Numbers 21:4-9 & John 3:11-15
At God’s command, Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. From the start, things began to go apparently wrong and they complained. Pharaoh pursued them into the wilderness and it seemed he would pin them against the Red Sea and annihilate them. God intervened and gave them safe passage into the Sinai. Rather than take the direct route to Canaan, God instructed Moses to move deeper into the wilderness toward Mt. Sinai. The people complained for lack of food and water – God made provision. It was there that Israel received the Ten Commandments and the Law of God. Next they journeyed north toward Kadesh-Barnea and Moses sent spies into Canaan. The spies reported that the Canaanites would fight them for the land. This time the people not only complained, they refused to go any farther. The end result was that God commanded them to wander in the wilderness until every one of them died.
A dissatisfied spirit causes God displeasure! The Israelites had still not learned this lesson and began daily to make complaint. Remember, they would have been in Canaan by this time had they not been afraid to trust God. God allowed serpents to enter the encampment and many were bitten and died before they asked for help. God never steers trouble our way. Trouble is constantly looking for an opportunity and we may find ourselves its target.
I. God Is Always In Control
A. Blessings are not just special events that accidentally occur
1. God’s people are hedged in and protected
2. Testing of the saints is always carefully managed
3. God plants us in productive soil and protects us from enemies so that we can reach our potential
B. Why do the wicked prosper?*
1. Why do some parents make such a hash of raising their children? They give them everything and protect them from all adversity
2. God will give us what we need to grow and mature into the children He desires us to be
II. The Want More Syndrome
A. Most people love excess and are never satisfied
B. Paul suggested that we should learn moderation and to be thankful for what God wants us to have/experience
C. What if God should remove His blessing?
1. The lost are already bitten and the poison is subtle
2. The serpent of PRIDE; the same that led Satan and us all astray
3. The serpent of LUST; the same that sets up a plan to achieve all the desires of one’s heart
4. The serpent of EXCUSE; he that offers a multitude of reasons to continue in sin and poverty of spirit
5. The serpent of DOUBT; that disbelieves God’s promise and power
6. The serpent of APATHY; the one most to be feared for its bite gives false hope of another opportunity
III. “Even So Must the Son of Man Be Lifted Up”
A. No life is complete apart from His perfect will
He must be personally uplifted as the standard of obedience and faith