Summary: To lead the people to understand how God gives victory over our enemies when we trust, obey and denounce all forms of sin in our life
Victories for God’s People – Numbers 21:12-24:25
1. Aim: To lead the people to understand how God gives victory over our enemies when we trust, obey and denounce all forms of sin in our life.
Illustration:"Duties are ours, events are God’s; When our faith goes to meddle with events, and to hold account upon God’s Providence, and beginneth to say, ’How wilt Thou do this or that?’ we lose ground; we have nothing to do there; it is our part to let the Almighty exercise His own office, and steer His own helm; there is nothing left for us, but to see how we may be approved of Him, and how we roll the weight of our weak souls upon Him who is God omnipotent, and when we thus essay miscarrieth, it shall be neither our sin nor our cross."
Samuel Rutherford, quoted in Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Ruth Bell Graham, 1991, Focus on the Family Publishing, p. 106.
2. Explanation of the Aim: God gave the Israelites victory over many powerful nations as a demonstration of how He answers prayers for deliverance. Whenever we encounter opposition it is important to count on the fact that God will help fight our battles for us, if we cry out for His intervention. New Testament Christians have the added advantage of being able to put on the full armor of God (The belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, their feet readied with the preparation of the gospel and the shield of faith) from Eph. 6:10-18. Let us trust God whenever we are besieged by attacks from the world, the flesh and the devil so we may live victoriously in every aspect of our lifestyles.
3. The Bible Story: The people of Israel determine with resolute hearts to move forward toward the promise land. The more we mature in the Christian life the greater should be our resolve to lay aside every distraction and be busy in completing our journey of faith, love, and obedience. We all have a choice to make throughout life – either to progress or to regress in our Christian journey toward maturity. There is no such thing as staying neutral in the Christian life.
4. How do most people think victory over an enemy is won? Ask the people what are some of the necessary steps that must be taken to overcome an opponent? Find out what they people know about winning a battle, but losing the greater war – a pyrrhic victory. Ask the people what it feels like to be defeated? What are some of the problems involved with living a defeated Christian life?
Ask the people what are some of the ways that God gave the people of Israel victory over their enemies? Ask the people why the battle in the Christian life involves a passive (Allowing God to fight the battles for us) and an active (Taking up the full armor of God and fighting the good fight of faith)? Ask the people how they are experiencing victory or defeat in their normal activities? Find out what the people need to do in order to experience greater victory in all aspects of their journey to become mature in Christ (socially, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually)
5. What are some of the problems involved with living a defeated Christian life?
Notice how God gives them success as they press onward and upward for the place where He wants them to be. Success is not the goal, but obedience to the Lord in a way that gives Him the maximum glory, honor and fulfillment of His purposes. God gives the Israelites victory over all the people camped along the river indicating how He enables us to conquer the most daunting opponents. Let us continually acknowledge God as the one who gives the grace, enabling, and victory in little ways and in big matters. Abraham Lincoln, a famous US President once said, “Without God I cannot succeed. With God I cannot fail.” That should be the theme of journey toward the heights of Christ like maturity. It is marvelous that all along the way the Lord blessed his people with a supply of water. When we get to a higher level of maturity we find spiritual sustenance that we never before realize. Jesus said, “He who believes in Me shall from his inner most being flow liver of rivers water.” (John 7:38,39).
6. Let us publicly make a habit of thanking the Lord for the spiritual, emotional and physical provisions that He provides. Avoid taking any good gift from God for granted. If you have this well of living water springing up in you share it with others instead of merely keeping it for yourself. Learn to utilize every advantage that the Spirit of God gives you in serving others with His power, provisions and privileges.