Living here as we do on near the edge of the great western cattle country, we all can recall the words of the cowboy’s optimistic song, “Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, And the skies are not cloudy all day.” How wonderful that people and nature seems to be for us. When we feel that way, it seems nothing can be against us.
But this week in our reading of the history of Israel, the time came when it was exactly the opposite.
Numb. 13:31,32 “But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us.” 32 So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size.” 14:1,2 “Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!”
Behold the power of discouraging words!! Israel failed even though God was with them. We know God would have been with them, but they didn’t believe it, in part because of the unfaithful words of the spies.
What about us today? Do we speak the words that encourage and build? Or do we speak the words the help people be doubtful and hesitant? Look at the ends of the 10 spies (14:37) and the faithful two.