Encourage him! (Deuteronomy 1:38)
These words were spoken by God to Moses. After God led His people out of bondage in Egypt and guided them through the desert for forty years, sustaining them manna from heaven and twice providing water from a rock, God instructed 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 knows not what it means to come up against the waves of challenge 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.
Encourage one another and build each other up . . . (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
We met the 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 notable 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 for you! 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 ruse 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 supernatural 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 and everyone can be an encourager.
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 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. (Hebrews 10:25)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!