LOOK AND LIVE

LOOK AND LIVE

 

 

Friends, let us today go to the Book of Numbers Chapter 21, as we read from verse 4.

Look And Live is the title of my message.

Numbers 21:4-7

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

 

PRAYER:

Father, we have come again to Your Word, and we pray You enlighten our understanding now…in Jesus’ Name. Amen

God has done an impossible thing by delivering the Children of Israel out of the clutches of a superpower: the Egyptian Government. There was no way the Jewish Slaves could regain their freedom except by divine intervention. But the Children of Israel did not build on this awesome experience: the series of miracles that God performed to break the power of Pharaoh and his government over their lives. When they faced difficulties they behaved as though God was no longer competent to come to their aid. This was the case when they had need for protection from Pharaoh’s re-enslavement army at the Red Sea: Exodus 14:5-12;  this was the case when they needed water – Exodus 15:22-27; this was the case when they felt hungry – Exodus 16:1-3; even when the need for water resurfaced the Children of Israel forgot that God met this need earlier. In Exodus 17, 1-3, we read:

Exodus 17:1-3

Then all the congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink.”

So Moses said to them, “Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?”

And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

God had provided them water miraculously once. This second time they forgot. Doesn’t that sound like us? How many times have we faced new challenges without falling back on God’s past mercies and blessings? We forget His Goodness too quickly.

Let us take the songwriter’s admonition to heart. He says,

Count your blessings,

Name them one by one;

Count your blessings,

See what God had done;

Count your blessings,

Name them one by one;

And it will surprise you

What the Lord has done.

 

How many of us count our blessings?

Back to our text: Numbers 21:4-5

Numbers 21:4-5

Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged [the word there discouraged is impatient] on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.”

Impatience opens the door to discouragement. And discouragement opens the mouth to speaking against God and man. Discouragement leads to murmuring and contempt. In this state of mind it is easy to insult God. Listen to how the impatient and complaining Israelite described God’s provision for them: there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread – our soul detests: we hate – we count as nothing, this useless food you have provided us. That’s God they are talking to, take note.

There is a limit to what Go will tolerate. He is patient and merciful, but sometimes He says, enough is enough. Please, whatever you do, friend, don’t bring Him to that costly point. It cost the Israelites their lives.

Numbers 21:6

6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

God chastised them for their unbelief, their impatience and their insolence. What was God’s means or weapon of discipline? Fiery poisonous serpents that bit them! Did God really send the serpents? In the light of Deuteronomy 8:15.

Deuteronomy 8:15 says that the wilderness, where the Children of Israel were journeying, was a natural habitat of scorpions and fiery serpents. That is why the wilderness is described as terrible: in that passage – Deuteronomy 8:5. What happened was that God withdrew His protective shield, and the serpents had the liberty of do what was natural to them. The Israelites broke through God’s wall of protection, as it were, and the serpents beat them. Ecclesiastes 10:8.

APPLICATION

Let us apply the story to ourselves. The poison of sin from the serpent Satan (recall that he is described as serpent in Genesis 3:1, in Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:22. Satan is described as the serpent). The poison of sin which he produces will lead to death. No wonder God says that the person or the soul who sins shall die: Ezekiel 18:4 and 20.

But in His mercy He has provided us a remedy, just as He did for the Israelites.

In Numbers 21:7-9,

Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned [repentance], for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” [God did not answer this prayer directly. He did not take away the serpents, take note; but He provided them a remedy]. So Moses prayed for the people.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Verse 7 tells us that they repented. Jesus Christ identifies His Sacrifice for sin with the remedy that God provided Israel through Moses.

In John 3:14-16, Jesus says,

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

It is in that context that we have this popular verse:

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Friend, all you need to do is Look and Live. Look to Jesus in sincere repentance from your sins, and receive salvation bought with his blood, which he shed on the cross for you. You will not die the second death, which is hell: eternal separation from God. Do that now; and you will be saved.

PRAYER

Father, thank You, again, for Your Word, today. We bless Your great Name. As many as are receiving the Saviour now – the sacrifice of Jesus, may You save them and give them assurance…in Jesus Might Name we have prayed. Amen!

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