Closing the Gap 9.12.18

By September 12, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 3

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Reflect:

Israel complained about their captivity in Egypt.  Then they complained about the conditions of their journey to the Promised Land.  They complained about the leadership God had provided for them. And they complained about the perceived threats of entering the Promised Land once they arrived there.  At one point, their complaining brought the judgment of a large number of venomous snakes that bit and killed many of them. This is the stuff of nightmares, terrifying to consider.  Imagine walking through open wilderness and suddenly finding yourself in a huge den of poisonous snakes. The judgment may seem harsh, but the stakes were high. These people were carrying the light of the truth of God to the nations.  If they lost the light, then far worse would befall humanity than some dying by snakebite. Keep this fact in mind when reading the Old Testament accounts of God’s dealings with Israel. God provided a cure for them in their suffering. Moses fabricated a bronze snake and put it on a pole that was raised up for anyone to see.  If a snake bit someone, they could look to the bronze snake and live. This may sound like so much “hocus pocus,” but God was not playing games with them through the whole “snake on a stick” story. Israel continually forgot their great need for God. Their demanding and complaining showed how in their hearts they believed that they deserved good from God rather than judgment for their sins.  This plague of snakes, like other forms of judgment, reminded them of their need. The bronze snake on the pole, on the other hand, reminded them that their salvation was not in their own efforts, but only in looking in faith to God. Then when Jesus the Messiah came, he linked his own death on a cross to the cure in the wilderness. When he was lifted up in crucifixion, he said that all who look to him in faith would be saved.  Some of the people God has placed in your life no doubt fail to understand their need for God. The constant complaining you hear in media, in your workplace, and in the places you shop all serve to remind you that people believe they deserve more than they have. The demands that life (God) be more generous, more fair, and more attuned to our needs and wants, demonstrate how far we are from understanding our great dependence on God.  All we have is a grace gift. Do not join in the chorus of complaining. Instead, be set apart as one whose words point to the one who was lifted up for our sins. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Phil. 2:14-16).

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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