Week 38 Keep Your Eyes On Him

Keep Your Eyes on Him!

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell

Week 38

Scripture Reading: Numbers 21-24

Key Scripture Reading: Numbers 21:8 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’”

God’s people were complaining again, displaying their impatience, and asking God why he had to take them out of Egypt to a place where there was no bread or water and they had this miserable food to eat. Now mind you, he has delivered them from their bondage and mistreatment under Egyptian rule—oh how fast they forget how he has rescued them and provided for them!

When they keep sinning against God, he sends venomous snakes and they start getting bitten. They finally beg Moses to ask God for deliverance from this plague. And that’s when he tells Moses to erect the bronze snake on a pole as a sign to the people that if they would have faith and believe in God, they would be healed. When bitten by a snake, all they had to do was to look at the bronze snake and they would be healed. And, alas, many were healed from their snake bites.

Many times in the New Testament Jesus healed individuals and said to them that it was because of their faith that they were healed. And that’s what happens here—the bronze snake has no real power except that the people are told to look at it to be healed of their snake bites. Because of the power of their belief in what they were told, they were healed. The real power is the empowerment of God’s healing power by demonstrating their faith.

The NIV, Life Application Bible commentary says that the bronze snake represents Jesus on the cross and if we look to him, we too will be healed. It’s a powerful message. Jesus suffered and bled on the cross, dying as a sin sacrifice for us. If we look to the cross and believe in the healing of his love and our forgiveness, our reconciliation with God the Father, we live—just as Jesus lives.

John 3:16’s message: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever should believe in him, should have everlasting life”—hmm—sounds a lot like looking to the snake out of faith, believing in God’s healing powers, and living on.

Look to the cross. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Believe in His love and forgiveness. Believe in his healing powers. Trust and live!

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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