Monday, May 13, 2019
The morning news is not always encouraging. In fact, very rarely is there a story on the national media outlets that makes me think, “This is going to be a great day.” Upon reflection, I’ve discovered that the news stories are not the problem. My response is the problem. It’s my choice whether to let faith in God dictate my response, or to let my diminished confidence in what this world offers me make me grumble.
It seems that the things of the world can captivate my thinking and turn my eyes from their focus on the wonderful hope we have in Jesus Christ for eternal life. Here I am making plans for my personal provisions and security, when Jesus has already provided for all that and more. Too often I look around at the world instead of looking above me at the Lord.
In a seemingly endless pattern of complaining, consequences, and correction, the Israelites once again needed to be taught a lesson about trusting their heavenly Father.
Numbers 21:4-9 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 desert? 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, he lived.
John 3:14-15 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
This time God taught the people a faith lesson by using poisonous snakes. To rescue them from this infestation, God had Moses make a bronze snake and place it on a pole, so that anyone who looked at it would live. Notice that God’s solution was not to take away the snakes or to stop the venom from being imbedded in their flesh, but rather He stopped the effects of the venom in their lives.
What an incredible picture of our lives today in Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself uses this story to depict His own crucifixion in John 3:14-15. He tells us to look to Him, just as the Israelites looked to the snake on the pole, so that we may live. The Serpent still attacks and attempts to sink His fangs into our lives, poisoning us with the venom of the world. But with eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, we will not only survive but we will live abundantly and eternally. Satan has not been removed from the world, but the sting of his venom – death – has been removed.
When we are tempted to look around us at all the serpents that are coiled to strike us with their poison, we must remember that when we are looking at our Savior Jesus, their venom is powerless. The snake of inflation cannot interrupt the flow of God’s provision. The snake of dependence upon oil cannot overpower our dependence upon the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. The snake of war and injustice cannot take away our peace and justification in Christ. The snake of broken relationships cannot destroy the permanence of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Take your eyes off whatever snake is coiled to strike you right now, and at Christ.
“In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
He is our Hope and our Salvation. In Him we have life, and it is eternal and abundant. The snakes cannot invalidate your inheritance, so don’t let them infect your inclinations. Instead, “Incline your heart unto the Lord” (Joshua 24:23). He is faithful and will not fail.