Author: Fred Pruitt
In 2 Chron. 16:9 we read, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”
The voice of Scripture bears out the fact that any one who retains a perfect heart toward God will never yield to discouragement although they may be called upon by the Lord to go through many severe and fiery trials in life.
Notice what God says about Job: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright and one that feared God and eschewed [turned from] evil.”
God literally turned the devil loose on Job, and he took from him all his property and killed all of his children. Then Job said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job did not yield to discouragement, but held his unwavering faith in God. He “did not sin nor charge God foolishly.” He proved true to God through this severe test. Then God allowed Satan to touch his bone and flesh, and he smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. While in this extreme suffering, his wife said unto him, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die.” Hear what the man said who had a perfect heart. He did not receive discouragement, but said: “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job did not sin in giving way to discouragement. Further along in the 23rd chapter, after he had suffered long in the affliction and his three friends vehemently accused him of doing evil and became miserable comforters to him, he looked to God and for the Lord and could not find Him; could get no notice nor word from Him, for he said in the 8th verse, “I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On the left hand where he doeth work, but I cannot behold him; he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold.” He just would not give way to the sin of discouragement, but held his faith strong in God. He possessed a perfect heart toward God and would not be moved to discouragement which would have put him on the side with Satan against God had he given way to it.
Job had faith in the almighty God to the extent that he saw God back of it all and would not give Satan or the Devil credit for any thing. We read in the 16th chapter of Job as to this truth. We will begin reading at the 11th verse. “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark. His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doeth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground. He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.” We can see how that Job kept his integrity with God. He looked beyond as to what Satan was doing and gave God credit for it and in that way showed his unfeigned faith in God ignoring the Devil and his evil working.
The three Hebrew children would not yield to discouragement when they were faced with the certainty of being thrown into the burning fiery furnace, but they held their faith in God and said to the king, “We are not careful to answer you in this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; but if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” They absolutely refused to be discouraged about the matter. Through their faithfulness, the king saw the form of the fourth, even Jesus, walking with them in the burning fiery furnace. The king spake and blessed the God of the Hebrew children. He was made a believer, which never would have been if the Hebrew children had become discouraged and failed to be true and firm.
Daniel also showed a perfect heart toward God when he was threatened to be put in the lions’ den if he worshipped or asked a petition of any other but the king. It did not discourage him at all, but with his window open, he knelt down with his face toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day as usual. When they threw him into the lions’ den, the Lord sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouth, and he was not hurt. Because Daniel would not yield to discouragement, but held his faith in God, King Darius was made a believer in the God of Daniel and proclaimed it to all the people.
When Paul and Silas were beaten and, with bleeding backs, thrown into the Philippians’ jail and their feet fastened in the stocks, did they become discouraged? No! Their hearts were perfect toward God, and they prayed and sang songs in that awful condition. God honored their faith in Him and sent an earthquake. They were loosened and freed, and the jailer and all his house believed and were saved. If they had become discouraged and down-hearted, there would have been no earthquake, and the jailer and his family would not have been saved.
With all the persecutions, revilings, beatings, and being put to death on the cross, Jesus did not get discouraged, but when dying He still loved God and the souls of men, and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus is our example, and we should follow in His steps.
Jonah became discouraged at the thought of going to the great city of Nineveh and preaching to them the gospel that God had given to him. He tried to run away from the Lord, but God knew just where he was. God chastised him by letting a big fish swallow him. He was in much affliction in the fish’s belly; the waters compassed him about and the weeds of discouragement were wrapped around his head, and when his soul fainted within him he remembered the Lord. He came to himself and prayed unto the Lord, saying, “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.” When you listen to the lies of Satan and become discouraged, you put yourself on the side of Satan against God, and He cannot have mercy and help you out in that condition. God says, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 8:28. When you yield to discouragement, by that act you are saying that you do not believe God’s Word and you have listened to Satan’s lying vanities and put yourself out of the reach of God’s mercy until you confess and repent from the heart. When Jonah confessed that he had yielded to Iying vanities and repented, the fish got sick and God had it to throw Jonah out on to the dry land. Many today are doing things that are grievous in God’s sight, not only by becoming discouraged, but also in many other ways they will not yield to God as they should, and they bring upon themselves many afflictions. They are, so to speak, in the fish’s belly until they are humbled down to the point of confession and repentance and in this way put themselves fully on the side with God so He can have mercy and deliver them as He did Jonah. When you really get everything clear between you and God, you then can by faith leap right out of the fish’s belly and begin to give unto Him the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving due His name. A discouraged, downhearted man is no witness for God in this world, but is witnessing for Satan, and by his actions is saying that it is a hard way, and who can travel with the Lord and be happy and contented? Since God has revealed to me the great wrong of being discouraged, I resist it as from Satan, and as a sin that would ruin my soul as any other sins would.