5/20 - "Victories & Failures in Numbers- What’s the difference?" Numbers 21

Title:  “Victories & Failures in Numbers- What’s the difference?” Text:  Numbers 21:1-9; 14:45;  John 3:9-15

In a Nutshell: Sometimes the definition of success in life may seem relative.  When you are traveling through a desert, you are out of water, but you come across a “watering hole,” that should be called a successful day!  Sometimes our expectations in life are full but faithless. Israel in the desert is a good story to give us a wakeup call to differentiating between victories and failures from God’s perspective. Hardwork, Knowledge and Attitude is one thing, but check out how knowing, trusting, and obeying God's love "adds up?"

Ice Breaker: Looking over the past ten years what do you think God would point to as being your greatest success from HIS perspective? (Keep in mind the water in the desert illustration- maybe your being in today’s Bible Fellowship/CARE Group is your greatest success?  Everybody has something they have done right!)


Numbers 21:1-3  What was the place named where Israel destroyed the Canaanites? What does that word mean?

Number 14:36 – 45 (especially 45)   Where did we see that name before?  What happened there?  With nearly 40 years between events, how do you think the people of Numbers 21 felt after destroying the Canaanites when they looked up and realized their ancestors had been there before? (14:45)

Numbers 21:4-9  

  1.  What did the People say about God and Moses? vss. 4-5
  2. How did God react? vss. 6
  3. How did the people react? vss. 7-8
  4. Why do you think God had Moses make a bronze snake instead of just taking the snakes away?  John 3:9-15



  1. Have you ever succeeded at a major challenge at which your parents or grandparents failed?
  2.  Have you ever wished God would take away some type of consequences for your sin, but rather it seems He just makes you keep looking to Him and Jesus work on the cross?
  3.  Which would you say is a greater success in this life… Never making a mistake?  Overcoming a mistake you’ve made previously? Relentlessly looking to Jesus as the key to helping you overcome your sin and deal with  your consequences?
  4. How does complaining affect the Christian?  The Church? (see Murmuring & Complaining by Mark Roberts)
  5. Do you sense right now that there are some “snakes” in your life because of some bad choices you have made, and that your only way of surviving them is to “look to Jesus?”


  1. Today many high school and college graduates celebrate some new opportunities and new challenges.  How can our church help them?
  2. What lessons should they (you) take from this text and apply to your lives as Christians?

Consider some suggestions from our Pinterest Page regarding the graduation seasons of life!   TLCC College Age Opportunities  TLCC Milestone #4 Adulthood