Grace From the Start: Day 14 {Dec 8th}

God parted the Red Sea and the Israelite placed one foot in front of the other on dry ground with huge piles of water on either side of them.  When all had traveled through the tunnel of water and reached the other side God did not leave them to fend for themselves in the wilderness.  God began providing them with bread that fell from the sky and quail that showed up each day. 

Yesterday we read about God providing his people with the 10 commandments. The people spent time at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the 10 commandments, where they received the instructions for building the tabernacle (God’s dwelling place), and where they would see the provision of God for about a year. 

The people would then pick up the tabernacle and all they have and travel to the promised land.

God instructed them to go in and look at the land he was about to give them. The spies went in and all but two men became extremely fearful.  In spite of the command from God to go in and take possession of the land they advised the people that they should not even try because the people who lived in this land were to strong and the city too fortified for them to take over.  Because of this the whole generation of people would not enter the promised land, except two.  The only people of this generation allowed to enter the promised land were Joshua and Caleb, the spies who knew that only God could over throw these people for them would enter the promised land. 

Instead of entering into the promise land these people 

Moses thinks once again the he is in charge of things and this happens:

“Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?  And Moses lifted up his hand ans struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly and the congregation drank, and their livestock.  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron ‘Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them. These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.”  {Numbers 20:10-13}

Moses tells the people that he is the one providing the water out of this rock.  He does not give the credit and glory to The Lord.

The people once again find themselves near the Red Sea. 

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 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 bit 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[a] serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. 

This seems like such an odd and difficult task he gives to the Israelite’s. They are being killed by the snakes brought on by their grumbling.  God tells them to look upon the thing that is killing them hanging on a pole.  It seems like an odd thing until we look for Jesus in this story.

What happened on the cross?  Jesus died right?  But what did he bring to the cross with him?  He brought all of our sin.  He brought all of our sin because he had taken all of it on himself.  He had never sinned.  He took all of our sin to the cross so he could put it to death.  We get a picture of this in this story of the Israelite people.

Their grumbling and disobedience has caused the snakes to come upon them. They cry out to God for help. This is the pattern for them and for us as we can see in the Old Testament and in our own lives. 

We disobey. 

We cry out for help. 

God rescues. 

Their sin, in the form of a snake, was at their feet and was killing them. Jesus came and took on our form, he became our sin on the cross.  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  {2 Corinthians 5:21}. 

God instructed the Israelite people to look away from the sin that was killing them at their feet and look to what would come on the cross.  They were to look forward to when God would crucify the one who knew no sin but had taken all of our sin on himself. 

God instructs us to look away from the sin that is killing us.  Stop relying on yourself to save you.  Look back at the cross.  Look at the one who became all of your sin and died in your place. Your will power, your self control, your spiritual disciple is not going to save you.  Just as Moses told the people as they were about to cross the Red Sea ‘watch as the Lord works our your salvation.’ 

John 3:13-18

“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life…..

We get to look back on the cross and see that our salvation is already worked out.  We get to look back on our lives and see the things he has done.  We get to eagerly anticipate what he will do in the future.

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