Mature Class Study, teacher Rick Coleman.
It’s easy to sometimes be discouraged in life through persecutions by coworkers or family, family problems, financial problems, disappointed expectations, or disappointments about job promotions.
II Corinthians 4:8-18 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also…and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
There’s discouragement all around us because of high gasoline prices, war, politics, crime, and conditions in our state. In Revelation we read some came out of great tribulation. They came out – they didn’t get stuck there.
Revelation 7:13-14 And one of the elders answered…What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Moses had to lead hundreds of thousands out of Egypt but they complained and cried. Moses was discouraged by them and wanted to die. Later God gave elders to help Moses. Saints can get discouraged if they’re not careful.
Numbers 11:4-15 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people…gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. Then Moses heard the people weep…and the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased. And Moses said unto the Lord, Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.
Joshua complained in his discouragement when the people ran from the battle. God told Joshua to get up and face the situation. When we face discouragements, we need to fall on our face and pray for God’s help. He’ll remind us to get up, face the battle, and know he will help us. Paul and Silas were beaten and put in jail for preaching. They may have been discouraged at first but they looked to God and sang praises. None of us have been beaten like Paul, but he said it was a light affliction.
Joshua 7:2-8 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai…saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said…Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai…for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote…about thirty and six men…wherefore the hearts of the people melted …And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face…until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into…the Amorites, to destroy us?…O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies!
All the leaders were against Daniel and got the king to sign a decree that no one could make a petition (or prayer) to anyone but the king. Daniel knew the decree was signed and he could die but he still prayed to God 3 times a day.
Daniel 6:7-8 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute…that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree…which altereth not.
Daniel had faith in God to help him. When the men found Daniel praying, they told King Darius. The king tried to deliver Daniel but had to put him in the lions’ den. Daniel was 84 years old. God delivered him from the lions’ mouths.
Daniel 6:11-23 Then these men…found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came…before the king concerning the king’s decree…that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true…Then answered they…That Daniel…regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king…heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel…laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled…and said…Know, O king…That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king…said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee…Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting…sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early…went in haste unto the den of lions…cried with a lamentable voice…O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel…My God hath sent his angel…shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me…forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee…Then was the king exceeding glad…commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up…no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
We will be perplexed but not in despair. Discouragement is lacking courage. The scriptures tell us to take courage. We’re afraid to face our fears without courage. God has an experience for us to be able to face our fears and have courage for difficult times. Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers and may have been a bit discouraged but he took courage and God was with him. Are we discouraged about our future or health? We can take courage with God helping us be strong.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Psalm 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
God will bless us if we face our fears with his help. We’ll have victory because we’re saved.
Psalm 27:3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
David had to run for his life when Saul was against him and trying to kill him. He knew God would help him.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
David was greatly distressed when his men talked about stoning him, but he encouraged himself in the Lord. When we get discouraged or into a deep depression, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord like David did.
I Samuel 30:1-6 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag…the Amalekites had invaded…and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives…carried them away…David and his men came to the city, …it was burned with fire…Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives…David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.