“You must have no idols; you must never worship carved images, obelisks, or shaped stones, for I am the Lord your God. You must obey my Sabbath laws of rest, and reverence my Tabernacle, for I am the Lord. If you obey all my commandments, I will give you regular rains, and the land will yield bumper crops, and trees will be loaded with fruit long after the normal time. And grapes will still be ripening when sowing time comes again. You shall eat your fill, and live safely in the land, for I will give you peace, and you will go to sleep without fear.
“I have commanded you today to love the Lord your God and to follow His paths and to keep His laws, so that you will live and become a great nation, …so that the Lord your God will bless you…” (Deut 30:16; Jer 6:16, TLB). “Blow the ram’s horn in Jerusalem! Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Gather all the people—the elders, the children, and even the babies. Call the bridegroom from his quarters and the bride from her private room.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. …Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in My name, I Myself will bless them” (Num 6:24-27, NLT). Was this promise open-ended, unrestricted, and unqualified? “The Lord you God will be merciful only if you listen to His voice and keep all his commands…, doing what pleases Him” (Deut 13:18, NLT). Examples follow: “…Never accept bribes. …[They] blind the eyes of the wisest and corrupt their decisions. Justice must prevail.
“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. …I will confirm my covenant with [Isaac], and his descendants as an everlasting covenant” (Gen 17:7, 19, NLT). “…Now that you belong to Christ, you are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us” (Gal 3:29, NLT/TLB). “…I told them: ‘Obey Me and I will be your God, and you will be my people…’” (Jer 7:23, NLT).
“…There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccles 1:9)! God’s people are targets of a mighty foe (Eph 6:12 & Rev 12:10), which includes “…prophets [that] tell lies in [God’s] name. …They are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. By telling… false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me…. Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messenger faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire? …Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces?
Discouragement is a threat to triumphant Christian living. The sources of discouragement are varied and they encroach with stealth, until the victims of their assault are overwhelmed. “The Lord is my strength…” (Exo 15:2). “He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak” (Isa 40:29). And for that reason, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer” (Acts 2:42, NLT).