Discouragement caused the Israelites to doubt God’s promise, give up their dream, and die in the wilderness. And ironically, they were only a few days away from the Promised Land. How did it happen? After spending forty days in Canaan, a land of such fruitfulness that it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes, ten out of twelve spies came back saying, ‘We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are! So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites’ (v.31-32 NLT). So how did God deal with the spies who had spread such discouragement? ‘The ten men…who incited rebellion against the Lord with their bad report – were struck dead with a plague…only Joshua and Caleb remained alive’ (Numbers 14:36-38 NLT). We need to ask ourselves whether we are sometimes tempted to spread discouragement. When we see others facing negative circumstances, do we express doubts about their ability to succeed? Can we listen to someone’s plans without making disheartening remarks? Even if we can’t quite envision their dreams, we can still agree to stand in faith with them for God’s perfect will to be done in their life. As we saw in yesterday’s reading, everyone needs a little encouragement from time to time. So let’s make a conscious effort to speak sincere words of affirmation, support, and inspiration to those within our circles of influence. And when we encounter a discourager, we mustn’t let them derail us. We should remind ourselves, and them, that God is ‘able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think’ (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV). Because He can.
Think of all the people who have encouraged you during your lifetime. Get in touch with as many of them as possible and share an encouraging word or just say thank you to them today.
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