Are you ever tempted to stop following Jesus? What can you do when you are tempted to stop following Jesus?
They travelled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 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.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
In yesterday’s Grow Daily we were encouraged to live our lives looking forward and looking back. To look back to what God has done for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and to look forward to the eternal life that’s ours because of Jesus. If we don’t, we’ll substitute that with an unhelpful way of looking forward and back. Notice that the Israelites didn’t look back and remember the great way God had rescued them from Egypt and didn’t look forward to the joys of the Promised Land. As a result, they exaggerated the hardships they were experiencing in the wilderness, where God had provided them with all they needed every step of the way. They then began to view slavery back in Egypt as preferable to the freedoms of the Promised Land that awaited them.
Likewise, for us, if we stop looking forward and back to what Jesus has done and will do for us, we will begin to foolishly think our previous life without him was better. This is just like Israel wanting to return to slavery in Egypt and turn away from the blessings of the Promised Land! How easily this can happen when we experience a few trials and troubles in our life’s journey. But when we do turn away, notice in today’s reading both God’s judgement and mercy that was given to rebellious Israel. This reminds us of the cross of Jesus (John 3:14). Mercy from God is available when any of us rebel against him, if we will look to him for mercy and forgiveness through Jesus.
Let’s keep looking back to what God has done for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and looking forward to the eternal life that’s ours because of Jesus.
Head: Has Jesus’ way of looking forward and looking back now become essential to the way I look at life?
Heart: When my heart is tempted by life’s struggles to turn away to a life without Jesus, what will I say to my heart?
Hands: Which follower of Jesus can I encourage to be see their struggles through the ‘lens’ of Jesus’ way of looking forward and looking back?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess I can be tempted like Israel was and somehow think my life would be better as it was before I knew you. But I realise this is like Israel wanting to return to their slavery in Egypt and away from the freedoms and joys that awaited them. Please enable my heart to remember Jesus and keep looking back to what he has done at the cross and what will be ours in the new creation. Help me to encourage another follower of Jesus to see their struggles this way. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
A song to listen to: Lead Me To The Cross
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Jesus in series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.