As I was scrolling through Facebook for the billionth time one afternoon I came upon an image that made me scrunch up my face something like this…
It was a ball of mating snakes. Did I look away? Of course not I just kept staring at the image and then proceeded to google more information on how snakes reproduce. As the above picture reveals I’m not very good at hiding my emotions. My husband has been mildly embarrassed with me in public places when I’m people watching and my face contorts into the above image.
The same week the letter S was scheduled for our homeschool curriculum. The nature reader was on snakes. It was a rough week for someone who hates snakes however not as rough as the Israelites in Numbers:
From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke out against God and against Moses “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they it the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said. ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you, Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us,” So Moses prayed for the people. 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’d like to believe I would be an obedient Israelite and look up at the image of the fiery serpent. However I’m reminded of this face…
I couldn’t even look away from a picture on a computer of the disgusting things much less real live ones at my ankles. Real Live snakes snapping at my ankles and I’m suppose to look away and look up at some image of them. NO thank you! I’m certain I would rely on my own ability to jump, run, scream, and defeat them all on my own. What is some image going to do for me?
I’d rely on my own ability until that ability ultimately failed me. Until I was laying flat on my back covered in bite marks and snake excrement. Until I had no choice but for my eyes to fall in line with the image that would save me.
I know this is what I would do because this IS what I do. I look at my life and identify all the sin. And I have to face the facts that most of the time its pretty easy to identify. Everything from always wanting to have indulgent cheese dip instead of a vegetable, having limited patience with my children, and the list goes on and on… But my sin is not where my focus should be, especially if I want to be rid of it.
I recently read this about Luther in a biography about him:
“Luther later formulated what he had learned by saying that the physician does not need to probe each pulsate to know that the patient has smallpox, nor is the disease to be cured scab by scab. To focus on particular offenses is a counsel of despair. When Peter started to count the waves, he sank. The whole nature of man needs to be changed.”
-Here I Stand by Robert Baiton
If I’m serious about my sin. When I understand the gravity of my sin. When I realize I’m laying on my back covered in bite marks when any hope I had in myself disappears. That is when my gaze falls on Jesus. When I’m looking at each scab trying to find a way to bandage or disguise it I lose hope. When my focus is on the cross, on my savior my hope is restored. I know I have the snake bites, I can still feel them. I understand how dangerous they are. That’s why I point you and that’s why I need to be pointed to our Savior. It’s so hard to look away from the snakes and the bites.