The Sin of Unbelief

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Greetings and welcome to Meditation Moments again. God bless you and give you a wonderful day. We do pray that some little word from this meditation shall strengthen your faith and encourage your heart and give you a real day of victory.

Our meditation this morning is from Deuteronomy 1:28, where it says, “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.”

Now someone will say, “You surely aren’t going to talk about Joshua and Caleb and the spies that went to spy out the land of Canaan, that much-used story? We’ve heard it so much.” Yes, I am! We need it now more than ever.

On the subject of discouragement, we want to warn especially about letting others discourage you regarding any stand of faith you’ve taken. Don’t let others discourage you! Note again the words in this passage: “Our brethren have discouraged our hearts.”

Yet first off the spies did not bring back such an evil report, for on their return they said, “We came into the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it flows with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it.” (Numbers 13:27) For you see, they had brought back of the fruit of the land: grapes, pomegranates, figs, proving they had faithfully searched the land.

But God’s Word says they brought back an evil report because they enlarged upon the fact that the people of the land were like giants, in whose sight the Israelites were like grasshoppers, and the cities were great with strong walls. (Numbers 13:32–33)

So on second thought, how great the sin of unbelief is here, for they laid their emphasis not on what God had promised to do. They laid it on the wrong things: the circumstance, the condition, and on that which they saw. Not on what God had promised at all, but on all that was contrary to that which God had said.

God said, “I have set before thee this land; go up and possess it, fear not, neither be discouraged.” But the spies made God out a liar and said, “We be not able to go up against these people, for they are stronger than we.” (Deuteronomy 1:21; Numbers 13:31)

God was not taken into the equation, and this evil report caused the heart of the people to be discouraged, and they wept and murmured against God and against Moses, and went on into further rebellion and unbelief until God had to terribly punish them.

You remember also, , that Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies who gave the good report and believed God, tried so hard to encourage the people, telling them that God was able to bring them into the land. Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and possess the land; we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

You know the rest of the story, how God, because they believed the evil report and did not trust His promise, let them wander in the wilderness for 40 years. (Numbers 14:26–35) And the ten spies that brought the evil report that discouraged the hearts of the people died by the plague before the Lord. You find that story in Numbers 14:36 and 37.

I haven’t told you any real personal experience, except about the marvelous miracle that happened one time in my life when I was such an invalid. But I do want to tell you something this morning regarding this passage of scripture. I was en route to revivals in Cuba and the Bahamas, and had stopped over in a town not far from Miami.

Unexpected emergencies had left me without funds, and I needed them to reach my appointment. I was looking to the Lord definitely, and I knew that it had to be a miracle. I haven’t time to tell you why, but because of conditions around me and circumstances all considered, it would just have to be a miracle of God if any funds came to me.

I got alone with the Lord and claiming certain definite promises, I waited for His answer. Not only did I need the Lord to supply this need, but I had had the flu on the way down and I desperately needed healing for my body.

While alone I read many of the promises, and had a heart-searching to see if all was well in my own heart, that I had met God’s conditions. There were circumstances that did not make it easy to exercise faith, but I just had to do all I could.

This particular evening I attended a Bible conference, and there came into my hands a small book by a learned Bible teacher, well known for his great knowledge of the Scriptures. The little book explained just why God no longer worked miracles. That book stated emphatically that nowhere did the Bible teach that miracles would continue after the days of the apostles.

It was so clearly brought out, and he was so emphatic about it, and he was such a great and learned man, that for just a moment I was shaken, for the Devil took advantage of this and came against my faith with fiery darts unspeakable! (Ephesians 6:16)

He was such a scholar. He taught the Word of God with such clarity and brilliance, and he knew that Word from cover to cover. He had traveled far in the land of promise, but for me he had, like those spies, brought back an evil report, and discouraged the stand of faith I had taken. I left that auditorium, and in the quiet of my room I again read over many passages in God’s precious Word.

It was there, right there; I saw it in God’s Word: God said it! There were the verses: He would supply my every need “according to his riches in glory” and “whatsoever things ye desire, when you pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” (Philippians 4:19; Mark 11:24) God says so. It’s so because God said so.

“Let every man be called a liar but God be found true.” (Romans 3:4) Suddenly light broke through the darkness; faith flooded my soul. I asked the Lord to forgive me for that wavering. I’d gotten my eyes on this intellectual giant in the land, and simple faith for just a moment was almost shaken.

It is not uncommon for those who are seeking God for help to come under the power of unbelief in others who want to discourage. God’s Word then came to me in this passage that we’re talking about tonight, so very definite was this scripture brought to me: “Ye shall not respect persons in judgment, and ye shall not be afraid of the face of this man; the judgment is God’s. The cause that is too hard for thee, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.” (Deuteronomy 1:17) How wonderful that was!

The verse in this passage we are studying tonight, it says in the 19th verse, you see, “that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” The pity of it is that these discouragers not only did not enter in themselves, but by discouraging others, they had kept them all from entering in.

This was my verse for that hour: “Be of good courage, have I not commanded you? Neither fear the people, for they are bread for us.” (Joshua 1:9; Numbers 14:9) Wonderful! It inspired my heart and all the fear departed from me. Just as God’s Word says, “Their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us, let us go up at once and possess the land.” (Numbers 13:30) You know, it’s far better to stand alone and seem simple-minded to some, than to seek help from leaders who weaken faith by their discouraging words when we’re stepping on God’s promise.

If you listening in are compelled to live in an atmosphere of doubt and unbelief either in your home or your church, ask God to protect you, to hide you away in Himself. Refuse to accept every doubt, every discouragement, and He’ll so fill you with His Spirit that you can stand in the evil day, stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Now you wonder, was my prayer answered? Yes. I awakened the next morning refreshed in body, almost entirely well, and that very day a large gift came from the most unexpected source I could have dreamed of. In fact, I would never have conceived of a gift from that source, for they knew nothing of my circumstances or my plans. It was God alone who had done this and answered prayer. It was a miracle!

Don’t let anyone discourage you. God’s Word stands sure and steadfast. He’ll not fail you. Go in and possess the land and He will go with you. Stand your ground.

Father we come to Thee, in Jesus’ precious name. We ask you, Lord, to keep faith, keep heart, keep hope in these hearts. We pray Thee that their trust shall be strengthened in their day to day lives. We ask Thee, Lord, that the morning shall break in the darkness for some of these who have been so hurt by the discouragers. Bless Lord, and encourage faith, for Thy name’s sake, we ask.

God is still on the throne and prayer does change things.