their response to discouragement. When David became discouraged he remembered the mightiness of His God and sought Him for direction, but Israel allowed the words of men to prevail. Thusly, David succeeded and Israel perished.

Keeping God in our mind, meditating on His love, goodness and mighty power is key to our success and survival in times of discouragement. Remembering how he delivered us and others in the past when the enemy tries to send discouragement our way will help us encourage ourselves to keep holding on until a positive change takes place. Also, remembering life has its’ peaks and valleys, so utilizing all the weapons of warfare and trusting God and His Word will bring you from discouragement to hope.

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From → Test Series

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