Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Numbers 21:8-9: And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
I have not been bitten by a snake. I was asked by a member of a former congregation to go on a backpacking trip. He said, "On this trip, you'll see rattlesnakes on the trail sometimes." By a blessing (?) there was a fire in the area so we had to cancel the trip.
Some snakes are poisonous. In our Bible story, the camp of the traveling Israelites was infested by poisonous snakes. People were dying. And why were the snakes there? It was because the people rebelled against God. They were grumbling and complaining against God because they didn't like what He provided for them. The deeper reason was, they didn't trust God that He would lead them the way they wanted Him to lead them. So God put the snakes in the camp to rebuke them and lead them to salvation.
And the salvation? Look to the snake that Moses made which was on a pole. Then you will live. The poison will not continue to hurt you.
God allows troubles, sorrows, and strife to come to us. These troubles, sorrows, and strife are in the world, and in our lives, because of sin. Sin causes rebellion against God. Sin is, by nature, selfish and self-centered. That goes against the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods besides me." God cannot abide that. So He rebukes us with the desire for us to repent of our sins and turn back to Him and His way. We have to die to our self and self will.
And He sets up a way for salvation. Just as the snake was lifted up on the pole for people to see and thereby be saved, God the Father had Jesus the Son lifted up on the tree of the cross to save us from our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The end result of Jesus' death is our forgiveness. Jesus' resurrection is our resurrection to live by grace now along with living with God forever in heaven. God, open our hearts to sin our sin and to see our Savior, Jesus, Amen.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.