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Look, and Live

Have you ever found yourself becoming increasingly "bitter" about something, and realize that the bitterness seems to be turning right around ... biting, injuring and consuming you? A quick word today to encourage you to "look, and live".

I want to share a simple word you may have heard before, and hopefully hearing it again (or for the first time) might encourage and inspire you.

There's a brief, beautiful and meaningful account in scripture, tucked into the long-and-winding-road story of the Israelites' travels from the land of slavery, to the land of Promise and Freedom. It can be found in Numbers 21: 4 - 9.

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.

The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.

That "snake on the pole" can be considered a "word picture" image of Jesus, hanging on the "tree" (cross) for us, willingly taking upon Himself the embodiment of all that would do us harm, and putting that all to death in the process.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2: 24)

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
(Gal 3: 13)

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
(Col 2: 13b - 14)

Here's the question: Has your own way become weary, like the Israelites, wandering in the "desert" on their way out of the land of slavery, to the land of Promise? Have you found yourself becoming impatient, griping, complaining and wondering why God is leading you along this difficult path? Have you found that the very bitterness that has arisen from your struggle, has itself turned into a snake that has threatened to injure, harm or even kill you?

If so, take to heart the remedy that was provided for the Israelites. Moses was directed to make a snake and put it up on a pole, and anyone who was bitten could look at it and live. If you've been "bitten", won't you look up at the One Who was wounded for your transgressions, see His sacrifice, see your own sorry-wounded-bitter-heart hanging there on that cross as He embodies it all, and LIVE? By His wounds, be healed, in Jesus' strong, compassionate, amazing Name.

April 23, 2008

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