Words of Life

The Humbling Humiliation of the Sacrificial Servant

Numbers 21:

  • There are many short events in this chapter, but vs. 4-9 always catch my attention. Because of the persistent complaining of the Israelites. (vs. 5) the LORD sends poisonous snakes that kill the people. (vs. 6) The Israelites repent (vs. 7) and the LORD gives Moses a way of healing. (vs. 8-9) This way of healing is demonstrative faith. I’ve read scholars estimate as many as 2.5 million people being a part of the exodus and wandering. The city that I live in is around 34,000. If I were bitten and filled with poison, where would this bronze serpent be? How quickly could I get there? Do I believe it would heal? Would people in my community help me get there? God made a simple and free way of healing for the rebellious Israelites. The hurdle is trust. Will they believe enough to get to the serpent and look and be healed?
  • This is the story that Jesus referenced to Nicodemus in John 3:14-15. This is what faith looks like! We have been rebellious complainers. Sin is the context in which we exist. The cross is the remedy. Will we trust enough to get to the cross and look and be healed/saved?
    • Jesus, I want my life to demonstrate a faith that is repenting of my rebellion; a belief that makes a way for the cross; a trust that risks reputation and comfort for the greater blessing, the glory of God and the good of the community!

 

Isaiah 19 & 20:

  • God desires to bless Israel (19:24), but also other nations. (19:25) It seems that at least a part of His plan includes responding to His people’s request for God’s mercy. (19:20&22b) Isaiah was willing to go to great lengths to communicate God’s warnings and desire to bless. In 20:2-3 he walks naked for 3 years, publicly shamed and humiliated (20:4-5) in order to warn them of coming danger.
    • LORD, will my love for You and my neighbor be great enough to suffer humiliation in order to declare Your mercy? Make me strong enough for this.

 

Daniel 1:

  • What’s amazing to me is not so much the stand that Daniel and his friends take, but that they take any stand at all after suffering the violence at the hands of the Babylonians! Surface allegiance to the LORD has not seemed to “pay off” so far for them. What motivation would there be for risk-taking obedience now?
    • LORD, help me to learn that obedience is not so much for the quick, temporal “pay off,” but because it is right and You are due the honor. In Your timing we will reap the harvest of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)

 

Philippians 2:

  • There seem to be a million gems to comment on in this chapter. For today I will comment on the character of a servant. A servant does not consider his rights or what he is due. A servant does not work according to his credentials, qualifications or position. (vs. 6b) Rather, he takes on the task with humility (vs. 8), treating others as more deserving. (vs. 3)
    • If Jesus is by nature God (vs. 6a) and stooped to a level of nothingness, how much more should I empty myself (vs. 7) of what little I have in order to obey for the good of others and the glory of the Lord!

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