Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“BRONZED AND LIFTED UP” – Part 4 (Numbers 21:8a)

Do we care how God heals us?

If we do, we’re grumbling again. We’re telling God what we think He should do. Why do we do that? We push Him off His throne, take His seat, and think our opinions matter. In our arrogance, we know what’s right, what’s best, what He should and shouldn’t do.

It’s exactly how the serpent thinks.

He said in his heart, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isa 14:14). Every time we grumble, we say the same thing. We think like that ancient serpent, the devil. We pretend we’re God.

But we’re not God. In Numbers 21, it takes the invasion of fiery serpents to awaken the Israelites. They come to their senses. They confess their sin. They ask Moses to pray God for mercy. They need Him. They’re not in control. They need the serpents to go away.

The Lord, in His kindness, responds.

Does it matter how He responds? Are we like Naaman, commander of the Syrian army? He went to the prophet Elisha to be healed of his leprosy. Elisha told him to wash seven times in the Jordan and he’d be healed. But Naaman was furious; he didn’t want to wash in the Jordan. He wanted Elisha to “wave his hand” and cure him (2 Kgs 5:8-14).

Naaman grumbled.  That’s not how he wanted to be healed.

His servant spoke reason to his heart: “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” Naaman came to his senses, obeyed Elisha, and was healed.

Is that our story? When we need His saving power, have we got any right to complain about how God answers; if God answers; when God answers? Has arrogance filled us to the point we say, “Heal me but not Your way. Do it my way”?

This grumbling -- it’s still happening today.

People come to their senses and cry to God for help. But they don’t like His answer. He says He sent His Son to rescue them from the poison of that ancient serpent. He declares there’s no salvation other than the one found in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). They object.

They don’t want to hear about Jesus. They want salvation their way, not His way.

That didn’t happen in the wilderness. No one complained when the Lord told Moses to “Make a fiery serpent and set it on pole.” It’s what cured the Israelites in the wilderness. It’s what cures us today. All of us need to know the serpent is dead, bronzed, judged, and has no more power over us. Not our bodies, hearts, or minds.

That’s God’s way. And God’s way is the only way to heal the soul from grumbling.

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John 15:1-11, the Vine and the branches. "Is He everything to you?