Devotion for March 13-15, 2018

“Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” Numbers 21:8
It’s amazing how quickly people get used to the wonderful things that happen to us. I once read about an experiment where researchers dropped $100 into several random mailboxes at regular intervals. The first time it happened, the people were so thankful. They rejoiced at the extra money. The second time it happened, they got excited, too. After a while, however, they began to expect it as if it were owed to them. When the researchers stopped giving them the money, many of the people got angry.

God’s people did the same thing while Moses was leading them through the wilderness. God had protected them from danger. He had provided them with food and water as they wandered. He gave them manna every day. Every day, they woke up to food that appeared right before them. Could you imagine how great that might be. I have to work hard for the food that I eat. They got it free every day.

But after a while, they started to complain. Ugh! I’m so tired of all this free food that just appears right in front of me. They said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

We, too, can get used to the blessings that God gives us. Every Sunday, God provides for us the most amazing food in history: Christ’s body and blood in the bread and the wine of the Lord’s Supper. This food sustains our bodies and souls to eternal life, giving us assurance of life in Christ. How amazing is this wonderful gift!

But we get used to everything. When I was younger, I attended a church that had communion twice a month. One day, we had a big crowd for the service on a communion Sunday, I remember someone saying something like this, “Oh no. It’s a communion Sunday. This is going to take forever.” That’s better, though, than those who are so bored with God’s grace and love that they skip worship services altogether. It’s amazing how fast we get used to, even despise, the wonderful gifts of God.

But God’s gifts are always there for us. When God sent venomous snakes to bite his people, he forgave them. He instructed Moses to build a bronze serpent and hang it on a pole. Everyone who looked on the serpent, and believed, was healed. When we are ungrateful, we can turn to a savior who was hung on a cross. He always forgives, always heals, when we turn to him in repentance. When we look on him and believe, he heals us to eternal life.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You offered yourself as a sacrifice for us, so that all who look to you may live forever. Cause us to gratefully turn to you for forgiveness and healing, that we may receive the life that you offer. Through you who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen