Snakes in the Camp, [Poison]

6 So the Lord sent them poisonous snakes; they bit the people, and many of the Israelites died.7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we grumbled at you and the Lord. Pray that the Lord will take away these snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.

 8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a bronze snake, and put it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, that person will live.”9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Then when a snake bit anyone, that person looked at the bronze snake and lived.

Numbers 21:6-9, NCV

Mass poisonings are not new. The children of Israel were under attack by thousands of snakes. I remember hearing of “Jonestown,” where on November 18, 1978 when 918 people drank “kool-aid”mixed with cyanide. The whole thing was based on Jim Jones‘ delusion and rampant paranoia.

Death on a mass scale is never easy to deal with.  It seems brutal and capricious.  Any survivors are forever tortured with “why me, and could I have known?”  When people start dropping like flies the unspeakable nightmare is just getting started.

There are snakes in the camp of Israel, “fiery serpents” the older versions translate.  The people had severely taken issue with God and Moses because the way was hard.  They accused God of leading them out of Egypt, just so He could whole-scale destroy them.

And this became a self-fulfilling prophecy.  God in response to their bitterness and murmuring unleashed these vicious snakes throughout the camp.  They were quite poisonous, aggressively attacking random people.  Their bites were not only painful, but deadly.

I venture to say that the effects of sin have a terrible tendency (and a purpose) to kill people.  Its infection will work through our “blood stream” and be a certain poison that taints us. Now, if we could actually see the snakes we might just take the presence of sin a bit more seriously.  But our particular viperous horde is seen on a spiritual level.  We aren’t suddenly collapsing, and our sin doesn’t bring us immediate death. (A slow death, which is, maybe harder.)

Like it or not, inside of me there is a savage battlefield.  Grace is healing me, and by faith the poison is being rendered inert.  I admit, there are good days, and not-so-good ones. I can be most unsteady at times.

I read this somewhere, and it seems to explain much.  I think it is more than a “cute” story.  If we should take the time and “unzip it,” the truth will spill out.

“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you.”

The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.”

Snakes and wolves. Oh my.  Read John 3:14 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Look  to Jesus, who was lifted up.  Fix your eyes on Him, and He will save.

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One More Night With the Frogs

Here Come the Frogs!
“You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.”

10 “Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

Exodus 8:9-10, NLT

Often there comes a point in a person’s life that not to make a decision, becomes the decision.

This was the dynamic working in Pharaoh’s mind. God had warned him earlier that he must release the Jews from slavery. But he oscillates, and vacillates after each warning. His stubborn indecisiveness  is pretty remarkable. Pharaoh resists, and becomes more and more obstinate.

There is a deep danger of delay. God sends 10 plagues– quite dramatic and miraculous. But “the supernatural” really can’t touch certain hearts. There were certain pharisees in Jesus’ time that would not believe, no matter what Jesus did. (We call this, “hardness of heart.”)

In this particular ‘show-down’ a plague of frogs is threatened. It’s kind of funny, but Pharaoh doesn’t dispute the possibility of this “green invasion.” He just absorbs the inevitable. Pharaoh replies, “I will take one more night with the frogs.”

Often there comes a point in a person’s life that not to make a decision, becomes the decision.

Sadly to say, there are so many like that man today. “Lord, I’m going to follow You, but let me have just one more fling, one more trip to Vegas, or the bar, or the Princess cruise, or a new car– just “one more night with the frogs!” And the “one more night” stretches out into terrible, endless night, in “the blackness of darkness for ever”!

The Bible says, “So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” (Hebrews 2:3, NLT).

Will you choose to spend another night with the frogs, that is, in your sins? Or will you come to Jesus Christ for salvation today? There are consequences that follow each decision. What will you decide today? Will it be sin or the Savior? Will it be Heaven or Hell? Will it be forgiveness or the frogs? What will you do with the message you have read here today?

Often there comes a point in a person’s life that not to make a decision, becomes the decision.

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Hardly Indispensable: A Leader’s View

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13″ The next day, Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening.

14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he asked, “What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?”

Exodus 18

Often your father-in-law will observe things clearly and honestly. I believe most can perceive situations that our own fathers will overlook. I think this is because our own fathers are often functioning out of their hearts.  They are emotionally attached. But a father-in-law has a different view.

Jethro has come, most likely to escort the grandkids, and his daughter. He is probably quite curious about Moses new direction. Jethro has only known that his son-in-law as a shepherd. But now, things are changing quickly. And Jethro is praising God for what He did over the Egyptians.

Jethro is enthusiastic. But he is also alert and aware. As Moses schedules his day, Jethro sees an inordinate amount of time given to judging, not leading. He watches and than asks some questions. This is the sign of good correction. Moses faces these questions really well. He is a great model for teachability.

Leadership is almost always a shared work.

Many aspects of it should be collaborative and plural. The singular view of leading people– out of my own resources alone, will not end well. Moses was teachable and Jethro needed to share this word of correction. If Moses had not took the wise advice of Jethro, they would’ve died in the desert.

When Moses released these things to others who were qualified, he commences on a new understanding of ministry. He actually becomes a better man because of the advice of Jethro. He must become “expendable.”

24 “Moses listened to his father-in-law’s advice and followed his suggestions. 25 He chose capable men from all over Israel and appointed them as leaders over the people. He put them in charge of groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.26 These men were always available to solve the people’s common disputes. They brought the major cases to Moses, but they took care of the smaller matters themselves.”

None are ever indispensable and no one can do everything. We may try, but that usually is ego. We will do better if we will relinquish control. I think that the Father designs it this way.

Dwight L. Moody once said that he would rather put a thousand men to work than do the work of a thousand men.  I believe that is a Kingdom concept that we should activate.

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