From Numbers 21….
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
I read the above passage this morning, and it gave me many things to ponder……
In the week leading up to the holiday Easter, I’ve been pretty much living as per usual. No special fasting, no reverence, nothing out of the norm. I don’t say this to boast – I’m confessing my utter lack of respect for the Lord lately, and how much I can get wrapped up in myself. Much like the Israelites in this passage (and others).
It’s important to remember God WAS feeding them. They were not starving here. God had supplied them manna, from the moment he led them out of Egypt. He was providing their every need. The Word says their sandles never wore out, for the forty years they wandered the desert. They were given fire to lead them at night, and a cloud during the day. They had everything they needed.
So do I……
Yet, like the Israelites, I can get caught up in what I WANT, forgetting I have EVERYTHING I need. And – it seems I can forget how much I DIDN’T have before Jesus. I was a slave, much like they. A slave to debt. To lust. To my selfish, sinful desires. I, like them, was freed. Yet I forget that, and complain. I piss and moan, if I’m being honest…….
Thankfully God has not decided to send poisonous serpents to punish me. Oh man…. I’m like Indiana Jones – I hate snakes. That would be a horrible, horrible thing…. but I do think God has often let me poison myself. Eventually, I’m convicted of my sin, and I repent. Sometimes it’s a gentle reminder. Sometimes maybe not so gentle. But I am blessed in that I’ve never had to be smacked in the head quite as hard as they were.
But look! God provided a way for them to be delivered yet again! And I’d argue – an odd way at that! God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and raise it up. Anyone who was bitten could simply look upon this serpent, and they would live.
Just like Jesus….. Jesus became our sin, was raised up, took ALL of our sin upon himself – one time for all. Anyone who was “bitten” (all of us) could look upon him and live…..
And all we have to do is look upon him………
In these days before we celebrate Easter, what are we looking at? Are we looking at our present conditions, or are we looking forward to the promise we have in Jesus Christ?
Jesus, thank you that we don’t have to save ourselves. Thank you that we don’t have to remain in our sin. That through you we have eternal life! That eternal life means ALWAYS – including now. All we need to do is turn to you….
Forgive me Lord for my childish attitude – thank you that you do forgive me. You have forgiven me. And more than that – you’ve taken me out of my old sinful life. Now. All I need to do is turn to you…..
Thank you Lord that in an instant I’m restored to you. Your grace truly is sufficient. All I need to do is turn to you…..