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Numbers Chapter 21 (ESV)
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 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 we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And 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. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
- Read this passage the way you might to a group of children with articulation and inflections.
- God brought judgment on the people because of their grumbling. But judgment wasn’t the last word. It’s never the last word. Judgment is necessary because of our hard-heartedness. Its proper work is to open our hearts, to crack the shell of our self-sufficiency so that we can experience the inrushing grace of our loving and compassionate God.
- It’s true, as the apostle Paul wrote, that the kindness of God leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). But so does the judgment of God. Both are the means to the same end: to bring us to God, the source of our forgiveness, our healing, and our wholeness.
- What did God do when I need discipline? When I need relief? How has Jesus been the lifted up Healer to me?
- Tell God my emotions right now, thank Him for His Persistent Grace “that will not let me go” until I submit. Is there anything I need to be softened to God? Continue conversing with God.