Snapshots: Day 120
The Snapshot: “do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9) Discouragement is a tactic of the enemy as he whispers into our minds, “you failed yesterday so you will fail tomorrow,” or “this problem is too great, give up now,” or “nobody loves you so give up on them,” or “this church is full of hypocrites just like you, what hope is there?” And so it goes on, words that discourage, words that are often blatant lies, or words that are sometimes half-truths, but what these words all forget is that the God who sent His Son to redeem us, and sent His Spirit to empower us, is still here with is, for us, working to bring us through into a place of victory, assurance, love and blessing. Hold the whole picture.
Further Consideration: Encouragement is a vital weapon in the armoury of God’s people. A dictionary defines it as, ‘an action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope’. When Paul taught on personal prophecy he said, “the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” (1 Cor 14:3) One of the things that such words should do is encourage, bless, build up, strengthen, bring fresh hope, fresh confidence.
The greatest word of encouragement that I think can be brought is, “the Lord is with you.” When it comes as a word of prophecy it takes it from dry doctrine and transforms it into life-giving energy that lifts the soul and the spirit and puts new purpose into the day.
Of course, some say, the Lord is always with us, He indwells us by His Spirit. Absolutely but there are different senses of meaning. When the word comes, “the Lord is with you” it brings the sense that He is here with approval and encouragement, and you have to wonder if that wasn’t true why ever would there be so many times when those words were brought with such significance? (see Judg 6:12, 2 Sam 7:3, 14:17, 1 Chron 22:18, 28:20, Amos 5:14, Zeph 3:15,17, Zech 8:23, Lk 1:28)
But then some might say, why do we need encouragement? Very simply because we live in a fallen world and have an adversary whose goal is to disarm us with discouragement. If it wasn’t so the Lord would never have said to Joshua, “Don’t be discouraged.” The word had already come through Moses (see Deut 1:21, 31:8) and will yet come again to Joshua (see Josh 8:1) and Joshua would pass it on (see Josh 10:25) It was a word that often arose – see 1 Chron 22:13, 28:20, 2 Chron 20:15,17, 32:7) – simply because the need was there.
We live in a fallen world where things go wrong, opposition arises and so on, and so in all of this we need encouragement, we need to hear the words, “do not be discouraged” and we need to remember, He is with us. Be encouraged & be an encourager!