Grace For The Journey
In Deuteronomy 1:38, these words were spoken by God to Moses, “Encourage him!” After God led His people out of bondage in Egypt, guided them through the desert for forty years, sustained them with manna from heaven, and twice provided water from a rock. Now, God instructs Moses to encourage Joshua, who would lead the Israelites into their Promised Land.
Notice two things:
- God did not call on the angels to encourage Joshua.
- God called on Moses, who was not even allowed to enter into the Promised Land
The beauty in these two words, “Encourage him,” is found in the fact that . . .
God uses His people to encourage His people.
We are all called by God to be instruments of encouragement in His mighty right hand.
When you think about it, we are far better suited to encourage one another than an angel would be. An angel does not know what it means to come up against the waves of challenge and adversity in life. What angel has ever labored through a dark night of the soul or walked through the valley of the shadow of death? No, it is to each of us to be encouragers to one other.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage one another and build each other up . . .”
The Bible tells us about a man called Barnabas in Acts 4:36. His name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”), because his life was marked by encouraging others.
It grieves me to say this, but I am convinced that far too many in the church today are known for discouraging others. They seem to live their lives under the proverbial rain cloud that is ready to open up at any moment. They see the glass as half empty, rather than half full. They always seem to find a way to bring others down, rather than lift them up.
But this is not what God wants from us! After Paul’s conversion, many Christians did not trust him. After all, this man who now called himself Paul had previously been Saul, a Pharisee who had been actively and eagerly engaged in persecuting the early Christian church. No doubt the believers worried that Paul’s conversion story was just a false news story designed to help him identify, capture, and kill more Christians. When Paul first arrived at Jerusalem, it was Barnabas who refused to question God’s super-natural work in Paul’s life; at great personal risk, he willingly met with Paul. The Son of Encouragement greeted Paul and convinced the other Christian believers to do the same. Later, Barnabas would encourage Paul on his missionary journeys.
Here are two truths to remember:
Everyone needs encouragement
Everyone can be an encourager.
And what is the best encouragement we can give to another? God shows us the answer in Acts 11:23 where the Bible says, “When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.” Do you see that – our faith is to be not only alive in our hearts, it is to be actively demonstrating the grace of God’s salvation at work in our lives so others can see the difference Jesus makes. Many times the circumstances and situations of life beat us down and cause us to be overwhelmed. As God sustains and strengthens us during life’s difficulties people are able to see the help and hope that He gives. Even when what is happening is beyond our understanding, as we turn to God and trust Him we experience grace and peace that are to keep us from being overwhelmed and overcome by life’s stuff.
Are you a Barnabas? What would those closest to you say? Who in your life right now needs a word of encouragement . . . and needs to hear it from you?
Let’s follow the teaching found in Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”