Summary: The wilderness really reveals what we are. We see two different groups of people in our text facing the same conditions, environment & circumstances. One group of people is dying while the other group is thriving. What makes the difference?
“Man Vs Wild”
Intro: *** The survival expert & ex British SAS soldier Bear Grylls has b/co famous for his series of reality survival documentaries where he is dropped from the air into remote locations of hostile territory w/ the mission of surviving & finding his way out.
Although the locations & circumstances are always different the theme is always the same – a message of survival, a message subtly communicated to his awed audiences that you can survival anything!
Obviously some people take that message seriously!
Just last week, Jan 4th 2011 14 year old Jake Denham got lost on a snow covered peak, but thanks to his avid viewing of Bear’s survival shows, he knew exactly what to do to keep warm and safe.
Jake was separated from his parents during a skiing trip, and spent around nine hours outside in temperatures that dipped to minus 17°c.
However, thanks to having seen Bear do something similar, he built himself a snow cave and later, when it got light, he used another one of Bear’s tips and looked for ski tracks on Mount Oregon which would lead him to safety.
Thank God this young man learned some tricks about surviving in the wild.
But being in the wild of the great outdoors is not the only wild you’re ever going to have to face.
The rich allegory of the O/T gives us the history of the people of God coming out of Egypt & journeying into the promised land.
That’s a pict of us as modern day believers ..... coming out of Egypt (sin) & journeying on our way to the promised land (heaven).
But along the way there is going to be some wilderness to be encountered – we might call it the wild!
Wild b/c it’s going to test your ability to survive & even thrive while you are in the wilderness.
In the text we’re about to read we see two groups of people ..... those who are struggling / not doing well / complaining etc.
The other group of people we can clearly identify are those who in spite of the harsh conditions are winning, not just as an army but in their own lives / hearts / minds.
The story teaches us that you don’t have to have pristine conditions to be able to thrive as a Christian.
I want to preach a sermon called ‘Man Vs Wild’.
Text: Numbers 21:1-7 (NKJV) 1The king of Arad, the Canaanite, who dwelt in the South, heard that Israel was coming on the road to Atharim. Then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. 2So Israel made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3And the LORD listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of that place was called Hormah. 4Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6So the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. 7Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
Numbers 21:21-26 (NKJV) 21Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
22“Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into fields or vineyards; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. So Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24Then Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the people of Ammon; for the border of the people of Ammon was fortified. 25So Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages. 26For Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and had taken all his land from his hand as far as the Arnon.