Discouragement, One of the Devil’s Greatest Tools Num. 21:1-9 Jn. 3:14 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
One of the greatest tools of the devil is discouragement. Many saved born again people are on the sidelines instead of in the game today because of discouragement. One of the most dangerous things about discouragement is that you can become discouraged when you are doing right for the Lord and the discouragement can lead you to sin.
Using the children of Israel in the wilderness as an example we will look at some of the results of discouragement and also a cure for discouragement.
In Numbers 21:1-9 we see where the children of Israel because of discouragement spoke against God and Moses and complained about their situation which led to being bitten by fiery serpents. The cure for the fiery serpents was to look on the brazen serpent that Moses had put upon a pole.
In John 3:14 Jesus makes reference to this event because it is a type of his death on the cross for our sins.
Typology of the Brazen Serpent :
1) People were bitten by fiery serpents and dying – Type of sin killing people today.
- Serpent was cursed in connection with sin (Genesis 3:14)
2) Brazen Serpent put on a pole – Type of Jesus Christ being crucified.
- Brass represents Judgment.
- Serpent is a type of Jesus Christ because when he was on the cross he became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and also bore our sin in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24).
3) The children of Israel must look to the serpent to live – We must look to Jesus Christ and him alone for salvation.
While the typology is beautiful we must look at the events that led Israel to get into trouble with the fiery serpents. Note what the word of God says in verse 4.
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 was much discouraged because of the way.
The people were discouraged because of the way. The Christian life is hard and many times the path that Jesus has given us to walk may be filled with difficulties. If we are not careful we will become just like Israel and get discouraged and wind up in trouble.
The results of discouragement :
1) It caused Israel to speak against God and his man (verse 5)
- When we are discouraged we will begin to criticize the pastor, those in authority, and others at the church.
2) Israel lost sight of their original purpose (verse 5)
- They accused Moses of bringing them out into the wilderness to die. That was not at all their purpose.
- The reason God created us was for his pleasure (Revelation 4:11). That is our main purpose. When we are discouraged we lose sight of that purpose just as Israel lost sight of their main purpose.
3) They distorted the truth (verse 5)
- Israel said that there was no bread or water. God had provided for them since he led them out of Egypt.
- When we get discouraged we tend to distort the truth. Have you ever said nobody loves you or cares about you?
4) They hated the blessing they had (verse 5)
- They said they loathed the bread. Discouragement causes us to do the same thing. We will begin to despise the blessings that God has given us.
See how dangerous discouragement is, it led Israel to commit these terrible things. But the good news is that there is a cure. The cure for the fiery serpent was to look at the brazen serpent on the pole. The cure for discouragement is to look to Jesus Christ.
The cure for discouragement : (Hebrews 12:1-4)
1) Look unto Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith (verse 2)
- In this we see the true perspective. It is usually our perspective that is off that causes us to be discouraged in the first place.
- We must remember that everything we do is for him and it has nothing to do with us. Take yourself out of the equation.
2) Consider Jesus Christ (verse 3)
- Here we see our inspiration. Jesus endured the cross even when he was perfectly innocent and still did not quit.
- Jesus was never discouraged (Isaiah 42:4) therefore he is the perfect inspiration.
3) Don’t quit (verse 4)
- In this we see our determination. Note did shed his blood and didn’t quit.
- We should strive to continue on for the Lord no matter how discouraged we are.
Discouragement can be deadly but if we look to the Lord Jesus Christ and consider him and let him be our inspiration and give us the determination that is necessary we can overcome discouragement and the temptations that come with it.