The Deadliness of Discouragement

Over one million adults were saved from the judgment of God by the
blood of the passover lamb. These same ones were also saved from the enemy by the power of
God at the Red Sea. Yet only two of these million plus adults ever entered the Promised
Land. Why didn’t the great majority go in?

Was the root reason shameful immorality? Was it stealing from others?
Was it something as horrible as cold blooded murder? Did it involve fundamental false
doctrine concerning the ten commandments? Was the reason because of a powerful attack by a
pagan enemy? The surprising truth, as recorded in Scripture, was their minds simply became
discouraged. This in turn caused their faith to fail. And this deadly discouragement was
produced by their very own brethren—and by only ten of them!

The twelve spies for the children of Israel viewed what God had
ordained and promised by His Word. Ten of the twelve reported back to the million plus
adult Israelites a good bit of truth, but in a negative spirit. The negative attitude of
the ten men literally broke the mind-spirit of hundreds of thousands of their brethren.

The ten reported that the Canaanites were giants, their cities great,
and their walls high. (Deut. 1:28) While this was all true, the ten used this
‘truth’ in a critical way so as to convince the congregation that going in would
produce defeat rather than blessing. Truth mixed with the negative spirit of faultfinding
subtly conveyed the idea that doing it God’s way would be a foolish choice.

Thus, the people looked at the negative circumstances rather than the
Word of God. Their reason for not going in was "our brethren have discouraged our
heart." (Deut. 1:28)

The Hebrew word discourage means "to break, neutralize and
make of none effect." The mind destroying sin of discouragement that kept so many out
of the land was why Moses later protested so forcefully when the tribes of Gad and Reuben
wanted to remain on the east side of the Jordan. (Num. 32:9) He realized that their not
helping the other ten tribes with the warfare would "discourage...the hearts of the
children of Israel." (32:7) From experience Moses knew that faithlessness,
disobedience and defeat follow closely behind discouragement.

This is also why in Deut. 20:1-8 Moses ordered the new generation of
Israelites to send home any brethren who would be fainthearted as they faced the rigors of
warfare. The reason given for this strong action was that this negative attitude would be
contagious and infect the minds of others with discouragement, and thereby render them
ineffective. Moses knew that discouraged minds are as deadly as the enemy’s sword.

How many of God’s children in the Church have become discouraged
by negative attitudes toward the promises of God by their own brethren? How many
assemblies have been divided by a few who paint a negative picture (with truth in it) and
thus have turned the hearts of many from fully obeying the truth of the Word in exchange
for "successful" traditions of men?

While not ignoring problems and biblical solutions, beware and guard
your mind against discouraging reports and negative spirits. They can eventually affect
your mind and then your actions.

Faith believes the promises of God in His Word and endures even during
difficult circumstances. When God's Word commands something - patience accepts the
situation without giving God a deadline to remove it.

In these days when many would discourage the assemblies in their
practice of New Testament truths, let us press on in obedience, being encouraged by the
words of the Lord to the church in Philadelphia — "Thou hast a little strength,
and …thou hast kept the word of my patience." (Rev. 3:8-10)