March 4, 2017. Numbers 21-22.
Today’s reading is almost like an educational trip to the zoo. God uses snakes and a donkey in these two chapters as He continues to lead His people through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. The snake bites were the result of more complaining and murmuring. The donkey speaking was the result of the spiritual insensitivity of the rider.
A curious thought in regards to the snake bites is God’s response to the people’s plea for God to do something about the snakes. God did not remove the snakes. He did not even restrain them from biting the people, but what God did was to create a remedy for those bitten. If the people wanted to quit being bit they would have to move on to a different place, away from the snakes.
Sure you can ask for forgiveness of your sins and whatever is causing you pain in your life. But to keep going back to it or allowing it into your life is like remaining near these biting snakes. God will forgive, but why not get away from them instead?
21:7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against Jehovah and against you. Pray to him to take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
(He did not take them away, but offered this remedy instead)
8 Then the Lord told him, “Make a bronze replica of one of these snakes and attach it to the top of a pole; anyone who is bitten shall live if he simply looks at it!”
The donkey perceiving that the angel of the Lord was in route, altered his path even resulting in his rider being injured. The rider’s response was to beat the donkey each time, until finally the conversation took place and the rider’s eyes were open and he saw what the donkey had been seeing.
22:31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the Angel standing in the roadway with drawn sword, and he fell flat on the ground before him.
32 “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the Angel demanded. “I have come to stop you because you are headed for destruction. 33 Three times the donkey saw me and shied away from me; otherwise I would certainly have killed you by now and spared her.”
In both of these stories a clear lesson emerges; sometimes the best thing for you to do when pain is continuously inflicted, or you are thrown from the saddle or fighting to control the direction of your life, is to change direction. Get away. It could just be that God is trying to keep you from being destroyed and He wants to get you to a better place?
What do you keep complaining about? What destruction does God want you to avoid? What do you keep going back to that always ends in pain?