Do not be dismayed!
It is interesting how many times in the bible the Lord says to His people, “Do not be dismayed.” Evidently, discouragement was one of the major spiritual challenges that faced the people of God.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8
“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah” KJV
To be dismayed is to be intimidated, to lose courage and hope because of sudden fear or anxiety, to be unnerved, to be at a loss as to how to deal with something. The Hebrew word that is used here means to “break down in confusion and fear, to be discouraged.”
Intimidation that leads to dismay and discouragement must be recognized for what it is – a demonic spiritual force that is sent to torment, to hinder and paralyze.
How many people these days struggle with discouragement? How often does discouragement turn to depression and despair? Many struggle with some level of discouragement and depression for years. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, 35 million Americans suffer from depression and anxiety.
No one is really immune. And we are vulnerable even when we have just won some great spiritual battle. Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of the Old Testament, was a victim of anxiety. Soon after his great victory against the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, when the fire of God came down from heaven (1 Kings 19), Elijah received news that Queen Jezebel was seeking to kill him. In that moment, fear filled his heart and he ran for his life. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life… .”
Elijah’s despair was so great that he could no longer continue in ministry and the Lord told him to go and anoint Elisha to take his place.
What I sense the Lord saying in all this is that we need to be discerning about the schemes of the enemy and his strategies. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, we are urged to be careful “in order that Satan might not outwit us” by his schemes.
The Lord does not want to see His people intimidated, dismayed, anxious or depressed by the enemy. His message to us is: “Do not be afraid… do not be dismayed… do not be discouraged.”
And here’s the really interesting part: every time He told the people of Israel not to be dismayed, He linked it to an assurance that He was with them. He was saying to them that they had no reason to fear or be dismayed because He would always be there to defend them and fight for them, that He would never fail them nor forsake them.
Read again Joshua 1:9, 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, Jeremiah 1:17-19, Isaiah 41:10 & Matthew 14:27 – it will inspire you!
We have then, a cast-iron guarantee that He will be with us, He will fight for us, He will deliver us and make sure that we prevail no matter what we may face, no matter what the odds.
Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). We need to speak God’s assurance to our spirit, meditate upon it, reflect on it so that it becomes deeply embedded in us – spirit, heart and mind.
“Build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit,” Jude urged (Jude 20). Then when the enemy comes against us there will be this assurance in our heart and in our mind, that he cannot, will not prevail over us because we know that we know that we know that the Lord is with us, that He fights for us, that He upholds us with His righteous right hand! We know in our heart and mind that “if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
When Hezekiah declared the word of the Lord to the people, it says the “people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah…” I like that. We can rest upon the words of the Lord no matter what our situation or circumstance. And we can live free from anxiety, worry and depression as the Lord our God meant for us to live.