Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXIV: God's Gracious Victory Over Man's Habitual Sins
(Numbers 21:10-18)
  1. Introduction
    1. God desires that we not sin (Romans 6:1-2a), and 1 John 2:1a with Galatians 5:16 informs us we can actually avoid sinning if we live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit's power.
    2. However, many believers struggle with habitual sins, so they can often wonder, "Can I ever get to the point in my walk with God that I may actually through His power CONQUER habitual sin?"
    3. Numbers 21:10-21 reveals Israel joyfully gained victory over habitual sin as follows:
  2. God's Gracious Victory Over Man's Habitual Sins, Numbers 21:10-18.
    1. Israel had habitually sinned in unbelief regarding God's provision of drinking water in the wilderness:
      1. After God delivered Israel from the Egyptians at the Red Sea (Exodus 14), Israel ran into bitter water at Marah, Ex. 15:22-23. She complained about it to Moses, revealing she did not trust either God's desire or ability to provide drinking water, Ex. 15:23-24. God graciously provided water for Israel, Ex. 15:25.
      2. Again, Israel faithlessly complained about a lack of water at Rephidim, and God again graciously provided the people drinking water, Exodus 17:1-7.
      3. When the nation faithlessly complained about water again in Numbers 20:1-13, the complaint angered Moses and Aaron, and they sinned in how they responded, Numbers 20:3, 8, 9-11, 12-13. God however provided water in spite of Israel's complaint and Moses' disobedience, Numbers 20:11.
      4. Again, in Numbers 21:4-6 where Israel in unbelief of God's goodness or ability to provide complained about a lack of water in the wilderness, the Lord sent poisonous serpents to afflict the nation.
    2. However, after the Lord had taught Israel to have a consistent faith in Him, she trusted the Lord and overcame her habitual sin of unbelief about wilderness water shortages, Numbers 21:1-9, 10-18:
      1. God disciplined Israel with the poisonous serpent trial to have a consistent faith in Him regarding her water shortages, Numbers 21:1-9:
        1. Though Israel had successfully trusted God to destroy Canaan's king Arad (Num. 21:1-3), she then inexcusably failed to trust God when they way became hard, and had complained among other things once again about her continuing wilderness water shortage problem, Numbers 21:4-5.
        2. God had then sent poisonous serpents to kill the people for their unbelief, and they repented, 21:6-7.
        3. However, to train Israel faithfully to trust Him, God did not remove the serpents, but had Moses build and set up a serpent for the people to behold for healing whenever they were bitten, 21:8-9.
        4. In this way, Israel learned to trust God's Word of help as a continual exercise, Numbers 21:9.
      2. Because of God's permitted ongoing trials of faith re: the poisonous serpents, Israel finally gained victory over her habitual unbelief regarding water shortages, Numbers 21:10-18:
        1. As Israel continued to journey through the wilderness (Numbers 21:19-15), she came to a place simply called "beer," meaning "well," cf. Numbers 21:16a; Bible Knowledge Com., O. T., p. 240.
        2. The place was thus named as God there provided water without Israel's first complaining about it, 21:16b-18: (a) God arranged for the leaders in faith to dig the well, 21:18; (b) He then miraculously produced water in this arid well as the people sang a song of faith to that end, Num. 21:17, 18.
        3. Moses thus lived to see the people gain a victory of faith over the water shortage issue, an issue that had led to his own demise due to his personal unbelief as leaders back in the Num. 20:1-13 tragedy!
Lesson: By God's permitting the ONGOING trials of the serpents and their solution in His bronze serpent provision, Israel learned to WAIT on GOD in FAITH to have her wilderness water needs met!

Application: (1) Victory over OUR habitual sins comes by OUR "buying" from God "gold tried in the fire" Revelation 3:18 with 1 Peter 1:6-7: as God then may allow REPEATED trials to arise, we will be led to trust and obey him CONSISTENTLY to gain victory over our HABITUAL sins! (2) Also, as Moses witnessed, God can DISCIPLE even HARD parties we must oversee: let us then trust GOD with our discipling efforts' results when we work with difficult disciples, and not sin in self-exalting, self-help exasperated unbelief as did Moses, Numbers 20:1-13 with 21:10-18!