Numbers 21:4–9; Psalm 107:1–3, 17–22; Ephesians 2:1–10; John 3:14–21
One of the biggest dangers of constant blessings is that we often disdain them. We become so accustomed to them that we become blind to them. Even worse, we then grow to despise them.
The Israelites were in the middle of the desert. They were being sustained by the hand of God. Instead of looking at the blessing and the miracle that they were experiencing. they instead wanted to go back to slavery. The rejection of the blessing and the rejection of protection.
The interplay between the Israelites, Moses, and God is interesting. The consequence? Poisonous snakes. The response? We were wrong. The directive? Make a snake statue. The result? Get bit, look at the snake, and live. However, if the Israelites were really sorry, would the snakes have remained?
One could argue that the snakes were an ongoing consequence. However, as the snakes were a consequence of bad behavior, it also can be concluded that the Israelite really didn’t have a change of heart, but a desire to avoid the consequences. Yes, it is a stretch assumption from the Scriptures, but it certainly isn’t in regard to human behavior.
Paul’s notes such about how all of us followed the ways of destruction before coming to Jesus, and that all those who do not yet know Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior still have that tendancy (i.e., spirit). We all are better than we were (just being aware puts us in a slightly better position), but we all have struggles and issues that we are dealing with as we strive to be more like Jesus.
The biggest struggle though for Western Christians are the blessings that they despise. One of the biggest has been Christianity. This applies both with those who despised Christianity by doing ill in its name, and for those who took Christianity for granted and did not put the effort in to pass on the faith (or care to learn it). In addition, there has become the human arrogance of blessing where people begin to assume it’s God’s blessing on their ways, rather than God’s blessings so as to be shared with others.
The blessings then become cursed, which is certainly not what God wanted it to be for us. We became sucked into the world’s desire for more and more blessing. That pursuit of blessing becomes death-dealing.
The promise of life, and not just a worldly life, has always been part of the pull to follow God. Paul emphasizes that salvation and new life cannot be earned. Only God can grant it. Only God can gift it.
Worldly life, such as the the bronze serpant represented, still ends in death. It is the life found in the cross lifted up that is everlasting.
- Can you, have you, counted your blessings?
- Have you ever taken any of your blessings for granted?
- Have you ever looked at a blessing and thought it was actually a curse?
Lord, help us to remember your blessings and the life you have given us. Amen.