By Not Known
We people of God can sometimes be amazing.
Consider the Old Testament church as they travelled from Egypt to Canaan. They
had seen God’s salvation in the exodus, had met with God on Mount Sinai and
were the objects of his promises. They had food sufficient for each day, water
and deliverance from their enemies. Yet, they grumbled and grumbled. Again,
Likewise for ourselves. We have the salvation of Jesus’ Cross, the promises of his
gospel and provision for our needs. Yet how many of our prayers and inner
thoughts are petty grumbles, in which we effectively complain that God’s will
rather then our will has been done?
Numbers 21:1-9 gives such a story. Israel had just seen God defeat their enemies.
A detour south avoided a powerful enemy but added a few days to their journey
into Canaan. They became impatient and spoke against God and Moses (21:4-5).
It was the now-standard grumble about God’s purpose and provision. It was
irrational. It involved amnesia concerning the slavery in Egypt, the daily manna,
the water from the rock and the good times awaiting them in Canaan.
Beware when we complain against God! Their penalty was an infestation of
snakes resulting in death. They finally came to their sense, confessed and ask for
God’s deliverance – much as we do when we see the consequences of our sins.
But God is even more amazing in his grace than we are amazing in our sin. Look
at what God did!
The God who judges also provides for our salvation. Further, he turned the
instrument of judgement into the means of salvation through the snake on the
stick. All the people had to do was to lift their eyes and look on the salvation that
God had provided.
It’s like that with the Cross of Jesus and John draws our attention to it (Jn 3:14-
16). The Cross is God’s act, not ours. It too was an instrument of judgement and
salvation. And likewise the Cross requires us to look up to God’s salvation in
Let’s not join amazing Israel in their grumbles. But let’s ‘Look up’ to the even
more amazing gift of God in Jesus.