3. DISCOURAGEMENT LEADS TO MURMURING.  Discouragement, despair, and self-pity eventually lead to murmuring. You look around at what’s happening to you. You don’t like it. It’s hurting or adversely affecting you. So what do you do? Like the Israelites, you blame God! And the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. (5) And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread (Numbers 21:4,5). It’s all God’s fault! God’s wrong for allowing the trial. He’s wrong for letting the trial go this far. This long. He’s wrong for not answering our prayers.  He’s wrong for not making matters any better. He’s wrong for making life so hard. God’s wrong!

The purpose or advantage of making such accusations against God is it puts all the blame and responsibility on God. You can drop out of the race, you can walk out of the furnace, you can leave the Lord and the church; blaming God and maintaining your rightness and innocence. It’s all God’s fault. And as long as it’s God’s fault, you’re not to blame. You’re not wrong!  So, with this summary judgment, you do whatever you want to do, you go wherever you want to go, without shouldering any guilt or responsibility. It isn’t your fault!

4. DISCOURAGEMENT TAKES YOU BACK.  When you fear for your life and welfare (this desert walk will kill me!), you’ll do what you must to try and preserve it. You see, the Israelites were in a barren desert land with very little food and water. It didn’t look too good for them. The desert didn’t look too promising. There wasn’t much hope that the desert would feed them and quench their thirst. If you read through the entire wilderness narrative (Exodus & Numbers), you’ll find that most of the Israelites’ complaints had to do with food and water: they complained about the desert’s threat to their physical well-being. In a word, they feared for their lives.

Brethren, you’re not in a literal desert. But often times, this life with all its trials is every bit like a desert. And you can get to fearing for your life. How is this trial going to end?  Pondering on the way, it doesn’t look too good and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end well for you. So what do you do? You try to preserve your life and insure your safety or well-being. How do you do that? You quit walking with the Lord, you leave the church, and you go back to Egypt.

For some, (1) Egypt is the world and the freedom to do whatever they want to do. The freedom to be lustful and live for the flesh. (2) For others, Egypt is the false religious systems of man that allow you to believe whatever you want to believe; live however you want to live; without getting any flack or conviction about it. No laws. No rules. God doesn’t really want anything from you. He doesn’t expect you to do anything for Him. All He wants is for you to believe Him and if you do that, you’ll go to Heaven. (3) For still others, Egypt is a no-man’s-land, a barren wilderness. They’re not in the world, they’re not in church. They stay at home, to themselves and go nowhere, spiritually speaking. It’s called spiritual stagnancy, complacency, and lukewarmness.

5. DISCOURAGEMENT KILLS YOU! If you don’t get rid of discouragement, discouragement will ultimately kill you in a spiritual way. It’ll kill you in Egypt. It’ll kill you in compromise and delusion. It’ll kill you in complacency and apathy. Discouragement kills!

Like many of the Israelites, the desert journey ended in death. When the way got tough, the people became discouraged. In their discouragement, they complained and let their tongue run loose against God and against their God-chosen leader. And their complaining, in turn, ended in death: And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died (Numbers 21:6). The Lord didn’t allow His people to complain and get away with it. He dealt with it.

Brethren, you can’t complain, criticize and find fault with God and His ways and get away with it. God will deal with you about it. And when that happens, it isn’t very pleasant. God doesn’t take too kindly to your complaints. The way may be hard and discouraging; there may be lots of things to complain about. But considering God’s provision thus far, His miracle of manna and water out of rocks, His many answers to your prayers, and His preservation of your life and soul to date; you really have nothing to complain about! You have no business finding fault with God! That kind of conduct can only lead to your demise in the desert. So you’re not happy with the way things are going? My friends, watch out! Fiery serpents are close at hand.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 4. When you’re down and out, what can you do to get up and going again? You don’t want to miss this next blog. Come on by and, instead of letting the Devil bury you, we’ll get you out of the hole and bury him instead.

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