Numbers 32:1–33:39; Luke 4:31–5:11; Psalm 64:1-10; Proverbs 11:22
Discouragement Breeds Discouragement
Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle; the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying, Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon, and Elealeh, and Shebam, and Nebo, and Beon, even the country which the LORD smote before the congregation of Israel, is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan. And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them? – Numbers 32:1-7
The leaders of the tribes of Reuben and Gad looked at the land just before the Jordan River and thought it was the perfect land for them because it was suitable for their cattle. The problem was that the Promised Land was on the other side of the Jordan River. They came to Moses and asked if they could just settle there and have that land as their inheritance.
Moses responded, Why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them? Moses knew that the attitude of the tribes of Reuben and Gad could very well keep all of Israel from going into the Promised Land. Their attitude said – we’ve fought enough and suffered enough and waited long enough. Let’s just settle down where we are.
Moses reminded the leaders why their ancestors failed to enter the Promised Land all those years before. The negative reports alone did not keep them out. They were kept out because the nation as a whole yielded to those reports. The children of Israel failed to trust God’s plans and promises and that kept them wandering.
The discouragement of the leaders came upon the nation, which kept an entire generation of Israelites from the Promises of God. If any had wholly followed the LORD, the discouraging report wouldn’t have influenced them. What made Joshua and Caleb different was that they wholly followed the LORD. They did not bend in trusting the Lord when the discouraging report of the ten unfaithful spies came forth.
How many of us have developed the “I’ve waited long enough” attitude? I know I have. What has your report sounded like? Oh my!!!
When we are not wholly following the LORD, we are more likely to be influenced by the flesh, and in turn, we will affect others. The result will be to be discouraged ourselves and run the enormous risk of discouraging those around us. Complacency is contagious!
It is a terrible thing to be used by the devil to discourage other believers so that they walk away from what God has promised. We should repent if we have, ask for forgiveness, and also ask God to guard us against ever discouraging the heart of another child of God.
This passage has some other good reminders. First, guard your own heart. If you want to press in and go deeper and further with God, be careful of your company and who you allow speaking into your life. Discouraging words discourage!
And also, if your circle of friends is content where they are and don’t want to press for more of the Lord – BEWARE! Their excuses may sound good, but at the root of anything other than the Promise is either the “I am tired of waiting” attitude or an “I have arrived – after all look at all this green grass” attitude. Anything short of what God has promised isn’t God’s perfect will.
Preserve My Life from Fear of the Enemy
Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. – Psalm 64:1
They Forsook All and Followed Him
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: and so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him. – Luke 5:5-11
This miracle of the fish brought Peter and the others face-to-face with Jesus, the Son of God, and their sinfulness before Him. Isn’t that the purpose of every miracle?
Woman without Discretion
As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. – Proverbs 11:22