"Discouraged Because Of The Way"

Numbers 21:4-5 — And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. I love the part that expresses exactly the emotional state of the people: “the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.” It’s such an honest statement. That’s one of the things I love and appreciate about God’s Word. God shows the squeaky clean as well as the down-and-dirty ugly.

I wonder how many of God’s people walk around with a smile on their faces only because they would feel vulnerable to express where they really are in their journey with the Lord? But the truth is, that when God saves a person’s soul, He doesn’t plant a permanent smile on our faces. Real people aren’t always “up.” Everyone, at one time or another, gets to the place where things just seem overwhelming. It’s at that point we have to decide how we are going to move forward.

The people of Israel had real concerns. The people of Israel were real people. They are on a journey to the Promised Land. But along the way there always seemed to be some bumps in the journey. I probably would have, at some point, thought and felt the way they did. I mean, God did all this really cool stuff to get them out of Egypt. He was going before them in the journey. Wouldn’t one expect special treatment along the way? Hadn’t these people been through a lot already for the past 400 years? He could have provided horse drawn Airstream campers for each family. Filet Mignon everyday! Bottles of Smart Water!!

He didn’t though. And, He still doesn’t. We want Americanized Christianity. We want the fluff life that is so prevalent in our churches and Messianic congregations. But that’s not real. It seems to me I read where someone once said: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

Why do we expect it should be different for us? He did say He’d never leave us or forsake us. He said He’d be with us to the end. Could it be we haven’t learned to find our total satisfaction in Him? I mean, just having Him? We forget, don’t we, what He has already done for us in this journey. We have expectations that aren’t quite what the Bible says to expect. Here’s one: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Messiah Yeshua shall suffer persecution.” (II Tim. 3:12) I know, that’s for those “other” people somewhere “over there.”

Don’t you sometimes have to question if we’re all reading the same Bible? Let’s remove all our preconceived notions of what we think the Bible says and just let it speak for itself. We’re pilgrims here, not permanent residents. We’re carrying too much stuff. Like the line in the movie Platoon: “You’re humping too much stuff, troop.” We’re in a war; a battle. This is life and death.

Yes, we will get discouraged because of the way. That is reality. And dare I say, it’s OK for a season? Some of the greats in the Bible hit incredibly low points in their lives and ministries. But let’s make sure we’re not longing for “the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick” of our American Egypt.

Hebrews 12:1-3 — Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Yeshua the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.