“So they spread this bad report.” Nu 13:32 NLT
Discouragement caused the Israelites to doubt God’s promise, give up their dream, and die in the wilderness. Ironically, they were only several days’ journey from the Promised Land! How did it happen? After spending forty days in Canaan, a land of such fruitfulness that it took two men to carry one cluster of grapes, ten out of twelve spies came back saying, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are! So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites” (vv. 31-32 NLT). Now, would you like to know how God feels about people who spread such discouragement? “The ten men…who incited rebellion against the Lord with their bad report—were struck dead with a plague…only Joshua and Caleb remained alive” (Nu 14:36-38 NLT). So how about you? When you see others facing negative circumstances, do you express doubt about their ability to succeed? Can you listen to someone’s plans without making disheartening remarks? Even if you can’t quite envision their dreams, at least agree to stand in faith with them for God’s perfect will to be done concerning the proposed endeavor. Think of all the people who have encouraged you during your lifetime! In a world plagued with negativity and bad news, everyone needs a little encouragement from time to time. So make a conscious effort to speak sincere words of affirmation, support, and inspiration to those within your circle of influence. And when you encounter a discourager, don’t let them derail you. Remind yourself and them that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph 3:20 NKJV). Because He can!