Summary: When we are snake bitten by the fiery bite of sin, we must turn our eyes upon the Lord as he is lifted up on the cross.
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Pastor James May
SPIRITUAL SNAKE BITES
Numbers 21:1-9, "And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners. And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah…
This passage of scripture contains one of the strangest stories of the entire Bible, yet it contains some powerful lessons for God’s people if we will just meditate upon it for a little while.
Israel was continuing its march toward the Promised Land. God had brought them through one miraculous deliverance after another. Time and again Israel failed God and began to murmur and complain that God wasn’t giving them the good life but was leading them into the paths of destruction. There were a number of times when God decided that he had heard enough of their complaining and brought Israel to the place of judgment and correction. This incident is another example of God’s judgment and wrath, but it is tempered by his love, mercy and grace upon people who didn’t deserve it.
King Arad had attacked Israel! His quick and powerful raid had netted a prize of numbers of slaves to be used in building his own kingdom and not the Promised Land.
I want you to realize that his is a type and shadow of the journey of Christians through the dry and thirsty land of everyday living as we travel toward our eternal home.
All along the way we can see the hand of God moving on our behalf. We know that his protection and his provision are always there. With the Holy Spirit as our guide and teacher, and using the Word of God as our roadmap, we march ever onward. But God never promised us that the road would be perfectly smooth or without pitfalls.
We may be traveling along just fine when we suddenly hit a pothole in life’s road that tends to throw us off track. It’s at those moments when our faith and trust are sorely tested. It’s at those moments that we are most susceptible to fail God.
And What is the first thing we do when we face a sudden defeat in our walk with Christ?
Just like the Israelites we fall on our face before the Lord and begin to make deals with God to get back what we have lost in the first place.
Isn’t it amazing that we think that we bribe God into doing what he was going to do in the first place? It isn’t our promise to do better that causes God to work on our behalf, it’s his love, grace and mercy toward an undeserving people. Yes, true repentance is necessary but our repentance doesn’t save us, it’s the grace of God through the Blood of the Lamb. If repentance alone could do it, man could earn his way to eternal life through acts of contrition or paying of penance, but none of those things can purchase one moment of eternal life.
Israel’s promise was, God if you will help us get back our captured fellowmen, we will destroy the cities of our enemy!
Have you ever made a deal with God? Lord, if you forgive me for cheating, I promise to be better prepared for the next test. Lord, if you will give me a job, I promise to be a better employee next time. Lord, if you will put me back in the ministry, I will promise to be more faithful next time.
Do you really think that God plays “Let’s Make A Deal” with you? Does God sit in Heaven and say to you, “Come On Now, Choose the right hand and you win. Choose the wrong hand and you lose” or , “Hey, that sounds fair to me. I like your deal, let’s do it.”