OceanSide church of Christ
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I AM STRUGGLING WITH…
Victor M. Eskew
A. Job made an interesting statement about man in Job 14:1.
Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
1. Man is flesh.
2. Man lives in a fallen world.
3. Man has an extremely evil adversary.
B. In essence, man struggles in this life.
1. When Jacob spoke to Pharaoh, he said: “…few and evil have the days of the years of my life been…”
2. Jesus told His disciples: “…in the world ye shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33)
C. In 2020, we began a series of lessons entitled: “I Am Struggling with…”
1. Every Child of God Struggles at Times
2. I Am Struggling with Faithfulness
3. I Am Struggling with Fear
D. In today’s lesson, we want to examine the subject: “I Am Struggling with…Discouragement.”
I. DEFINITION OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. The word discouragement can be broken into two sections: “dis” and “courage.”
1. The prefix “dis” means “apart,” “asunder,” or “away.”
2. The word courage is defined as “having heart.”
3. The two words together involve “the removal of the heart” or “not having heart.”
B. Dictionary definitions:
1. Dictionary.com: “to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit”
2. Cambridge Dictionary: to fell less confident, less hopeful, to be less willing to do something
3. Webster’s Dictionary: to deprive of courage or confidence
II. PICTURES OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. The Israelites in the wilderness
1. Israel spent about two years in the wilderness before arriving at Kadeshbarnea in the wilderness of Paran (Num. 12:16).
2. Twelve men, one from each tribe of Israel, were sent to spy out the land (Num. 13:2).
3. When they returned, ten of them had a negative report of the land (Num. 13:32).
4. The reaction of the people was that of discouragement.
a. They cried and wept (Num. 14:1).
b. They murmured against Moses and against Aaron (Num. 14:2).
c. They wish they had died in either Egypt or the wilderness (Num. 14:2)
d. They thought it would be better to return to Egypt (Num. 14:3).
e. They thought about getting another captain who would take them to Egypt (Num. 14:4).
5. When Moses rehearsed these event later in Israel’s history, he notes that discouragement was brought upon them (Num. 32:9).
For when they went up unto the valley of Eshcol, and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, that they should not go into the land which the Lord had given them.
B. Elijah the prophet
1. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18:20-40).
2. Because Elijah had slain the false prophets, Jezebel sought the life of Elijah (I Kings 19:2).
3. Elijah immediately fled with his servant to Beersheba, the southern-most town in Israel (I Kings 19:3).
4. He left his servant there and fled another’s day journey into the wilderness and sat under a juniper tree. Listen to his words (I Kings 19:4).
…and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
5. He continued his journey southward to Horeb and resided in a cave (I Kings 19:9).
6. When the Lord asked him: “What doest thou here Elijah?” he responded with a heart of discouragement (I King 19:10).
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life to take it away.
III. CAUSES OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. A lot of effort and a lack of success (Jeremiah, Jer. 20:7-9a)
B. Standing alone against one’s enemies (Elijah, I Kings 19:9, 10)
C. The circumstances of life (Job’s wife, Job 2:9)
D. Personal mistakes (Peter’s denial, Matt. 26:74-75))
E. Church problems (Widow’s neglected, Acts 6:1-7)
F. Persecution (Hebrew Christians, Heb. 12:11-13)
G. The negativity of others (the 10 spies, Num. 32:9)
H. The oppression of sin (Lot’s wife, Gen. 19:26)
I. Living in the past (Israel’s view of the temple of Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:12)
J. Lack of inspirational leadership (Nehemiah’s day, Neh. 1:3)
IV. CURE FOR DISCOURAGEMENT
A. God is always with us (Rom. 8:35-37)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
B. God is faithful (Duet. 7:9; I Cor. 10:13)
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.
C. God forgives the penitent (Isa. 1:18)
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
D. Seek God in prayer (the psalmist, Ps. 18:6)
In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
E. Obedience versus results (Ps. 119:2; Rev. 22:14)
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
F. Remember who you are (Rom. 8:33; I Pet. 2:5, 9)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
G. Following God always brings rewards (Matt. 7:24-25)
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will like him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
H. Be active and involved in as many things as possible (Rom. 12:11).
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
I. Success comes in different levels (the two talent man, Matt 25, the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, Mark 14:8).
She hath done what she could: she is come to anoint my body to the burying.
J. Remember that others are still striving to be faithful (Elijah, I Kings 19:18).
Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
K. Look for leaders who inspire (Caleb, Num. 13:30)
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
L. Take care of your physical health (Elijah, I Kings 19:5-6).
And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
M. Keep the hereafter ever in mind (II Cor. 4:17-18)
For out light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding 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.
A. The discouraged need to be encouraged.
Those without heart need to be given a heart.
Those who are dispirited need to be given spirit.
Those who doubt need to be given confidence.
The hopeless need a dose of hope.
B. One of the best remedies for discouragement is the grace of God (I Cor. 15:10).
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.