Summary: Where you are looking can determine your eternal destiny. Once we come to faith in Christ, the Bible mentions three places we should look. This sermon deals with these three directions we should look spiritually.
Where Are You Looking?
July 19, 2015
TEXT: Numbers 21:4-9 – “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
Illus. – When learning to drive on the left side of the road in England after moving from the U.S., I found that the most helpful piece of advice was simply this—Always look to your RIGHT first when you come to an intersection.
Now this is important because it’s just the opposite in the U.S. Several times I forgot this advice and looked first to my left for a car on the right side of the road as I had been conditioned to do by years of driving in the U.S. Since nothing came from the left, I’d creep into the road too far, and by the time I looked to the right, I'd find myself right in the line of car coming from my right.
After avoiding an accident by a hair, I’d gather my wits and remind myself over an over again—look to the right, look to the right, look to the right.
You see, it’s important where you’re looking in the U.K. This illustration demonstrates a significant spiritual truth: It’s very important where you look! I know that may sound strange to have to say it since it’s so self-evident, but it’s true. Where you are looking in the Christian life will determine to a large degree whether you keep on growing in the Lord or whether you whither up and die, spiritually speaking.
Our text illustrates that it is important to GOD where we look. This passage of Scripture tells of a time during the wanderings of the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land when they began to whine and complain. They started looking wistfully back to Egypt instead of looking ahead to the Promised Land. They began to look at Moses and see all his faults and shortcomings, when they should have looked to the Lord.
Verse 6 tells us that when the Children of Israel began to murmur and complain, God sent “fiery serpents” among the people that bit and killed many of them. When Israel sought deliverance from these dreadful snakes, God commanded Moses to set up a bronze figure of a serpent on a pole, so that those who were bitten could look to this bronze serpent, trusting in God’s healing power, and live. Now the only way a person could be delivered from the deadly venom of these terrible snakes was to LOOK by faith upon that bronze serpent.
God’s purpose in this instruction was two-fold:
• First, God was trying to teach us about faith.
It made no sense that if you simply looked upon that bronze serpent, you’d be delivered. That was just too simple! Reason told them that there HAD to be something more complicated than that. But God said that anyone who, by faith, simply look at the snake would be healed.
• Second, God was giving us a picture of Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross.
God was saying that, when it comes to your salvation, you’d better be looking in the right direction. You see, nobody HAD to look at the bronze serpent. Many no doubt thought, Well, that’s stupid! Look at a bronze snake and poof!—I’m healed? Come on! I'm no fool! – These scoffers died by the scores. Some, I’m sure, said, “Well, that’s what Moses claims God said to do, but I’ve got my own remedy.” So they reached into their little pouches for their man-made remedies. But these too died in great numbers.
In many ways, many people make the same kinds of statements concerning salvation. Jesus said in John 3:14-15 – “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life”