7/2/2000 6:00 PM
This is the story of Joshua and the campaign against Ai. There were some problems they encountered and the battle was a defeat. We will have times when it seems that nothing can go right and it is then that discouragement will try to set in. Because of sin in the camp God wouldn't fight for the Israelites in this battle. Others will let us down and that is also a time when discouragement will try to work. If you let others down it will be discouragement to them. Be faithful to that which God would have you do. Discouragement can work because of over confidence. When we put confidence in our own abilities, we can count on being let down. God has made it possible to do all things through his grace and help. Keep faith in God. Don't lean on your own abilities - lean on God for strength. When God gives the victory, we need to be sure that HE gets the credit. When discouragement sets in, your words won't be profitable for the encouragement of others. Discouragement breeds discouragement. God knows and is still at work and we need to keep confidence in him. Joshua spoke the words of a discouraged leader. God doesn't need discouraged leaders. Discouragement often comes as you make an effort to go forward. We don't want to be content NOT to go forward. God wants us to keep pressing until we reach heaven. There is room for growth all through life. If we encounter things that aren't as we had it pictured, seek God for help and get up and go again. Get up and give it another try. Were prone to have it all worked out in our head, and sometimes things will fall short of what we had pictured and we can get discouraged. We shouldn't be content with no progress. Discouragement brings dire predictions. It brings on the negative "what if's...? We don't need any dire predictions. We might face some really hard things, and the potential is there to make things look harder than they are. This is what discouragement does.
The Lord told Joshua, "Get up and get moving." Things may seem to be impossible, and if we were to go in our own strength they would be, but "with God, ALL things are possible." Don't give in to discouragement in any way.
With all these promises, Joshua shouldn't have been discouraged. It should have been an encouragement for him to think back on what God had told him. Just looking at the help God gave to Moses should have been an encouragement. "Be strong and of a good courage." Courage and faith go together. God can encourage us through his word. When you know you are doing what God has told you to do, that also can be an encouragement when it seems that everything is going wrong. Be faithful to his commandment. It may not turn out like you have it pictured, but it helps to know that God sent you. The battles will still come, but we can have encouragement in those times. God didn't empty the land of people before the Israelites arrived. He said, "Go get what you need." God wants us to get what we need. He wants to help us and to strengthen us. We all face disappointments and discouragements. We need to learn to lean on God and depend on him for the help we need. "Be strong and of a good courage." Be encouraged and press forward for God. He has what we need and he wants us to grow and find him able to bring us through all we face.