Okay, so you’re not going to believe tonight’s story. But from what the kids tell me, it’s completely true. As I may have mentioned during the last week, Andrew, Stacy and the kids were taking their vacation time out in Oklahoma to visit Jill, her husband Tom, and their son, Drew. They have been exploring caves, riding four wheelers, watching Drew at his T-ball games and enjoying the pool that Jill and Tom have in their back yard. I guess everybody has had a pretty good time.
As you already know, Jill and Drew travel out here quite a bit. They have already visited several times this year to help Kristin during the divorce. In fact, they have stayed with Kristin and the boys. But the last time that anyone was out to Oklahoma was when Andrew and his family took their last family vacation last year. It is amazing to me how time flies.
Anyway, as I understand it, everyone was tired and sitting in chairs and sofas in Jill’s living room – Andrew asleep on a love seat and Jill on a sofa getting reading to recline and take it easy. She stuck her hand down the side of the cushion to pull the lever that releases the footrest when she thought she ran her finger over a staple in the frame of the sofa. So she pulled her hand out, tried it again and was bitten by some creature – it turned out to be a snake! Now as hard as this is to believe, it was a 3′ bull snake. Now I don’t know much about snakes, but any size snake is too big for me. And how this thing got in the house and curled up under the cushion of the sofa is beyond my comprehension.
But that’s not the end of it – of course, Andrew woke up when Jill screamed and eventually a neighbor came over to help Tom get the snake out of the house. From what I understand, the mother snake, more than 6′ long, was outside the door trying to get in. So much for living in Oklahoma – not that it was my favorite destination before, but it’s definitely off the list of potential places to live – for good…. If that wasn’t enough, I understand that when one of Andrew’s kids went in to take a bath, there was a scorpion in the tub.
Andrew and his family returned home today. I spoke with Jill by phone and she said that since the incident, nobody has dared to sit on the sofa where she was bit by the snake. Frankly, I don’t blame them – I think it’s a little creepy…..
Of course, this reminds me of a Bible story. The scene is the desert after the exodus from Egypt and the people were complaining about the manna (the daily food that God provided the Jewish people) and how there was nothing else to eat. God, in his dominion, decided that He had heard enough and sent venomous snakes throughout the desert. These snakes bit the people – who, of course, had no place to run or hide. After all, they were in the desert with nowhere to go to protect themselves from the poisonous creatures. People were screaming and begged Moses to intercede with God. Moses did just that; and God instructed him to place a bronze snake at the top of his staff – which Moses did. And then Moses instructed the people that whoever looked up at the bronze snake would not perish – but live.
The entire story of Moses and the snakes is found in Numbers 21:6-9, “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, he lived.”
Interestingly, Christ Himself refers to this event in the Bible in the book of John, right before the most famous verse in the entire Scripture. In John 3:14-15, Jesus tells us, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Hopefully, you can see the parallel in these two verses. In the desert, anybody who looked up would be saved, and the fact that Jesus died on the cross so that everyone can be saved.
One very important thing to remember is that the Scripture never tells us that we won’t get bit in life. But if and when we do, we can look up and be saved. Too many times, I have run across people who think that because they are good people, or Christians, they will never experience problems again. That’s just not scriptural. God doesn’t promise us that – but He does promise that if we look up, and put our faith in Christ, we will live – in fact, forever… eternally with Him.
My encouragement this evening is to let you know that God wants you to look up and trust Him with your life. Because down here, just like in the desert, there isn’t any place to hide. Our hope and our salvation is in looking up. My prayer is that you will realize that there is only one answer, and it’s free to everyone. And please remember that God doesn’t say you’ll never get bit – the snakes are everywhere. Just ask Jill – grace and peace…