DISCOURAGED – DON’T GIVE UP
Sunday 7 March 2021
Ps Ben Hooman
Please open your Bible at Numbers 21.
“Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way” (Numbers 21:4)
It says; by the way: “Along the way”. One translation says, “Because of the way God led them”.
“And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food, no water, our soul loathes this worthless bread’. So, the Lord sent fiery serpents among them, and they bit the people. And many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned'”, (they got a revelation and they repent), “‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole. And it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, put it on a pole. Raised it up. And so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived”. (Numbers 21:5-9)
Great danger of Discouragement
I want to focus this morning on the theme of the danger, the great, great, great, great danger, of discouragement. May God by His Spirit through His servant gives you the remedy, give you the answer to it right here today.
Ministering on the aspect of discouragement, a well-known preacher refers to a Christmas time movie called: It’s a Wonderful Life.
How many of you have ever seen that movie? In that movie the main character is a guy by the name of George Bailey. And George Bailey’s a good guy, but he gets into extremely hard times, feeling discouraged, and even contemplates suicide. But thank God for the power of the friendship of fellow believers. He had some friends who got together and prayed for him. And when they prayed, in the movie, it touches heaven, and there is an angel who is in charge of all the angels in heaven, and he turns to one of the junior angels, and he says, “It’s time for you to earn your wings, and your assignment if you want to earn your wings, you will get your wings if you succeed in this. Your assignment is to go down and help George Bailey”.
And the junior angel said to the senior angel, “Well, before I go, tell me, what’s wrong with George Bailey? Is he sick? Does he have some horrible disease”? And the senior angel’s answer is a classic. He said, “Worse than that, he is discouraged”. Worse than some horrible disease, he is discouraged.
The devil knows that the greatest thing he can use against the believer is discouragement. Because you’re never really defeated until you’re defeated on the inside.
We see here in Numbers that the people of God were discouraged. It is the people of God, not the devil’s crowd. It is possible for the people of God to get low, and to get discouraged. Probably some walked in here today not willing to admit that they feel discouraged. We almost feel ashamed, almost feel embarrassed, almost feel guilty that we are discouraged. We don’t want anybody to know that we’re discouraged. I doubt when you turned to your neighbour, and said, “Hello”, or whatever, they spoke up and said, “I’m really discouraged today. I feel like quitting. I’m thinking about just… I’ll tell you I’ve had it. It’s been tough”. Nobody does that, and yet, it’s almost like we ignore the dangers of prolonged discouragement. It is of utmost importance to understand what really causes discouragement.
Right here in this text in Numbers the Bible says they were discouraged because of the way. They were discouraged because of the way of God. Yes, that is what is said; because of the way of God.
And usually, when people get discouraged, it’s because of the way that God is leading them. Many expect God to lead them on their way and not His way. You thought that God’s way would be an easy way, and it’s a hard, wilderness way.
And on top of that, the why of God. When you don’t have answers for your questions and no explanations as to why it seems everything is going wrong. . They were saying, “Why are we in this desert? Why are we going through this? Why are we in this wilderness? Why”?
And then on top of that, you’re waiting and waiting and waiting. The ‘way’ of God, the ‘why’ of God, and then the ‘wait’, the waiting on God. It’s been too long and something should’ve happened by now. This breeds discouragement.
Symptoms of Discouragement
Discouragement is born when we compare ourselves with somebody else. When we begin to compare ourselves with somebody else. But what will cause treat joy to come to your life? If you would stop comparing yourself to other people, and you would just remember where you came from. Yes, remember where you started, and remember how much God has blessed you. You will then be doing more, and you will be seeing more, and you will be achieving more.
If you start comparing yourself with someone else, you can get discouraged, discouraged because they’re doing more than you’re doing. The greatest way for me out of discouragement, is to get up on feet and praise the Lord, thinking about where I came from. Just think about where God started with me and where I am today. It is not encouraging to compare yourself with others. What is encouraging is to remember how far you have come, and where you started. Therefore, give Him the praise for that!
Think about that for just a moment. Let a light goes on in your soul right there! Look at you. Look at the life you got. Look at how God has blessed you. You are here today! god is the One that gives life and gives it in abundance. And you’re discouraged? Is it because you are comparing yourself to somebody else?
Want fruit out of season
Another area that causes discouragement, and this is so important, is trying to force fruit out of season. The Bible says as long as the earth exists, there’s seed, time, and harvest. There is seed, and there is the promise, but in between there is time. Notice; seed, time, promise. You can’t ignore the time.
The Bible says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
So, hear the Word of the Lord today, “don’t give up!” There are many people trying to get fruit in the season before it’s due. You cannot force something to happen out of season and therefore you have to learn to wait. But many people get discouraged.
Loss of vision
Another symptom of discouragement is the loss of vision. Discouragement will make your vision become blurry and unclear. When your vision in life becomes blurry and unclear you don’t know where you are going. Discouragement interferes with your vision and when you had some kind of setback your direction becomes blurry and unclear. That’s discouragement. You need to recognize it. It’s a dangerous thing to not recognize when you’re really discouraged.
Loss of enthusiasm
Discouragement will cause a loss of enthusiasm about life, about God, about purpose, about life in general, about everything. A discouraged person is a person who has lost passion and enthusiasm. Without enthusiasm there cannot be growth.
Isolation is a glaring symptom of discouragement. The devil wants you to isolate yourself, to pull away from people, to pull away from family, to pull away from church. You then get discouraged and depressed. You cave in emotionally and separate and isolate yourself. So, any time the enemy isolates you, it’s to devastate you. When you feel least like coming to church, that’s the sign you need to get here the most.
Another symptom of discouragement is paralysis. Discouragement will freeze your actions. The paralysis of analysis. You are discouraged and you are afraid to do anything, and too afraid to take any chance or risk.
How long will you hover between two different opinions? “Elijah came near to all the people and said; ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him’. And the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)
In other words, you know, if you are not careful, discouragement will get you limping and halt your advancement in your spiritual growth. It will cause you to just not trust your own judgment, and you will not have the courage to make the right decision.
Discouragement, notice this in the Bible, will affect your speech. “And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food, no water, our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5)
When they got discouraged, they started murmuring and complaining, and discouragement always shows up in your talk. Your words will be slurred with negativism. Your words will be slurred with whining and self-pity.
Loss of inspiration
Another symptom and sign of discouragement is a loss of inspiration. A loss of motivation. A loss of aggression about life, and get up and when your get up and go has got up and went, you’re discouraged. Discouragement is the despair of wounded self-love. Discouragement produces cowards. The very word discouragement means to basically just suck the courage out, drawl and drain the courage out of a person.
To be discouraged is to lose all courage. You will not step out, you will not risk, you will not try. Discouragement will make of me a coward if I let it stay.
I want to pause right here now in the middle of this message. There are people here this morning that are discouraged. I want you to let it get in your spirit!
In the name of Jesus Christ, I come against negativism, despair, hopelessness, fear, despondency, depression, disgust, frustrations, feelings of failure, thoughts of quitting, thoughts of giving up, thoughts of suicide! I’m here today to tell you that God is greater than your discouragement, much greater than this virus, much greater than this economy! And I call for the power of the name of Jesus to release new faith, new vision, new hope, new confidence, new determination, new zeal, new enthusiasm, new courage, right now in Jesus Almighty name! Baptize us, saturate us, shower and engulf us with courage! Be encouraged in Jesus Name!
Know God is greater than gossip! He’s greater than haters! He’s greater than people tearing you up on Facebook! He is greater than anyone coming to discourage you! He is the great I AM! In Christ all things are possible.
Talk to someone
The danger of discouragement has been minimized, talk to someone. Don’t play with it but rather get help. There’s nothing wrong with telling somebody, “I’m discouraged, I’m depressed, and I can’t get out. I can’t get up”. There’s no shame in it.
There’s nothing wrong with going to your pastor, to your life group leader, or to a qualified counsellor of your church, and saying, “Help. I am in something and I can’t cope, I just feel like giving up”. Reach out for help for there is help right here. We’ve all been there. I may need your help next week, but this week, I feel pretty good and therefore I can help you. Somebody can help you.
Don’t be ashamed to say, “I’m discouraged”. If somebody asks you: “How you feeling”? be honest and say: “I don’t feel nothing. I don’t feel good, and I don’t feel like the favour of God is shining brightly on my spirit. I don’t feel that. I feel like quitting. I feel like giving up”.
You ever felt that way? Did God see you through? Measure your problem against God, not yourself. We see the devastation of discouragement in John chapter one when the Bible talks about John the Baptist when he was first introduced to Jesus. He said, “And John bore witness: I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on Him. … And I have seen and bore witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32,34)
John said that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And there’s rejoicing, but a few months later, he got arrested. John is in trouble and discouraged, and he sent word by his disciples to ask Jesus if He really is the One.
See the danger of discouragement. Discouragement will cause you to question what you previously affirmed about your faith in God. Discouragement will begin to get you to ask questions about, “did I really see the Spirit descend? Did that really happen? Did I really hear that voice? Did God really confirm to me? Am I really baptized by the Holy Spirit into Christ? Discouragement will cause you to question your salvation, your visitation, and question your personal revelation.
Pastor, leader, believer; there are things that can come in life that will make you wonder about your faith in Christ. Wonder about that experience that you had in an altar, was that voice real? Make you second-guess what you said Jesus was to you. Make you question the will of God. How can a loving God let this happen?
That is when you have to rise in your seasons of discouragement and boldly declare: “There is no God like Jehovah! I may not see the dove anymore, I may not hear the voice anymore, I may not feel the flutter and the joy of the Lord in this particular season that I am walking through, but I declare boldly; “There is no God like Jehovah! He is still God!”
I want you to see the doorway to discouragement! In Psalms 73, David found himself so discouraged, he wanted to quit. He says, “Truly, God is good to Israel, to those who are pure of heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:1-3)
He is saying: Look at Israel, God is good to them but what about me? That’s discouragement talking. He won’t favor me and help me. He won’t bless me. “Look at the wicked, they are always at ease, they increase in riches.” He was envious of wicked people.
In other words, he was saying, “I’m living clean, I’m living right, and this is not working for me. This faith in God is not working. They’re doing better and they worship idols. This is not working for me.” This is a discouraged man. The question is, how did he get there? You have to back up one verse into the previous chapter, “The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.” (Psalm 72:20)
The danger of prayerlessness
Very important to grasp that the door to discouragement is prayerlessness. When he said; “I am done praying, guess what? That opened the door, and he steps into that next chapter full of sliding and sliding back, and discouragement came. “I am the exception, and God’s not with me, and I’m going under, and I’m not going to make it!”
That is how you get discouraged, when you stop praying, when you stop asking, when you stop praising, when you stop coming to church. And as you isolating yourself, you go deeper and deeper into discouragement. I’m so glad you came to church today and I thank God for it because we don’t have to leave the same as we came!
Start sharing your anointing
Elijah got in a cave of discouragement, and God told him to do something. He said, “All right. I want you to come out of this cave of discouragement. Jezebel ran you in here Elijah, and you’ve been discouraged, and you said, ‘Kill me,’ and, ‘I feel like quitting.'” But He said, “Here’s what I want you to do. If you want you to come out of your cave of discouragement and go anoint three people”. (1 Kings 19:9, 15-16)
In other words, start sharing your anointing if you want be encouraged. If you want to be encouraged, you have to go encourage somebody. As long as you are focused on self, and self-pity, you are not going to get encouraged. But He said, “I want you to start sharing your anointing”.
You know what, I am anointed to preach and I am anointed to teach and share the gospel. And you know what I’ve learned? That when I am discouraged, and if I share my anointing, if I preach and teach in those seasons when I am discouraged, that’s when some of my better sermons and teachings come. There is something when you are in your own cave of discouragement, and you begin to share the anointing, things start changing and things start happening!
He said, “Elijah, go anoint some people”. Too many times we get so centred on our situation. Why don’t you call somebody if you’re discouraged, and encourage them? Why don’t you check up on somebody? Why don’t you hug somebody? Why don’t you take somebody out to lunch? Why don’t you encourage somebody? Why don’t you pray for somebody? When you share your anointing, God will bring you out.
That time, this time, every time
Let us close with this: Pray, praise, lift Him up, look up, keep looking up! The devil does not mind you celebrating and remembering that time in your past that you made it through. And he really doesn’t mind you believing that some time, way out there, God is going to turn your battle into victory.
But the enemy wants to convince you that this time you not going to make it and wants to keep you discouraged. This time, you’re not going get out. This time, there’s no way you’re going to bounce back. That is what he wants you to believe for he knows what God can do for you and that makes him nervous.
But I’ve got a message for the devil. We believe your lies no more! And I am writing right here on the souls of my shoes! That Time, This Time, and Every Time God will not fail me! Everybody say, “That time, this time, and every time, God will not forget me. God will not forsake me. God will not fail me”.
Now, wait a minute. That time, how many of you’ve got a ‘that time’ that you can look back on? This time, and every time. God will not fail you and God will not fail me! God’s healing you. If you need help, get help. But God brought you to this service this morning to heal you, of chronic discouragement!
David encouraged himself in the Lord. And when you get that down in your soul, there is a new thing you tell the devil from now on. If you don’t get nothing else out of this sermon, take home this piece. That time, this time, and every time, God will not fail me. God will not forget me. God will not forsake me!
Say it bold! That time, and I need somebody to shout over that time. You know that time, when the enemy whispered, “Take your life”. The enemy whispered, “There’s no recovery”. The enemy whispered, “You’ll never get through this”. That divorce, that whatever, that disaster, but God said, “I’m going see you through”. That time!
This time! Somebody, shout over your very circumstance right now, “He’s big and He is in control. This time and every time!”
And every time! Here is a big one, somebody shout, “Over every time”. Get up on your feet and give God a great, great praise, because He encourages His people!
You can stay discouraged if you want to, or you can look up and lift Him up, and begin to pray, yes begin to pray, and God will begin to restore encouragement into you.
Never give up!