|Home > Articles > Special Features > ""|
/_.jpg" width=120 height=80 alt="" border=0 align=left hspace=5>
by Thomas R. Fletcher
Ever get tired of God? Oh, I know, I wont admit it either. But do you ever get tired of the demands your faith makes upon your life? Ever long for those wild and free days of youth?
Lets review. Those wild, free days were not free at all. Satan is lying to you. They were days of bondage marked by enslavement to sin. Satan used the evil desires of the sinner as a bullring to control, to lead him/her about as he pleased. Have we forgotten the bondage? Are we like the children of Israel in Numbers 21?
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! (Numbers 21:4b-5 NIV)
Israel could only remember the tasty days of fine cuisine. Memories of hard labor had quickly faded. All that remained were memories of the good ol days in Egypt. Of course, those days werent good at all. They were slaves!
Satan does wonders in presenting selective memories–to create longings that if followed, will take one far from the Lord. Israel was actually longing for the days of slavery! How could days of slavery have been good?
Dont we commit the same error when we forget what God has done in setting us free from the bondage of sin. Longing for the days of sin is the first step downward -– giving in to old desires. Groaning, grumbling, backbiting and faultfinding are marks of those whove grown tired of God and long for days of sin.
Israel was tired of Gods provision. It wasnt what they desired. Manna again?!? They remembered the flavor-rich leeks of Egypt. Longing for the material things, they neglected the spiritual truth. Focusing on their desires, they remembered the fine cuisine; their memories of hard labor and abuse were blunted. Their desires rode over their reason. They neglected their great deliverance given by the hand of the Lord, bringing deliverance out of Egypt. In their twisted reasoning they felt deprived, because their material desires were not immediately met. They neglected the fact that with the provisions in Egypt came fierce slavery and with the hand of the Lord came incredible and powerful grace. In complaining about what they didnt have, they neglected what they did have: the ongoing care and provision of the Lord. So the Lord lowered His hedge of protection, and the venomous serpents came to call.
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. (Numbers 21:6)
Apparently these venomous snakes had been there all along, but Gods hedge of protection had kept them at bay. The complaints of the people caused God to lower His hedge of protection so they could have a taste of life without Him. Gods protection had kept the snakes at bay. Now they would suffer the fate of losing that protection. They took Gods provision and protection for granted. They didnt realize the many ways Gods grace was sheltering and protecting them. Instead of seeing the blessing they had, they focused on the material things they didnt have. Complaining, backbiting, and faultfinding eat at the fabric of faith. Complaining is to dwell on the natural without considering the supernatural. Focused on the natural, the people spurned Gods provision. The snakes soon had the people ready to repent.
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. (Numbers 21:7)
God used this incident of rebellion and chastisement of His people to provide a type, a truth, to point to the future reality of Christ being lifted up on the cross to pay the penalty of sin.
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. (Numbers 21:8)
Healing from the poisonous bites required faith. Those who were healed acted in faith by looking up to the bronze snake high upon the pole. Only those who acted in faith were healed. So we, too, must exercise faith. We must look to the cross of Christ or there is no healing for our sin-sick condition. All of humanity is infected with the disease of sin, and the only cure is to look to the cross of Christ in faith–knowing He paid a penalty for our sin, that we could never pay on our own.
Going through life, we become burdened with the trials we face. In carrying our burdens, we lose sight of the many ways God loves, cares, and provides for us. We focus on the trials. We see what we dont have, instead of praising God for what we do have. Our focus is on our trials. Faith starts to fail. Sin enters in. Only as we get our focus on the cross do we find the healing we desperately need.
Maybe youve been listening to the rabble, the mixed-multitude. Perhaps youve let their negativity affect your faith. Maybe youre heart has gotten focused on the material and lost sight of the spiritual. Its time to get our focus where it belongs: the cross of Christ and the grace and provision of God.
_.html" onmouseover="window.status='View a simpler page format that works well with printers.'; return true" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true" title="Printer-friendly Version">Print this Article