Summary: In our text today we will see that the specific experience of Israel in the WAY OF THE RED SEA is also much like our journey to the heavenly promise land.
"LOOK TO JESUS"
TEXT: NUMBERS 21:4-9
The greatest event in the life of God’s people in the Old Testament was their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Time and time again this historic event is mentioned throughout the pages of the Old Testament.
And the greatest event in the life of God’s people in the New Testament is also a deliverance, It is our deliverance form slavery to sin. Time and time again, our deliverance from the cruel and crushing bonds of sin, is mentioned by the God inspired writers of the New Testament.
There is an obvious parallel, that God wants us to understand between the Israelites deliverance and Our deliverance. There is a similarity between their journey from deliverance to their promise land, The Land of Canaan, and our journey from our deliverance to our promise land, the heavenly city, The New Jerusalem.
In our text today we will see that the specific experience of Israel in the WAY OF THE RED SEA is also much like our journey to the heavenly promise land.
In Numbers 21:4-9 we will see 4 things that the Israelites encountered along their way, that are very much like, the things that are encountered today, by Christians along their way.
I. WE, LIKE THE ISRAELITES WILL ENCOUNTER DETOURS THAT CAN SOUR GOD’S PEOPLE.
A. THE ISRAELITE
1. A detour can be a discouraging thing, to have to change our course, to have to slow down and go a different direction when we are almost to our destination can be A hard THING to take.
When I used to go out to sea, I was on a missile submarine that had 2 crews and a definite schedule. I knew when I left when I would be home. And I had about 3 different calendars where I would mark off the days as they passed.
After one patrol was just about over, all the X’s had been marked on the calendar, I remember coming up the channel expecting to see my wife in less than 3 hours. But to my surprise and horror we were meet by a Tug and a surprise inspection team, who told us to turn around and go back to sea for an examination.
It was really hard for me to feel the Sub turn around and know that we were heading away from MY destination of home and my family.
The Israelites were nearing there destination and were close to the promise land and they had been traveling for nearly 40 years to get to this point. In numbers chapter 20 we find Moses asking the king of Edom if the could pass through their land. Moses told him that they would not take anything from the land, not even drink the water, all they wanted to do was to pass through the land of Edom.
The King of Edom (now remember the Israelites were related to Edomites. Isaac’s first born son Esau, who was Jacob’s brother was the father of the Edomites) not only said no, but he also mounted an army to convince the Israelites to turn around, and this is exactly what they did.
2. And now in Numbers 21:4 we find the Israelites traveling form Mount Hor along the way of the Red Sea.
This detour was especially discouraging to the Israelites because it was in a direction away from the promise land. You can just about hear them saying, "for forty years we’ve in this desert, and just as we are about to make it to the promise land, here we are going in the opposite direction". It must have been hard for the Israelites to turn around and go the other way.
This detour was discouraging also because it was through a very rough and cruel piece of land. The hills were steep, the rock were hard, the sun was hot and the water was scarce.
3. As the Israelites journeyed, along the way the encountered a detour that could sour God’s people.
B. THE CHRISTIAN
1. Many times in our Christian journey we encounter detours along the way. There are times in our Christian life when we have to turn off the main road and travel down a course that we would rather not take.
2. It is interesting to note that the detour through the rough territory that we see God’s people taking in our text follows right on the heels of a great victory.
Chapter 21 begins with a Canaanite King’s attack on Israel. He attacked them as they were traveling and he even captured some of them and made them prisoners. The Israelites after this made an appeal to God, They asked for His help, and God answered their plea and the Israelites won a tremendous victory as they completely defeated the enemy.