Thursday, March 17, 2005

Snake Bites

Copyright © Lisa Biggs Crum

Numbers 21:8 “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.’”

John 3:14-15 Jesus said “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.”

Numbers 21:4-9 is the story of mankind and Christ. The Israelites had grown impatient. They had been wandering in the desert nearly 40 years – a consequence of their doubt and fears. Instead of accepting their consequences, they started complaining against God and Moses. God added venomous snakes to their consequences. Then God himself provided the remedy for the snake bites. The remedy required no action on the part of the person inflicted except to look up at the snake on the pole and live.

John 3:16 is the first Bible verse many people my age memorized. Somewhere along the way we get impatient and start complaining. We know that God sent his son into the world and if we believe in him, we will have life with Him forever. Then we start thinking maybe the old life wasn’t so bad. It’s taking too long to get to this “Promised Land” of eternal happiness. A life time in the desert doesn’t seem fair. We want the good life and we want it now.

Then we progress to figuring out our own “problems” as we see them. We don’t like the way God is doing things. We want to do it our way. It’s like a young child insisting on pouring his own milk from a full gallon jug into a small glass. You can see the mess coming before it happens.

God did not give the Israelites instructions on how to handle the snake bite on their own. He simply instructs them to look up at the snake on the pole. When one of my children insists on trying something beyond their ability, I sometimes let them try so they will learn from it. However, I stay close by so I can rescue them when they look up with panic in their eye.

Even as Christ followers, we often want to handle things on our own. What happened physically in the Israelite that was bitten and looked at the snake on the pole does not make sense. So it is with the person who looks up to Christ on the cross. What happens spiritually doesn’t make sense. His wholeness flows into our being. There is absolutely nothing we can do for ourselves to make that happen.

God has taught me this lesson this week. I have been frustrated over of my circumstances for some time. I know that God has promised something that I can’t get to fast enough. At times I'm ready to give up. Although I am more in God’s will than I ever have been, the life I had before seems less complicated. Yesterday, I realized I was trying to pour life from a container far too heavy for me to handle into someone else. Fortunately, I looked up before the mess happened. My whole being changed. My venomous attitude disappeared. I love it when God does that!

I know it doesn't make sense but the remedy for deadly snake bites is simple: Look up and live.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You have a great gift for putting big issues into the sizes of containers that are palatable. Summing up larger issues of life into bite-sized messages helps make them palatable for those of us who can't cut the meat into pieces for ourselves. Thank you.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

Copyright 2005-2010 Lisa Biggs Crum
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