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. Numbers 21:8-9
Israel grew so impatient that they spoke against God and Moses as they skirted their way around Edom. Their complaints against God and Moses severely tested the Lord so much that they became examples of Godís wrath while they wandered around in the desert. Even though God and Moses were the targets of Israelís complaints Moses prayed on their behalf and sought forgiveness for their lack of patience.
Moses was the man God sent to rescue Israel from bondage but they soon forgot that freedom has a cost all because of the desert elements and the lack of food within their reach. These things were written as warnings for us whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
Throughout history mankind has rebelled against Godís authority just as much as against authority of man. In this story Israel rebelled against the authority that God established with Moses to lead them to the promise land. Like most people they wanted relief right now and complained they didnít have the good things that made their life easier.
At the same time this story has a number of events similar in nature with Godís plan of salvation. They were complaining that things were better when they were slaves but now that they were free they had to depend on God whom they were unable to see for their livelihood. From hindsight they wanted the land of milk and honey right now without the hardships of getting there.
Was our life easier when we did not have to live under Godís restraints? How often do we complain today when God doesnít respond exactly when or how we expect him to? Donít we say ďwhy me LordĒ all too often. Again from our experience we have the saying; things will get worse before getting better.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
As Israelites complained and so do we when we are not looking to God or know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). Wicked things happened when we look at our circumstances and not to God who can strengthen us to overcome any situation. The circumstances seen by the human nature will always tell us that God is not aware of our trouble or doing his part. Even then we want relief right now. When our patience has been blindsided with an uncomfortable situation do we tell God who is in charge and insist that he make things better for us immediately? God will respond but his answer may not make our situation any better.
God is making things better for us as he is preparing a place where all things will be new in our heavenly home. These are things we cannot see right now but through faith look forward to the day we meet Jesus Christ in the sky. Like the Israelites we look to the problems we face today rather than looking forward to goal of Godís plan.
The complaints started right after the red sea closed over the Egyptian army. It was a terrible sight but the Israelites knew that they would never have to work due to the slave masters command again. Still out in the Sinai Desert they lacked bread, water and the quality of food they were accustomed to having in Egypt. They looked back recalling the better times rather than looking to a new life in the Lord.
God heard their complaints and sent venomous snakes then many people died. How do we react when our children dictate the way things are going to be for them. However things do not get better until we recognize who is in charge; humble ourselves and submit to the authority of our parents. Isnít that what God expects; to recognize who is in charge, humble by admitting to our sin and submit to his authority?
Within this story we see that God provided a way so mankind would not perish in his sin. He commanded Moses to make a snake and place it on a pole and raising it up high so anyone looking at the snake would revive and live. What about our stubborn and rebellious hearts that sin? How many of us live in complete obedience to God?
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. John 3:14-15
Moses lifted up the snake in the desert was a type of Jesus Christ on the Cross. In the same manner the Son of Man was lifted up so mankind would look at and find new life and have it more abundantly. God provided a way of reconciliation so mankind would not perish in his sin. At the same time looking to Jesus Christ for life required recognition of his authority given to him by our creator.
The new life that Jesus Christ gives requires a disciplined way of life but we are faced with a dilemma. Men prefer to follow the stubborn inclinations of their sin nature rather than listen or pay attention to God. Jesus said if you refuse to recognize my authority and repent you will perish.
God has put his Spirit in you to encourage you to obey his laws and decrees. When you have spent significant time getting to know your heavenly father you will know what he approves of. This is what the Bible calls renewing the mind. When you know what God desires for us than you will be able to approve his will and that knowledge will make it possible for you to do what he desires of you.
Setting Christís life before us is a way of looking at life itself. There is truth in Christís words when he said ďI am the way the truth and the life.Ē The truth is we have to follow him because he is the way to life eternal. 10/02/2014
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