THE DISCOURAGED HEART

Numbers 32:7,9 (KJV)

And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the LORD hath given them?

Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadeshbarnea to see the land.

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.

Deuteronomy 1:19–28 (KJV)

And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the LORD hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us.

Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

You will notice three times in the verses we’ve read a phrase to the effect of, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel.

In both cases the reference is to that occasion when Moses sent the twelve men into the Promised Land at Kadesh Barnea, to spy it out before they possessed it.

Since the reference is to that event, I want to read it and preach this morning on the subject, The Discouraged Heart.

Numbers 13:1–33 (KJV)

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.

And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.

Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.

Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.

Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.

Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.

Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.

Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.

Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.

Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.

Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.

Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.

These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

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.

But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

Numbers 14:1–10 (KJV)

And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!

And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?

And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.

And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.

When I was in third grade my mom and dad bought a place in Benton City.

I have so many incredible memories from there.

· I remember a beautiful orchard where we could pick apples and peaches and plums.

· I remember a huge pasture with a river running along the back side of it where we caught turtles

· I remember a huge weeping willow tree I was never courageous enough to climb all the way to the top and

· I remember the farmhouse being enormous, with a garage and two barns

And I remember exactly how to get there.

We drive passed Benton City every time I go to visit Mom and Dad’s.

A few years ago, Caleb and I made a trip to Mom and Dad’s.

On the way back home, I pulled in to Benton City to show him the place I lived.

Mind you, I know exactly where the house is.

I know exactly how to get there.

I was able find the spot where the house should have been, but I could not find the house.

· I drove up and down the road a couple of times, thinking maybe I didn’t remember exactly where it was.

· The house was there all right.

· It just wasn’t as big as I remembered it.

· The pasture wasn’t as huge as I remembered it.

· The orchard wasn’t there, but it could not have been anywhere near as big as I remembered it.

The place had not changed really, but my memory of it wasn’t entirely accurate.

The children of Israel had not been in the Promised Land in over 400 years.

The generation Moses led out of Egypt to the border of the Promised Land, had heard stories of that place all of their lives.

Generation after generation had passed down the stories of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and how God had given them that land.

Imagine then, being the first 12 to see that land after 400 years.

The Bible goes so far as to give us their names:

· Shammua the son of Zaccur.

· Shaphat the son of Hori.

· Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

· Igal the son of Joseph.

· Oshea the son of Nun.

· Palti the son of Raphu.

· Gaddiel the son of Sodi.

· Gaddi the son of Susi.

· Ammiel the son of Gemalli.

· Sethur the son of Michael.

· Nahbi the son of Vophsi.

· Geuel the son of Machi.

What an honor and privilege.

The Bible uses the word “spy” but I don’t think we should think of this excursion into the Promised Land as dangerous and hostile.

By the time they come to the Promised Land at the Jordan River, 40 years had elapsed.

The word had gotten out what was their intent and

New had reached the ears of the Canaanites that Israel won battles.

None of that is true at Kadesh Barnea.

They’re just a bunch of slaves, newly freed from Egypt. I don’t expect that any of the Canaanites believed they posed any threat or even knew that they might be a threat.

Twelve men wandering around the land would likely not even get much of a notice.

I take it they traveled all over the land.

· They would have taken in the sites around the valleys of Megiddo and walked the shores of the sea of Galilee.

· They might have climbed up into the Golan Heights area

· They could have gone to visit where Jacob and Rachel and Abraham and Sarai were buried.

We know that they visited the brook Eschol and brought back some Pomegranates, and figs and a cluster of grapes so big it took two men to carry it.

The Promised Land was every bit of what the stories their fathers had told them.

Numbers 13:27

….We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey…

· We saw valleys where cattle could graze in grass up to their stomachs

· We saw cities with walls and gardens

· We saw mountains with meadows for sheep to feast upon

· We saw brooks and streams and lakes filled with fish

· We saw beautiful mountain vistas of seas and lakes and even an ocean

But then the tenor of their voices changed and ten of the twelve …

Numbers 13:32 (KJV)

…. brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

Numbers 32 and Deuteronomy 1 says that they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel.

They brought an evil report and by it discouraged the heart of the children of Israel.

I see what I think are two elements of the evil report

I. IT WAS THEIR OPINION

Numbers 13:31–32 (KJV)

… We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

There was another opinion.

I will get to that in a minute, but the ten were of the opinion that:

· They were not able to go up against Canaan

· They were stronger than the children of Israel

· The land eats up its inhabitants and

· All the people there are of great stature

It’s all opinion, there is no proof of it and

It’s all negative

How do they know the land eats up the inhabitants?

They weren’t there long enough to observe

· devastating earthquakes,

· violent tornadoes,

· blinding snowstorms,

· scorching summer temperatures

They saw and they supposed the worst.

It’s one of the biggest problems we have in our nation right now– maybe in the world.

· People are looking at the news

· They are supposing the worst

· And they are running off at the mouth their negative opinions

It is an evil report that discourages the heart with nothing more than personal opinion.

The other thing I notice about this evil report is,

II. THEIR OPINION DID NOT TAKE GOD INTO ACCOUNT

Numbers 13:28–29 (KJV)

Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

· They saw the children of Anak and

· They saw the Amalekites and

· They saw the Hittites and

· They saw the Jebusites and

· They saw the Amorites and

· They saw the Canaanites

But they did not see God.

Which is their fault.

· They never asked for Him.

· They never mentioned Him.

Nowhere did they say, we got there, and the LORD told us we could not or should not take it.

This was all their opinion.

I want you to notice that it is not like they had no concept of God.

· It was the LORD who had safely gotten them through the Red Sea

· It was the Lord who had told Moses to send them to search out the Land and

· The children of Israel were quick to blame the LORD in Number 14:3 for bringing them out into the land[1]

Don’t blame all the negative evil talk on the unsaved.

There are plenty of Christian who, right now, think the way to handle this pestilence is to leave God out of it and listen to the experts.

I want to tell you right now, no matter what your opinion about how the experts should handle this virus, any equation that does not factor in God will have a discouraging outcome.

Twelve men went to spy out Canaan.

Ten came back to discourage the heart of the children of Israel

III. TWO RETURNED TO ENCOURAGE THE HEART OF ISRAEL

Numbers 13:30 (KJV)

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.

Numbers 14:6–9 (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

We know, of course that Joshua and Caleb were unsuccessful at this time.

The majority report was the discouraging report and people tend to follow the majority.

· But Joshua and Caleb were right and

· Joshua and Caleb were the only ones present, in all of Israel, who actually got to go into the Promised Land, weren’t they?

Though they were unsuccessful, they tried to encourage the heart of the children of Israel and I would like to point out how.

A. They put God in the equation

Vs 8

If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

Vs 9

and the LORD is with us: fear them not.

B. They reminded them that it was an exceeding good land

Vs 7

And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land.

It would be well worth the effort.

C. They urged them not to rebel against the Lord

Vs 9

Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ….

Don’t let fear prevent you from obeying God.

D. They urged them to take immediate action

Numbers 13:30 (KJV)

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.

What will discourage your heart more than anything else is sitting down to listen to the constant drone of the evil report.

Conclusion

Twelve men went to spy out Canaan

Ten returned to discourage the heart of Israel.

But notice who God held responsible.

Numbers 14:11–12 (KJV)

And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

We have the option of listening to the Word of God or the wisdom of the world.

If we choose to let the world pull God out of our equation and discourage us out of obeying Him, we join with the discouragers for chastening.

· Let’s be encouragers and

· Let’s listen to the encouragers

[1] Once their hearts were discouraged.

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Marvin McKenzie

Marvin McKenzie

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Pastor, self published Amazon Author, avid student of the Bible. teacher of the Word of God in college level . Daily visit with God www.marvinmckenzie.org