October 16-20


From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. -  Numbers 21:4 (ESV)

Danger - Repeating the Mistakes of the Past Pt. 1
According to reports by Fox News, on April 14, 2017, in Cleveland, Ohio, an impatient mother was tired of waiting for a slow barber to cut her 7-year-old son’s hair. After complaining several times about how long the haircut was taking, she apparently had enough. She pulled out a gun and told the barber, “I got two clips. I’ll pop you.” The barber promptly finished the cut. The mother took her son and ran from the shop. Marilyn Medina, an employee at the shop, said, “For a $6 haircut? You’re doing all this?” Wow. If this woman would do all that over a slow haircut, I can’t imagine what she might do in line at the DMV. (Brandon Hilgemann)

In Numbers 21, God’s people grew impatient and were in danger of repeating the same mistakes of the previous generation. They were impatient because they had to go around the land of Edom. Going through Edom would have shortened the journey significantly but the king of Edom refused. But God had another plan and His promise to Israel to enter the Promised Land would be fulfilled.

When was the last time you felt impatient with God? What biblical truth from the sermon helped you with your impatience?

Praise God for His promise of victory even when it involves taking the long way to get there. Ask God to give you great faith in times of great waiting.


And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” -  Numbers 21:5 (ESV)

Danger - Repeating the Mistakes of the Past Pt. 2
A Baptist church hired a new pastor. On the very first Sunday of this pastor’s ministry, he preached a powerful sermon that was Biblically sound, theologically accurate, and applicable to the congregation’s everyday life. People in the pew nudged each other and said, “This is just who we needed.” On the second Sunday, he preached the same sermon from the week before. On the third Sunday, the pastor preached the same sermon again. After the service, the deacons said to the pastor, “We are a bit concerned that you keep preaching the same sermon every Sunday. Do you have another sermon?” The preacher responded, “I do have another sermon. But this church hasn’t obeyed the first one yet.”

In Numbers 21, the people of Israel hadn’t obeyed the sermon they had heard about not complaining. They spoke against God and Moses. This is the same complaint as the first generation. They clearly had forgotten the horrible bondage and mistreatment in Egypt. And they had forgotten that they were in the wilderness because of their own unbelief. Holman Bible Commentary writes "For the seventh time, the people spoke against God and Moses. Their words were the same monotonous complaint about food and water. “

What repeated sins have you struggled with? Repeated sins can be frustrating for all of us but victory is possible when we trust God.

Praise God for some of the times and things that He has delivered you from. Ask God to help you recognize and resist repeated sins in your life.


Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. - Numbers 21:6 (ESV)

Death – Suffering the Consequences of Sin
Harvard anthropologist, William Howells, tells about a near disaster for the residents of Cape Cod. The trouble began when boys shot the insulators off Cape Cod’s power line. Immediate confusion reigned. Few had water because the electric pumps stopped. No one could get gasoline; again, no pumps. Those who did have gasoline had no traffic lights to stop and go by. Some had to eat raw food, and some babies got colic because the electric ranges wouldn’t heat. Amidst all the pandemonium stood a herd of bawling cows, their udders near bursting point. The electric milkers couldn’t milk and apparently, no one knew how to milk by hand. If this is the state of gadgetized America, what might happen after a few nuclear bombs were dropped? (James C. Hefley)

Actions have consequences. Spiritual disobedience has consequences as well. In Numbers 21, God sends fiery serpents among the people because of their disobedience and complaining. We are reminded of Paul's words that "the wages of sin are death," (Romans 6:23) and that could not be more dramatically illustrated than in this divine judgment. The bite of the viper was but a faint shadow to remind the people of God's righteous anger against sin that resulted from the "bite" of the serpent in Genesis 3, resulting in a uniformly fatal wound to every person born in Adam. Paul writes "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned."

How have you seen the consequences of sin affect our nation? How have the consequences of sin impacted your life personally?

Thank God for making you aware of sin and the temporary and eternal consequences of sin. Ask God to give you His heart and mind on sin. Ask God to help you love what He loves and hate what He hates.


And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. - Numbers 21:7 (ESV)

Deliverance – Encountering the Grace of God.
Because the younger children at a parochial school often forgot their sins when they entered the confessional, it was suggested that teachers have the students make lists. The next week when one child came to confession, he was heard unfolding paper. The youngster began, “I lied to my parents. I disobeyed my mom. I fought with my brothers and...” There was a long pause. Then a small angry voice said, “Hey, this isn’t my list!” (Rev. Douglas F. Fortner)

In Numbers 21:7, the children of Israel immediately realize the error of their ways and confess. Those who were not yet bitten came to their senses and confessed their sin and they even got the order correct -- all sin is first and foremost against God, even when it is against about person such as Moses in this case. Recognition and confession of sin is the path to experiencing God’s grace and deliverance.

When have you sinned against someone but started your confession with God? It’s been said that we should keep short accounts with God. The sooner we recognize sin in our lives and confess it, the better.

Praise God for His perfection and holiness. Confess any sins against God and others that you haven’t yet talked to Him about.


And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. - Numbers 21:8-9 (ESV)

The Character of the Leader
If you were to look at Rembrandt’s painting of The Three Crosses, your attention would be drawn first to the center cross on which Jesus died. Then as you would look at the crowd gathered around the foot of that cross, you’d be impressed by the various facial expressions and actions of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of God. Finally, your eyes would drift to the edge of the painting and catch sight of another figure, almost hidden in the shadows. Art critics say this is a representation of Rembrandt himself, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus to the cross. (Source Unknown).

Numbers 21 has been called one of the most important chapters in all of the Bible. Numbers 21 is a foreshadowing of Jesus hanging on the cross for the sins of the world. Just one look of faith is all God demanded and the person would miraculously survive the venom of the serpent. In John 3:14-15, Jesus declared “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up  so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life."

It seems so simple, maybe even too simple -- just look and live physically. It points to the simplicity of the Gospel -- just believe and live eternally! Why do you think it’s so difficult for people to simply trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins?

Praise Jesus for dying on the cross to pay for your sins. Praise God that by grace alone, through faith alone you can be saved. Prayer for your friends and family who have yet to look to Jesus for salvation to repent and believe.