Numbers 21:4 "...and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way." Israel's journey out of Egypt and into the promised land had been filled with trials and hardship. They had not trusted God and had suffered greatly for their unbelief and hardness of heart. Now as they are very near the promised land, they requested permission to pass through the land of Edom, which would be a great short cut for them. They went a message to the Edomites, politely asking permission to pass through. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother. They were cousins, they were family. The Edomites replied that they would not allow Israel to pass through. So Moses asks a second time, saying they would stay on the Highway, and if any livestock drank any of the water, they would pay for it. But still Edom said no, and they came out against Israel with many men. Israel was forced to go around the land of Edom, which was very discouraging! They lost perspective on their journey, and began complaining. They were tired of the manna, and called it worthless bread. This manna had kept them alive for almost 40 years, yet they were not thankful. The Lord allowed serpents to come in and bite the people. Moses was instructed to make a serpent of bronze, set it on a pole, and tell the people that everyone who looked at the bronze serpent would be healed. Discouragement can come against any of God's people. It is a weapon meant to defeat us, and cause us to stop our journey with God. When discouraged, we need to stop and spend time with God to hear His Word and gain new perspective. God will bring new courage into our lives while we wait on Him. He will speak through His Word, through prayer, and through other people. He will renew our strength as we wait on Him. Ps. 42-43 tells of a time when Israel was very discouraged. Three times the writer spoke to his own soul saying, "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the help of His countenance." Take time to let God speak to you and encourage you. Pour out your heart to God, and He will comfort you with His lovingkindness, and He will give you a new song.
What do you do in times of discouragement?
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