Friday, 14 February 2014

Missed Opportunities....Sunday Sermon Review

”Being deeply loved gives you strength; loving deeply gives you courage.
( author unknown )

My home church is studying through the Bible in a year. There are reading plans available and our pastors are choosing topics of discussion as we go. We are in the book of Numbers.


Numbers 21:4-9 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
 And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Pastor Ben was preaching this Sunday. I usually take notes as I listen to the sermon. I like to share my notes here with you, perhaps you will be blessed as you read.

Sermon Review

The book of Numbers is about missed opportunities - how the Israelites missed out on God's blessing. They rejected God and missed out.
We too have missed opportunities. We too have missed out on God's blessings.

The Israelite people were slaves in Egypt. God has set them free. God brought them into the wilderness in order to bring them into relationship with Him and to bring them into the Promised Land. The land is excellent - "a land flowing with milk and honey".
But there are problems - The Israelite people rebel, they refuse to enter the Promised Land. They refuse God's rest. We need to take note of this and not follow their example.
We can be saved and yet resist God and as a result end up living a life of tragedy.
How is it possible that they resist God after seeing how God set them free?
They whine and complain constantly. This is their mode of operation. This is how they are living.
Their complaining hardens them to disobedience to God.
They look to their past, to what they gave up and not at what God has saved them from.
They remember the food they ate but seem to have forgotten that their babies were killed ( Moses was spared by his mother - you remember the story).
Numbers 11: 5-6 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:
 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Are we any better than the Israelite people? - no
We complain about the present, we keep looking back to what once was, and we also refuse to be thankful as we should.
Look to what God will do in the future.
This life here is a temporary stop.
We are on our way to the Promised Land ( heaven ).
God is leading us into our future!

Complaining people are filled with jealousy
- they/ we are poisoned by jealousy
- jealous because someone else has what we want
- you cannot be thankful for what you have when you are jealous of other people and their stuff

The Israelites now believe God is out to kill them
They think God has played a joke on them!

Numbers 14: 2-3 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?

The Israelites believe God has brought them into the wilderness to kill them.
They cannot imagine or remember that God actually cares for them and loves them.
God is on their side, and His goal is to bring good into their lives.

Are we convinced that God wants what is best for us, that He is on our side and wants to bring us to a place of rest?

How to change - so that we do not harden our hearts.

1) Worship -  our worship is tied to our understanding of God and who He is.
Worship personally during the week.
Remind yourself that God cares for you.

2) Be Thankful - Give thanks in all circumstances.
Make thankfulness your natural attitude.
Look for things to be thankful for.
Using prayers written by others can help to bring us into a spirit and state of thankfulness.

3) Encourage others - Encourage others daily
Be thankful to others.
Bless others every day in big and in small ways.

Hebrews 3: 12-13 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

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