Sunday service, Nthokozo Nhlabathi, 16 Sep 2018
5 And crying out against God and against Moses, they said, Why have you taken us out of Egypt to come to our death in the waste land? For there is no bread and no water, and this poor bread is disgusting to us.
6 Then the Lord sent poison-snakes among the people; and their bites were a cause of death to numbers of the people of Israel.
7 Then the people came to Moses and said, We have done wrong in crying out against the Lord and against you: make prayer to the Lord to take away the snakes from us. So Moses made prayer for the people.
8 And the Lord said to Moses, Make an image of a snake and put it on a rod, and anyone who has been wounded by the snakes, looking on it will be made well.
9 So Moses made a snake of brass and put it on a rod; and anyone who had a snakebite, after looking on the snake of brass, was made well.
We are living in an era of turmoil, and anger, because people forget God’s works. If you read the Bible you will see all the difficulties and challenges Israel had to face. Our lives are wrapped up in the decisions and commitments we have made.
Maybe in the beginning when you came to the Lord, you were willing to do anything, but today you look down on certain jobs.
In the same way the children of Israel forgot their past. Just before this text, we read how the children of Israel vowed to follow and obey the Lord. But when the next difficulty arrived they had forgotten all about it and spoke against God and against Moses.
How is it possible that a person who had gone through such suffering and had been delivered from it, forget it all? They experienced how God had delivered them out of Egypt, and all the plagues that befell the Egyptians while they were spared. They forgot all the grace God had shown them. They forgot how God delivered them at the parting of the red sea.
We might marvel at the children of Israel, yet among us there might be those who do exactly the same. Many have forgotten what God had done for them.
This sin of forgetting is terrible.
Do you still remember how it was when you had received the grace of God? You could stand on the rooftops and shout it out. What is it like today?
Many have been bitten spiritually by these poisonous snakes and have died spiritually. When someone has died spiritually then they criticize and find fault. Everyone else is wrong in their eyes, but they cannot see their own sin. But even worse, such people also poison others.
In the past you accepted correction and discipline, but today you want to be treated with great respect and do not accept correction readily. Maybe you even start to criticise those whom God had appointed over you and think you can do it better. Why? Because you have forgotten where you come from. When you were still insignificant in your own eyes God blessed you, but today you have become big in your own eyes. You have forgotten that those blessings come from God.
However, even if the poisonous serpents have bitten you, if you will look up to the One raised up on the Cross you will be healed! Instead of criticising when things go difficult, turn to the Lord Jesus who died for you on the Cross.