Summary: At first glance the book of Numbers reads a bit like an operations manual. It’s got numbers of soldiers, lists of names, and a bit of repetition. Tucked between those lists and numbers are some stories of real people, dealing with real issues of faith!
BETWEEN THE NUMBERS
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
***This message tagteam preached with Billy (layperson in our church)
INTRODUCTION - VERSE 1 (ERIK)
-Everyone has funny things that gets said in their house with no one else around.
-For years one of our family jokes came from my wife Laura.
-When the kids were whining about doing chores, or if I was whining about doing chores she had this kind of shut down saying she’d use.
-“Why should I have to vacuum, or clean toilets, pick after the dog?”
-And Laura would say three little words, “I GAVE BIRTH!”
-It’s pretty hard for me to compete with that! If the world was a fair place mother’s might be exempt from bad chores for life because they gave birth.
-But you can only rest your laurels so long. You can only appeal back to previous good deeds so many times before people start saying, “That was a long time ago.”
-What have you done for me lately?
-In our Numbers story today we’re looking at critical chapter in the story of Israel’s Exodus.
-There has been one family that has been prominent in the leading of God’s people.
-MOSES, AARON AND MIRIAM HAVE BEEN GOD’S CHOSEN LEADERS FOR NEARLY 40 YEARS.
-They were mostly faithful people with a few hiccups along the way.
-They were key people that God used at key points to accomplish his purposes.
-But as we begin chapter 20 we see their season of leadership is beginning to wind down.
1 In the first month of the year, the whole community of Israel arrived in the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. While they were there, Miriam died and was buried.
-Miriam, the sister of Moses passed away after many years of service.
-God had said that only Joshua and Caleb would enter the Promised Land, but we’d kind of assume that Moses and his family would also make the cut.
-But Miriam’s time came. And in the midst of dealing with that loss, the people decide it’s been a while since their last rebellion and they begin another episode of faithless outbursts.
2 There was no water for the people to drink at that place, so they rebelled against Moses and Aaron.
-This wasn’t the first time they had rebelled against Moses.
-And this wasn’t the first time they’d complained about water. If you look way back
EXODUS 17 WAS THE FIRST TIME THE PEOPLE WERE CRYING OUT FOR WATER.
-Being really thirsty can make people cranky...they were talking about killing Moses if he didn’t find some water. That’s why our church has a water fountain right down the hall!
-God didn’t bring the Israelites out of Egypt just so they could die of dehydration.
-The first time God told Moses to strike a rock with his staff, and out came water.
-The people had more than enough water for themselves, their kids, their livestock.
-It was a miracle! God provided water out of nowhere.
-So here they are again, needing water and they’ve seemingly forgot about God, his power, his providence...but they hadn’t forgotten how to whine.
-Almost 40 years had past since that first incident, and once again the people need water, and once again they are mad at Moses.
-”We know we got water last time Moses, but what have you done for us lately?”
VERSES 3-8 (BILLY)
- Let’s set the scene a little bit before heading into verse 3.
- Imagine this: you and your family are going to live like nomads for a while: full-time camping
-No hotels. No showers. You are staying in tents. And on top of that you’ll travel to 42 different camping locations. 42.
- So there is a lot of stuff that you take with you, and you know we always take too much.
- Car is all loaded up with tent, food, clothes, dogs, camping equipment, probably an ipad, fishing poles and equipment.
-That is just a small list. Many of us tow a little trailer with even more in it.
-Now you get to the campsite and what do you have to do?
- Set everything up so that you can enjoy yourself!
-What is the least enjoyable time of a camping? Setting everything up!
-And just when you have everything set up, it’s time to take it down and move on.
-Repeat these steps again at the next stop
-You repeat this 42 different times
-You might have been excited with a giant smile on your face at the beginning of this adventure
-You were going to be out in nature, spending time with family, sleeping under the stars and roasting marshmallows (manna)
-But each stop along the way, that smile would grows more and more weary and the excitedness has begun to fade.