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NUMBERS 21:1-9

GOD'S WAYS  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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THE ANSWER IN THE PROBLEM

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I. INTRODUCTION

Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV 1900
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.

The story is told of a Christian who was reduced to such poverty that he had only one pair of shoes, with the soles worn through and his toes sticking out. Depressed and discouraged, he walked down the street mumbling to himself: “I might as well be barefooted as to wear these miserable, uncomfortable shoes.” As he felt himself becoming more and more bitter, he came upon a man sitting on the sidewalk and begging. The poor fellow had no legs. After a moment, the discouraged Christian realized that there was something worse than having old shoes—having no feet upon which to wear the shoes.

Are you complaining? Think how much worse things could be.

WHEN GOD DOESN’T DO THINGS THAT WE THINK HE SHOULD OR WHEN WE THINK THAT WE DESERVE MORE THAN WHAT HE DOES FOR US, IT IS IN OUR FALLEN NATURE TO COMPLAIN
BECAUSE, OUR FALLEN NATURE WANTS TO COMPLAIN, WE NEED TO FIGHT IT WITH THANKSGIVING REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE.
HOW DO WE THANK GOD WHEN THINGS DO NOT GO THE WAY WE EXPECTED?

I.

IT IS EASY TO COMPLAIN WHEN GOD DOESN’T DO THINGS THE WAY THAT WE WANT THEM DONE

I. THE VALLEY

RECORDS A GREAT BREAKTHROUGH.
AFTER HAVING EXPERIENCED DEFEATS, GOD’S PEOPLE BEGAN CONQUERING TERRITORY AND THEY ARE NOT EVEN TO CANAAN YET.
THIS IS USUALLY THE EXPERIENCE OF REAL LIFE
THE BREAKTHROUGH DOESN’T COME WITHOUT SOME SETBACKS FIRST
NOW THEY ARE GAINING GREAT SUCCESS
JUST PREVIOUSLY, THE ISRAELITES BACKED DOWN FROM AN ARMED THREAT FROM THE EDOMITES
AND INSTEAD OF FIGHTING AND PENETRATING THE PROMISED LAND FROM THE SOUTH, THEY DELAY THEIR JOURNEY AND ENTER FROM THE EAST
THIS DELAY CAUSED THE SOUL OF THE PEOPLE TO BECOME INPATIENT AND INTOLERANT
THEY WERE TIRED OF WAITING FOR GOD TO FULFILL HIS PROMISE, NOT REALIZING IT WAS THEIR LACK OF FAITH
MANY TIMES, THE DELAYS IN OUR LIVES IS NOT THE INABILITY OF GOD BUT THE LACK OF OUR OWN FAITH
AND WE GET MAD AT GOD AND MAD AND HIS LEADERS BECAUSE WE HAVEN’T SEEN HIS PROMISES
HAVE YOU EVER GOTTEN MAD AT GOD AND HIS MESSENGER BECAUSE YOUR PROMISE HAS NOT COME TO PASS.
THEY WERE TIRED OF THE SAME OLD THING
THEY WERE TIRED OF HAVING FAITH TO EAT AND DRINK
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TIRED OF BELIEVING GOD?
THEY SAID WE HATE THIS LIGHT BREAD THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US
WE DON’T WANT YOU TO FEED US WITH BREAD FROM HEAVEN, WE WANT THE MILK AND HONEY
HOW EASY OUR OLD MAN ATTEMPTS TO RESURRECT HIMSELF
HE APPETITE IS FOR EARTHLY THINGS AND NOT HEAVENLY THINGS
THEY WERE TIRED OF GOD BLESSING THEM FROM HEAVEN, THEY WANTED EARTHLY BLESSINGS
THEY DEFINED HEAVEN’S BLESSINGS AS WORTHLESS.
I WONDER HOW MANY OF US TODAY ARE TIRED OF HEAVENLY THINGS AND DESIRE EARTHLY THINGS
DON ‘T TELL ME IT IS IMPOSSIBLE
Colossians 3:1–3 KJV 1900
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Ephesians 1:3–14 KJV 1900
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

II. THE VENOM

WHAT IS INTERESTING IS THIS IS THE LAST OF THEIR COMPLAINTS BEFORE ENTERING THE PROMISED LAND.
Exodus 1 KJV 1900
Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; every man and his household came with Jacob. Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
Exodus 16:2–4 KJV 1900
And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
Exodus 17:1–7 KJV 1900
And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the Lord, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink. Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us, or not?
Numbers 11:1–5 KJV 1900
And when the people complained, it displeased the Lord: and the Lord heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched. And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the Lord burnt among them. And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
Numbers 14 KJV 1900
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they. And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;) And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness. And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land, Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the Lord. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still. And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly. And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned. And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you. But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
Numbers 14:2–3 KJV 1900
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY, GOD CAN HEAR YOU
EARLY THEY COMPLAINED AND THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THE LORD HEARD IT AND IT DISPLEASED HIM AND BURNT SOME OF THEM
THIS TIME GOD-NOT THE DEVIL, NOT THE AREA, NOT SOMEONES PETS BUT GOD SENT FIREY SERPENTS
ALL BECAUSE THEY COMPLAINED
I WONDER HOW MANY BLESSINGS HAVE BEEN HELD BACK FROM US BECAUSE WE HAVE COMPLAINED
HOW MANY THINGS HAVE BEEN BURNED BECAUSE OF OUR LACK OF APPRECIATION-RELATIONSHIPS, MARRIAGES, FRIENDSHIPS, JOBS, CAREERS, MONEY, PROMOTIONS, GENEROSITY, LACK OF PRAYER
AND THEY CRIED OUT TO THE LORD BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE DYING BECAUSE OF THE SERPENTS
WHEN YOU COMPLAIN, IT MEANS THAT YOU ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH GOD’S WORK IN YOUR LIFE
AND MANY TIMES WHEN YOU ARE UNSATISFIED, YOU TAKE THINGS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS WHEN GOD IS THE ANSWER
EXAMPLE—>MY FIRST TRIP AND JOB

III. THE VICTORY

THE PEOPLE REPENT AND ASK MOSES TO INTERCEDE
GOD TELLS MOSES TO MAKE A FIREY SERPENT AND PUTB IT ON A POLE
AND GOD SAYS EVERYONE WHO SHALL LOOK UPON IT SHALL BE HEALED
SINCE WHEN DOES A STatUE CONQUER LIFE
BUT THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT IN THE HEBREW THE WORD FIREY SERPENT IS THE WORD SERAPH WHICH IS A HEAVENLY BEING
BUT SERPENTS USUALLY REPRESENT EVIL, BUT BRONZE REPRESENTS JUDGEMENT UPON EVIL
IF GOD’S FIREY ONE’S BOTH KILL AND Save
the bronze serpent thus becomes the THE ANTICDOTE TO THE DEADLY BITES OF THE FIREY SERPENTS OF SIN
ONCE THE PEOPLE HAVE RECOGNIZED THEIR SIN AND CONFESSED IT, THEIR TORMENTOR BECOMES THEIR SAVIOR
WHAT ARE HUMANS MOST AFRAID OF AND WHAT DOES THAT FEAR DO TO US
HOW DOES GOD RESPOND TO OUR FEAR
HE GAVE US CHRIST, JUST AS MOSES LIFTED UP THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS, SO MUST THE SON OF MAN BE LIFTED UP
WHERE GOD JUDGED THE REBELLIOUS PEOPLE, WHEN THEIR IS INTERCESSION (CHRIST ON THE CROSS) ANYONE WHO LOOKS UPON THAT IMAGE, WHICH IS SYMBOLIC OF THE CROSS, THEY WERE HEALED AND THEY RECEIVED SALVATION.
IT IS TIME TO LOOK AT THE SON OF GOD, CHRIST, IN FAITH
NOT IN OUR OWN FAITH, BUT THE GOD IN WHOM THE FAITH IS PLACED
THAT IS THE SOURCE OF SALVATION
JUST AS IT MEANT NEW LIFE IN THE WILDERNESS, IT MEANS NEW LIFE TO US
IT IS TIME TO LIFT UP CHRIST AND THE CROSS OVER EVERY SITUATION IN OUR LIFE.
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