I have always been fascinated with the Israelites.If anyone should trust and believe that God is big and has things under control, it is the Israelites.God worked a ton of miracles to get them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea.But it did not take long for them to complain that they needed water and food and every time God provided in a big way – water from a rock, manna and quail from the sky.By the time we get to our text in Numbers 21 it appears that they had had it.They had wondered in the desert for a long time and the promised land was just out of reach.They had forgotten.They grumbled and complained and asked why God had even brought them out of Egypt.Um, really?Slavery seemed better to them at this point? Apparently, God had had it, too.He sent poisonous snakes among them and there were people who were bitten and died.I am thinking that God had to show up in a big way to get the Israelites to listen.And listen they did.“We sinned when we spoke out against God and you [Moses].” (vs 6) They asked Moses to pray and ask God to remove the snakes but God was not going to just give them what they wanted.God told Moses, “Make a snake and put it on a flagpole: whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.” (vs 8) Anyone who was bitten and looked to the snake lived.
I live a blessed life.I have a healthy family, my husband and I are both employed, my kids are good kids, I live in a house, I drive a car, I have food and a bed and heat.I have friends and extended family.I have Jesus.What more could I want?And yet I OFTEN find myself grumbling and complaining.Just like my friends, the Israelites, I have forgotten everything that God has done for me.God has provided for my family in many ways.God has provided people, money, things, comfort, jobs, food, unexpected gifts, opportunities to serve, even a break in my schedule just when I need it but yet I let the smallest thing turn my eyes off of Him.Why do I not have_______?Why cannot I be______?Why can’t I buy_______ ?Why? Why? Whine…. I question God. I forget to remember all that He has done for me.
Thinking about this I stand in awe of His grace.
I honestly do not believe that God brings “snakes” into our lives to harm us.I think that He allows things to happen to help us refocus.We need God.When we are faced with the “snakes” in our lives – the grumbling and complaining that pull our eyes OFF of Jesus, we need to refocus ourselves and look up TO Jesus.In our obedience to Him we are made whole.Matthew 6:33 tells us to “…seek first His kingdom…and all these things will be given to you…” and Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”We need to take action and be obedient.In the “looking” we are saved.
Dear God, I am sorry that my heart is full of grumbling and complaining.I am sorry that I forget what you have done for me and where you have brought me.I am sorry that you have to allow “snakes” into my life to get my attention and bring my focus back to you.Thank you for loving me despite all of this and providing the perfect “bronze snake” for me in your Son, Jesus. Please help me to seek and to delight in you.
Amy W. (guest on 66 Books)