I’ll be reading this morning from the Book of Numbers Chapter 21 and beginning with verse 4. This is a scene of the wilderness to the children of Israel as they journeyed toward the promise land. And beginning with verse four “And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people were much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water, and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses and said, we have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against thee; pray unto the Lord that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole and it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” We’ll close our reading with verse 9 and that’s reading verses 4 through 9 of Chapter 21 of the Book of Numbers for our devotional. I’m going to speak to you from the last part of verse four and the bible said “the soul of the people were much discouraged because of the way.” Now I’m not much to be discouraged but I would tell you there have been times when I have been discouraged but you know every now and then I’ll go in at home and Ms. Puddin will surmise I’m a little discouraged and she’ll give me a little pep talk and kindly get me over that. But there are a lot of reasons for people to get discouraged in the service for the Lord. In fact it’s easily to find a reason to not go to church and not to participate in church and not to be as normal as you ought to be. And so for a few minutes this morning I’m going to talk to you about “Being Discouraged.” Perhaps I should begin by saying “Why are you discouraged?” and maybe there is no one here that’s discouraged and I don’t think that this church in general is discouraged. I don’t think that most of you are discouraged nevertheless it doesn’t take much to get us discouraged. We may be here this morning and be in good fashion and be ready to serve the Lord with all of our minds and soul but then before the evening comes there may be something happen and there by some word or lack of word that will cause people to get discouraged. I know one fellow that became discouraged because of a hand shake. And he said there was a man that went to church with him wouldn’t shake hands or speak to him. I am sure the man didn’t do it intentionally and I am certain if he himself would have known if he’d been negligent or didn’t recognize that the person he was meeting or coming in contact with and maybe he didn’t speak to them. When you’re in a crown it’s easy to overlook people isn’t it? And so sometimes we do that. Now in my message I need to say to you that in the beginning that these were the Israelite people the chosen people of God. The bible teaches us that they were to be a peculiar people and they are peculiar people and if anyone is to be faithful to the Lord then it is them those that are chosen of him and those that are saved. So for a time I want to talk to you about that. I want to mention 2 or 3 reasons why they should not have been discouraged they had gone down into Egypt seventy five souls of them this was as the result of a famine in the land of Canaan. It was Joseph that took them down there and they were given the best land in the land of Egypt in the land of Goshen. They progressed and they grew until the number of the Israelites grew into thousands of them in fact Pharaoh passed and another passed until the Pharaoh the king of Egypt did not know Joseph and the circumstance of the Israelite people and he put burdens upon them that was heavy for them to bear. And the Lord called Moses and he went down to deliver them. And it was not an easy thing for God sent plagues upon them and the people there especially the Egyptian people suffered as a result of the plague. And on occasion the Lord said to Moses that this would be the last one and he said “I’m going to send the death angel through the land of Egypt tonight” and this was the 10th plague. The Lord told Moses to tell the people to kill a lamb and put the blood on the door posts on the door lentil and when I see the blood I’ll pass over you. In other words the first born of your house will be spared and where there is no application of blood the first born of man and beast will be slain. And so at midnight the death angel went through and it went through every household and even through the Kings house. At midnight Pharoah rose up and said take these people and leave here for they had had all they could stand of the punishment and judgment of the Lord. So Moses took the people and left the land of Egypt. And number one it hadn’t been long since God spared their first born in the land of Egypt and you would think they would have remembered that. And when I speak this morning I need to remind you we need also to remember the blessings we have received from the Lord. I can speak to you clearly this morning and say to you that the Lord has never never forgotten a single promise he has made to you. And you can go back in your life and see. So the Israelites left the city of bondage and the scriptures said of Moses he brought them out with a high hand and that means he had the help of the Lord when he brought them out. But immediately they met an obstacle and the Egyptians persuaded after them and the mountains were on either side of them and the sea in front of them and they said to Moses they had rather died in Egypt by the flesh pots rather than to die down here in this place and so Moses talked to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses to call the Elders of the Children of Israel before the Red Sea and call the people up then take your rod up and stretch it across the sea and so he did just that. The bible said when he stretched the rod across the Red Sea the Lord sent a strong east wind and he separated the waters of the Red Sea and the children of Israel walked across that sea on dry land to the other side. He knocked the wheels off the chariots of the Egyptians and the scripture said the Egyptians pulled those chariots as some slides. Now a few of you know what a slide is. Back in the old days when the hills were too steep and they couldn’t take a wagon the farmers instead took a slide and gathered their crops to bring them in. And so he knocked the wheels off the chariots and when they got in the midst of the sea the Lord said to Moses to pull back your rod and the waters came together and Pharaoh and his army died to the last one of them in the midst of the Red Sea. So the Lord had done to them a wonderful favor a wonderful blessing. It seems to me that as an unusual blessing and such a great demonstration of the power of the Lord that they could have easily forgotten about that time. But you see sometimes we forget our blessing so quick and we are tempted by the old devil to go after things that hinder us in the service of the Lord. This was not all for they went a little way into the wilderness and they were without water to drink and all of us know how important it is to have water to drink. You can’t survive many days without water and again they complained to Moses for them being without water. They said we’d just rather been left in Egypt than to bring us out here and as a good leader would do he prayed again. And the Lord said to gather the Elders together to the Rock in Org and this is important and I want you to listen as he called them forth to the rock the rock represented the Rock of Ages the Lord Jesus Christ and this water that they was about to receive was not only physical water or drinking water but it was a symbol of the water of life that Jesus Christ gives those who come to them in seeking salvation. Not only that but he told Moses to hit the rock you remember Jesus Christ was smitten on the cross of Calvary and as he was smitten on the cross that rock that was smitten became a symbol of Christ the Lord Jesus Christ. So Moses hit the rock and water came forth and the bible said they all drank of the same rock and they all drank of the same water. It seems to me it would be hard to forget that God brought water from a rock. And another time when they was without food and starving to death Moses prayed and God gave them manna from heaven which they’d never seen anything like before in their life. I was thinking about this while they were singing the last song and I thought if it was like the other day when the snowflakes were large and we could just see them falling down to the ground. God Almighty rained wafer cakes down from heaven so they might have food to eat and the scripture said they gathered and ate wafer cakes in the morning and quail in the evening. And now then they had become tremendous complainers and I need to remind you that it does not please the Lord when we become chronic complainers and he wants us to be thankful and he wants us to serve him. But in the flesh we are weak we know we are weak and so we ask him to help us by sustaining us by his grace and he said if we would ask him that by his grace it would be sufficient for us. So I suspicion this morning that we are some like these people instead of asking for a strength of his grace we become complainers and these people became complainers. Not only complainers but much discouraged. What does it mean? Now I’m going to talk about something that you are much familiar with when you become much discouraged in the house of the Lord you know what you do you just kind of drag in. You know it’s like it’s not worth anything to you or you’re not interested in it then the songs are not like they should be they’re just not as lively as they should be and it means the message doesn’t seem to be worth anything to the people that are listening and so they were much discouraged and the Lord was so displeased that he sent fiery serpents among them. I need to warn you this morning that we don’t want any part of the fiery serpents he sent among them. They couldn’t stand it and they said “Lord we have sinned against you and Moses” and they asked Moses to take away these fiery serpents. You see they were poisoned and people were dying and after many people died they finally recognized what they’d done wrong they asked Moses to ask the Lord to forgive them. But anyway they wanted the fiery serpents taken away and they asked Moses to ask the Lord to take them away and the Lord said to Moses “that I won’t take the serpents away but I’ll give them a remedy for the serpents.” Now in the 3rd chapter of the Gospel According to John and the 14th verse Jesus mentioned the circumstance of these people. Here when I quote this verse you’ll remember it and when he spoke to Nichodemus and he said “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even so must the man be lifted up that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. So the Lord did not choose to take away the serpents but rather to give a remedy for them. Moses made a brass serpent and put it upon a pole and the scripture said it came to pass that whosoever was bitten and looked lived and lest I don’t get back to that let me say that God Almighty has not chosen to remove sin from this world as long as this world remains but he has chosen to give a remedy for sin. And it comes to pass when people are born into the world and then they come to the age of responsibility and know they are sinners they can look to Jesus in repentance and faith and live and be saved of his wonderful marvelous grace. And so these people were much discouraged but God Almighty sent a remedy sent a remedy for the fiery serpents but you know that didn’t take care of everything. I need to mention to you this morning about somebody you’ll be familiar with in the scripture one of the greatest prophets of all time was Elijah. That great prophet from the Old Testament and in the scripture the Book of James said that Elijah was a man like we are and he prayed and asked to Lord to withhold the rain. And the Lord did that. If you ask the Lord to do some miraculous thing like that and he did it would you forget it we need to remember to count our blessings and so the Lord withheld the rain. Again the same man faced 450 of the Prophets of Baal and the bible said that when he prayed he answered his prayer in that he swept up the altar the sacrifice that was put on it the water that was put around it and the people said the Lord his is God surely we would remember that. And you know Jezebel the wife of Ahab who was a wicked woman sent him word the next day and said as you have done unto the prophets of Baal so will I have done unto thee. And this man who had witnessed so miraculous benefits from the Lord he got weak his faith got weak and he ran from his people and his place in life and stopped under a juniper tree. Lord how can you how can you when the Lord has been so good to answer your prayer even wipe up the altar and the sacrifice how can you become so weak so quick and run from your place in life? He stopped under a juniper tree and do you know what happened? I mentioned the other Sunday that the Lord sent an angel and woke him up and twice he woke him up and twice he fed him and he went in the strength of that 40 days and 40 nights. After this he went to the widow woman’s house and she met him there at the gate and he said to her “make me a couple of cakes” and she said “I’ve just got a little meal left “and he said “to do as I said” and she said “I’m going to make a cake for me and my son and we’re going to eat and die”. Then he said “do that but make one for the prophet first and when you do that the meal in the barrel will not fail and the Cruz in the oil will be plentiful”. So that came to pass and he went on to the mountain and I’ve told you how he hid in the mountain and the Lord found him standing at the mouth of the cave in the mountain. And the Lord said “Elijah what are you doing here?” and Elijah said “Lord they’ve killed all your prophets and I’m the only one left” now the subject is “Much Discouraged”. Here was a man much greater than I am much stronger than I am and had witnessed some of the great miracles of the Lord and he was faithless and running for his life. “They’ve killed all your prophets and they’ve digged up your altars” and then he said “now their seeking my life”. And so the bible said the wind came by but the Lord was not in it and then the thunder the lightening and a storm but then a still small voice and the still small voice was the voice of the Lord. Have you ever heard that still small voice? Sometimes we sing a song “He Whispers Sweet Peace to Me”. I’ve heard his voice and I’ll say to you there is no voice like his voice when he whispers and you’ll know that it’s him when he whispers to you. But the point is that this man was strong and such a strong man in the Lord and yet he ran. But it wouldn’t be right for me to tell you all this morning that I’ve never become discouraged. And it wouldn’t be right for me to tell you that I would never quit the ministry but I don’t have any intentions of doing that yet I look at greater men than me have taken the fall and laid down their walk in life in the paths of righteousness and quit the service of the Lord. I preached this message this morning so that you may become encouraged and if I become discouraged that you’ll be there to help me up when I fall and I may fall sometimes. It doesn’t take but a word for you to become discouraged and sometimes it doesn’t take but a word to lift you up and set you on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me just say to you this morning before I close in the Book of Hebrews the Apostle wrote of the Lord and and said he’ll never leave you nor forsake you. Now I can’t promise you that. I can promise that he that is the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you and the Lord said to Elijah that I have 7000 that have not bowed their knee to me and I have 7000 that have not kissed his image. Well you see the Lord was bringing encouragement to him and he can bring encouragement to us this morning. I’ll speak as clear and plain to you as I and say the Lord has many people that are still faithful to the Lord and many churches that are faithful to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We need to simply just take our place and help them as they help us and fight the battle and the Lord said of the New Testament church that the gates of hell shall not fail him and we may have become discouraged and worthless as Christians but the gates of hell and all the powers of Satan and his forces will not bring to nothing to the New Testament Church as long as there is a world. In the great commission he said “I’ll be with you all the way till the end of the world.” And that’s as long as we’ll need him so let us take courage this morning and let us take courage in what we’re doing and put out the good news of what we’re doing in the gospel of Jesus Christ which the Lord has chosen through the preaching of the gospel to save them that’s going to believe and not everybody’s going to believe. And not to get overanxious and at times we do get overanxious. We want to take his work into our own hands but honey we’ve got to do our work and then God will do his own work. And I guarantee we’ll flourish as a New Testament Church. I can’t take away the discouragement that you may feel and I can’t take away the weaknesses that you may have but I can say to you that my Lord said “my grace shall be sufficient for thee.” I am made strong in the times of weakness and when we are weak he is strong. And he’ll help us and withhold us with his hand. I’ve used this verse a lot of times but Bro. Overton would say “It’s not worn out.” The Psalmist said he would uphold us with his hand. I once was young but now I’m old and I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. And so the Lord will be with us and supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory. If we ask him to do that. I’m going to close my message this morning. I hope you will be encouraged in the work of the Lord and we’re going into a new year and every year is different and next year won’t be like this year nor will next Sunday be like last Sunday but we’ll just face what tomorrow holds for us having all confidence in the Lord in that he’ll take care of whatever is before us.
Blog Post 013011 – Being Discouraged – Numbers 21:4-9 – 3762 Words