Deuteronomy 3:23-28 New King James Version (NKJV)
Moses Forbidden to Enter the Land
23 “Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying:
24 ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?
25 I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’
26 “But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. 27 Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. 28 But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.’
King Josiah "encouraged them for the service of the house of the Lord" (v 2). Encouraged by their king!
--Let the Lord, in His Word, encourage you today.
--These uncertain times, we all need encouragement.
--God encourages us all. May we encourage others.
The Scriptures tell of those who encouraged so many.
--Over those wilderness wanderings in the desert all those 40 years, God encouraged Moses, so often.
--In Deuteronomy 1:38, God instructs Moses to encourage Joshua, "Encourage him," and again, "command Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him" (3:28).
--To "encourage and strengthen him." So valuable.
Then, in I Samuell 30:6, "David was greatly distressed .. but David strengthened (encouraged) hiimself in the Lord his God." All have times we need do this.
--To "encourage ourself" and others "in the Lord."
--To be one of God's good encouragers of good cheer.
In the New Testament, we read of Barnabas whose name means "son of consolation, encouragement," and Barnabas lived up to his name, encouraging Paul to Jerusalem believers.
--He accompanied Paul on several missionary journeys.
--Barnabas introduced Paul to Jerusalem believers.
--When the church in Antioch was growing, he went to Tarsus and got Paul, to come "help us."
--Barnabas was from the lovely Island of Cyprus, but came to Israel to grow in the Lord, and serve Him.
It is a big person to put God, others, before self.
--Moses was that kind of man, in "encouraging Joshua and strengthen him" to lead Israel into possession of the Holy Land that God promised them.
--And Barnabas, in all accounts, was that man also.
--Friend, for lifting others toward the blessings of the Lord, we all have a job to be God's encouragers.
--"David encouraged himself in the Lord" (I Samuel 30:6).
I appreciate all who have encouraged me these years.
--My dear parents. My wife, children. Many friends.
--All my many teachers - in schools .. and out. You.
--God grant in His grace, we may encourage others.
We excel in cheering and supporting sports teams with cheerleaders, band, lots of fans, and big bucks.
--But what about our troops? All our hard workers?
--Our spiritual leaders? Teachers? Godly followers?
--Shapers of our morality or future, deserve cheers.
--All we meet need our prayers, thanks, encouragement.
I think of the Book of Esther, set in the Middle East, now in the news. The Jews in captivity long ago.
--Tremendous Book, only one where God isn't mentioned.
--Yet God's presence, guidance, is very evident!
--It is about Mordecai who raised Esther, a Jewess who in God's providence became Queen of a Persian Empire as we read in Chapter 2, Verse 7. Study her life.
--She had been raised to folow the Lord God.
--In hard times, Mordecai's faith strengthened hers.
The Book of Esther tells of the deportation, hardship, and persecutions of a conquered people of God.
--Of an enemy, like Haman, seeking to exterminate all Jews everywhere, as Hitler and others tried to do.
--As some are trying to do today.
--Haman's sinister plot failed; he was hanged, on a gallows he had built to hang Mordecai!
--Do you see the providence of God for His own?
Inside and out, Esther was a beautiful person; godly.
--In God's will Esther was chosen queen of the greatest world power of her day .. for a purpose.
--A position of positive uplift, and opportunity!
--In a pagan land, difficult time, God shows His love.
--God has His eye on Israel, to save from extinction!
A commoner, with only moral power or prayer, Mordecai was used of God to encourage Esther to save Israel.
--He sent word, "Esther, you must do something. Even though Queen, you are a Jew. You will die too with others, if the King's Edict to destroy prevails!"
--"All Jews were to be slain." Even a queen Jew.
Why in captivity? Because many Jews forsook the Lord.
--Prophets had warned. God often declared (Deut. 31:18).
Dear friend, "all have sinned" and need a Savior.
--It is Jesus, crucified, risen - God with skin on.
Mordecai kept encouraging Esther. She needed it.
--It was risky business to go before a king, with an invitation or summons! Her life was at stake!
--But the whole Jewish nation's life was, as well.
--One person, like an Esther, could save a whole race!
--He told her, "Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this" (4:14) She had!
--"Esther," he said, "it is up to you! You can do it.
Don't you admire and applaud those who encourage?
--Maybe some are not in position to do more than that.
--But they can take a stand for the right, encouraging others who can! With loving words .. and prayers.
One little rain drop can't do much - until joined with many others; then it can become a Niagara Falls!
All it takes is a few who stand up for the Lord God!
Without Mordecai's encouragement, "you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this," Esther would have remained silent and done nothing. All Jews destroyed!
--She saw her Uncle's wisdom; and gravity of it all.
--Told Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat or drink for three days night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. So I will go to the king, which is against the law; and, if I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). It worked!
--Fasting, my friend, is for fervent praying!
You and I have "come to the kingdom, for such a time as this." To make a world of difference, for God!
--What are we doing about it? How is our influence?
--What about our encouraging others? Spouse? Kids?
--One person - like these, like Jesus, can do wonders!
--Our day is equally as evil as it was then.
--So many now seeking to rid of Jews and every vestige of God, Jesus, the Bible, and godly followers.
--Our times call for a decision! For godly living!
--Faithful praying! Standing up for Jesus; God's Word.
Let's improve our encouraging. Study Barnabas, more.
--In Scripture Barnabas was always encouraging people.
--Paul values him, mentions him in his epistles.
--A devout Jew of Cyprus; he became a strong Christian.
--Some of you, I've known, are like Barnabas.
Barnabas the encourager blessed Paul, and many others.
--After Paul's amazing conversion, the Jerusalem church was skeptical of his faith; Barnabas stood up in Paul's behalf. What an encourgaing model for us.
--Brethren, we can be sure Paul is saved, by Jesus!"
--Paul proved to them, and to the world, saved, indeed.
--A long, close friendship commenced for the two men.
As a mentor, Barnabas matured and mellowed Paul.
--They served together in Jerusalem, the Antioch church, and as successful missionaries, winning many.
I ask you, suppose Barnabas, Mordecai, Moses, or others had failed .. they had not been encouragers?
--A different story indeed. They made a difference!
--So may you and I. It may be small, but let's do it.
Paul caught that vision! What an example, to many.
--Even in prison for Jesus, Paul wrote 13 letters.
--Epistles, in the New Testament, encouraging others.
--Three of them to youth - Titus, I and II Timothy.
--He encouraged, and won to Jesus, Priscilla and Aqilla, fellow Jews and tentmakers, who were encouragers by having a "church in their house," winning many.
--Don't you admire such folks? A joy, and blessing.
--God needs more such folks today in our world.
Be God's encouragers. Start at home, work, anywhere.
--By our life. Love. Deeds. Prayers. Call or note.
--By avoiding our discouragement. And sharing faith.
Who knows, God may encourage you to win some to Jesus!
My friend, rejoice in Jesus, our greatest Encourager.
--Grow in God's grace, so to encourage others in it.
We have many reasons to believe and become Christian!
--The credibility of Jesus Christ, as God our Messiah.
--The accountability of His life; sinless, sacrificial.
--The assessibility of truth - in His Word, Church.
--The reliability of the Gospel - by changed lives!
--The universality of His invitation - "to everyone."
--The inability to go to heaven, without a Risen Lord.
May I encourage you to be saved? Be an encourager?
FOR THE LORD?
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD. DD. 915