Covenant Connections Series Lent 4-The Son of Man…Lifted Up-March 18, 2012:
Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:17-22; John 3:14-21
In the book of Numbers we find and interesting story of the people of God becoming impatient as they journeyed in the wilderness. There is a questioning of God’s purposes and then complaints about his provisions. Do we sometimes grow impatient with God questioning his purposes or complaining about his provisions? The Lord did not allow the grumblings to continue but rather punished the people’s disobedience. For he is a holy God. When the people began to understand their sin against God they begged for mercy, and the Lord being loving as well, made another provision in the bronze snake fashioned on a pole that those who would look at it would live.
This scripture points to the fact that often in this journey of life we grow impatient with God, or want to understand all that he is doing. It doing so we begin to set ourselves up as an authority or judge questioning God, and worse we begin to complain about provisions. One of the provisions that was not mentioned was protection. The community was protected from the animals, and when that provision was no longer in place they understood how much they were truly dependent on God.
In Psalm 107 it makes mention of their rebellious ways, and the suffering that can come from rebellion. Most often we sow the seeds of our own destruction and make is worse by blaming God and setting ourselves up in opposition to him rather than trusting him and turning to him during uncertain times. The Lord is compassionate and when they turned to him he sent forth his word to heal and rescue. Recognizing their rescue produced praise and thanksgiving. The significance is the sending for the word of God brought healing and salvation. These passages in Numbers and Psalms foreshadow the still rebellious and desperate need of the people and the provision of God for healing and salvation through his word.
John begins his gospel with helping us to understand that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14) and is the Word come from the Father. In John 3:14-15 Jesus makes reference back to the provision of God with the snake lifted up on the pole to bring healing and restoration to the people and to draw people to trust in God. Christ make the comparison that in rebellion from God, that God himself would make a way, a provision, for healing and salvation provided in the Son of Man, being lifted up.
In life there may be a temptation to trust only ourselves and what we can accomplish, not praising God for daily bread, or life but rather complaining and questioning. In doing so, it show love for darkness rather than light. The light and salvation of the world was the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) being lifted up for our healing and salvation. Trust the provision of God for healing and salvation which is his Son Jesus, and give thanks to him for his grace and mercy.