Promise of Deliverance
After about 400 years of being in Egypt, God sends Moses to deliver the Israelites. The Egyptians respond to Moses’ announcement by increasing the work the Israelite slaves had to do each day.
After this, God tells Moses to remind the Israelites that he promised to deliver them. He tells Moses to remind them about his covenant with them (Exodus 6:2-4). Unfortunately, the Israelites do not respond positively to this reminder.
“So Moses told the people what the Lord had said, but they wouldn’t listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the increasing burden of their slavery.” (Exodus 6:9)
Their present circumstances so discouraged them, they could no longer hear God.
Defeated by Discouragement
We too can become so discouraged (i.e., beaten down in spirit) because of what we see as impossible burdens that we cannot hear from God anymore.
An unsaved loved one. A rebellious child. Bad luck. Lack of progress. Physical illness. Mental illness.
The circumstances of life can wear us down and often lead to us no longer hearing God. As the discouragement increases, we sometimes become convinced it will never end. Or we might still hear God speaking, but we let those who are discouraged impact our response to His voice.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go back to Pharaoh, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave Egypt.’ ‘But Lord!’ Moses objected. ‘My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m no orator!'” (Exodus 6:10-12)
To many, staying enslaved seems easier than going through the process leading to freedom. Getting out from under discouragement is hard work, and the unknown often feels more uncomfortable than the known even if the known is not good.
When we get too easily taken up by our troubles that we no longer believe God’s promises, discouragement has the upper hand. Fortunately, the Bible offers several steps for getting out from under the blinding burden of discouragement.
- Admit dependence. Realize you can do nothing without God. (John 15:5; Psalm 62:5)
- Focus on facts over feelings. Feelings are often blind guides. Refuse to indulge them and always remember that focus determines reality. (2 Corinthians 1:20; 4:17-18)
- Receive comfort. Don’t deprive yourself of the comfort God makes available through his word and his divine care and direction. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5; John 14:26)
The fact is that discouragement often grows before it dissipates. That’s life. It’s also why we cannot depend on ourselves or our feelings to relieve our discouragement.
“In the process of deliverance, things often get worse before they get better. ‘Anguish of spirit and cruel bondage’ (Exodus 5:9) often restricts us from hearing and receiving what would help us live.” (Dick Brogden, Live Dead Joy)
Refuse to let circumstances steal your focus. Refuse to let feelings dictate activity. Choose to live based on the secure and enduring promises of God.