Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dealing with Discouragement

Exodus 15: 22-27
The devil's greatest tool in stopping a good work is not envy, jealousy, hate, or greed.  It is discouragement! Satan uses this tool to wedge through our spiritual armor.  Lack of numbers, unrealized vision, or improper expectations can cause us to get discouraged and quit!  Many are continuing to play the notes without the music, serve without reward, labor without love, and battle without victory.
Our passage for study shows it can even happen to God’s people. Every great work of God is followed by the attack of Satan. Our passage for today sharing the discouragement of the people follows a rousing hymn of praise for the deliverance and victory God had just provided. 
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.  So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"  Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.  And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."  Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.  Exodus 15:22-27 
God can use discouragement if we understand it the way that He works.
What can we learn from Moses about discouragement?  The people he led had a vision and a commitment then turned aside to idols and murmuring.  In this passage, we see great deliverance followed by thirst and then bitter water and major complaining. Here is an age-old great experience in life tends to make people experts with strong opinions.  He would say, “If you try a great work, you better expect times of discouragement.”
We Defend Against Discouragement By Remembering...
·      The Greatest Successes Of Life Are Often Followed By Failure.  v.22-23
The biggest mistake the Israelites made was feeling that the Egyptians were their only problem.  Sometimes our confidence becomes pride and we cease to recognize our need of God.  God does not only let us fail, but may even negotiate our failure because He can only teach us some things this way.  Jesus said to Peter when he got a bit cocky, "Satan has desired to sift you and you are going to fail the test."
Why would God lead us through bitter experiences?
1.    To Prove us -v.25
God does not test our faith in the glorious situations (such a church stage) of life but with the bitter water found in everyday living.
2.    To Purify us -v.26
God calls us to follow or be treated like the Egyptians.  He wants to purify and strengthen our faith and will accomplish His purpose whether it be by cooperation or chastening.
3.    To Prepare us - James 1:2-3 says Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  God is preparing us for greater ministry.  He is strengthening us for a larger task.
Discouragement fails to achieve the purpose of God in the midst of the disappointments and frustrations of life.  The loss of courage is often the loss of vision and purpose and can be costly for any life.  Exercise faith in the face of bitter water.

Scripture to Claim

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners… Isaiah 61:1

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