Where Does Real Courage Come From?

Monday, July 4, 2016

“LOOK AND LIVE” – Part 5 (Numbers 21:8)

Why is it hard to receive God’s cure for us?

It couldn’t be simpler. Moses made a bronze serpent as God instructed, put it on a pole, and lifted it up. All the bitten Israelites had to do was look at it and live. That’s it. It wasn’t complicated.  

There, on the pole, the bronze serpent was dead, lifeless, and powerless. That was God’s message of mercy. He had rendered the fiery serpents dead, lifeless, and powerless. Their bite, their venom had no power to kill the Israelites. Not anymore.

One look and they were healed.

But the cure was more than healing their physical bodies. The deeper cure had power to heal their souls from the tormenting disease of grumbling. This was the real poison.  Not from the serpents in the wilderness but from the ancient serpent of Eden who’d inflamed their self-centered lusts and passions.

Look at the bronze serpent again.

It tells two stories. First, the power of the fiery serpents is over and, second, God has promised the end of the real serpent, the devil.

That promise came in Eden. After Adam and Eve fell into sin, the Lord spoke of a day when a Savior would come and “crush” the serpent forever (Gen 3:15 NIV). The devil would no longer have power over us. Sin and death would no longer reign in our mortal bodies (Rom 6:12). The Savior would come to render the serpent dead, lifeless, and powerless so we, the bitten, could look and live.

This is why our Savior came: “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8).

All we have to do is look and live.

Why is this hard to do? Is it possible it’s because God’s cure is free of charge? We can’t buy it. We can’t do anything to earn it, work for it, or muster our human strength to acquire it. We can’t take any credit for getting it. We can’t boast we deserve it. There’s nothing we can do but confess our sin and beg for His mercy.

His cure is a gift to us. He gives it because He is good. He is kind. He is merciful. It is all about Him, not us. He loves us and saves us “by his grace as a gift” (Rom 3:24). It never comes by “works done by us in righteousness” (Titus  3:5; Eph 2:8-9).

Just look at the Savior and be healed.

But this runs contrary to our bitten, sinful nature. We grumble because of pride. We never receive anything for free. Only the weak take handouts. If we can’t be part of the solution, we don’t want it. This has always been the argument. It still is today. It’s why people all over the world refuse to look at what our Savior has done and let the healing power of God come into their souls.

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