Why Discouragement Means Death

3

LISTEN NOW!

November 1, 2021

Numbers 14:26-35 (NIV)

36 So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord. 38 Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.

CONSIDER THIS

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

Welcome back to today!

We come to a very hard teaching today. 

So the men Moses had sent to explore the land, who returned and made the whole community grumble against him by spreading a bad report about it— 37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the Lord.

Something in me doesn’t want God to be this way. I mean, couldn’t we just demote them or dock their pay or fire them? Why death? This is the Word of God, however, and I don’t sit in judgment on this Word. I sit under its judgment. So I ask, What would you teach me here, Lord? Here is what I am hearing and seeing in this text:

Our words carry great weight. Words create worlds ,and they can also destroy them. Listen to the brother of Jesus on this point: 

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:3-6

Many of you reading this do not have an adequate grasp on the power of your words. It is the single greatest power you have to steward. The highest stewardship you can exercise with your words is the choice to be an encourager. Don’t confuse this with positive-thinking optimism. And don’t think encouragers don’t say hard things when needed. Whether challenging or inspiring, the task of an encourager is to speak the truth in love so that, “we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15. 

The most damaging and devastating thing we can do with our words is to discourage others. Look at the destructive fire started by the words of the ten spies (aka the majority report). It spread through the people like a forest fire, scorching faith and burning hope to the ground. Look at the extraordinary cost of this cancer of discouragement. Forty years of wandering lostness and more funerals than we can count. 

Here’s the real tragedy. The God of Heaven and Earth was not asking these twelve spies for their opinion on his Word and Promise. He was not “calling for the question.” This was never meant to be an up or down vote on the Word of God. We do not sit in judgment on the Word of God. In all things we stand under His authority as we humbly seek to understand His will in all things. Encouragement—and consequently discouragement—is a matter of life and death. Encouragement is life. Discouragement is death. 

I love this opening declaration in the Sowers Creed: Today, I stake everything on the promise of the Word of God. 

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

THE PRAYER

Father, I declare it: Today I stake everything on the promise of the Word of God. Thank you that your Word is your promise and your promise is everything. Train my words after your words. Teach me to say what you say and to do what you do and to think like you think. Awaken me to the power of my words to encourage. Come Holy Spirit and train me to always speak the truth in love so that others might flourish. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

THE QUESTION

Do you ever tend to think to yourself, “What difference can my words make? Do my words even matter? Does anyone even listen to me?” If so, why do you think you tend to think this way? What will it take to wake up to the truth? 

P.S. — ENCOURAGEMENT #1

ENCOURAGEMENT #1 TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SEEDBED ADVENT EXPERIENCE: Deeper Advent = Better Christmas. I think the best Advent material I have ever composed is The Christian New Year, which we will be walking through together. Now is the time to turn the page into a new day in the Lord and together is the way. Let’s do this! You can see all the details here. If you already have the book, The Christian New Year, be sure to choose that option on the dropdown to avoid buying another book—OR EVEN BETTER—get another book and invite a friend to join us. COME ON!

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

SHARE

Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This study on Encouragement is truly a game-changer for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you J.D. Walt [and friends]!

LEAVE A REPLY