Last night I was reminded of a funny story. When Snack (the small dog in the picture) was about a year old, we went to the lake with my parents. He and Deni both went … as well as my brother’s kids. Deni was older and crabby and the kids knew to stay away from her … but Snack was a cuter, more puppiesh looking dog and they wanted to play with him constantly. When they would run past him he would bark … it would scare them … he would get into trouble. Not them for running everywhere … but him for barking. (that’s another story entirely)
It got bad enough that we decided we needed to help him not bark. On our next trip into town we bought him a shock collar. We came back to the barge and fastened it securely around his neck, not really knowing what to expect. Before we could really even prepare, one of the kids ran past … he started to bark … but just the gurgle in his throat set the thing off. He let out a squeal and shot across the floor. My husband immediately looked at me and said, “Take it off.” I couldn’t get it off of him fast enough. When we took it back to the store the cashier said, “You couldn’t do it could you?” We just shook our heads no, and walked away.
This may not fit together completely … but in my head it does … so here we go.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is from Numbers 21. It’s short … only 4 verses … but those 4 verses say a lot. The Israelites have gotten impatient. They’re tired of what they’re eating, they’re tired of walking, they’re tired of everything at this point and they start to complain and blame God. God sends venemous snakes to bite them and some of them die. The others run to Moses and begin to apologize (nothing like snake bites to straighten you up a little). They ask Moses to pray to have the snakes taken away.
Instead God has Moses make a bronze snake on a pole. Anyone that was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and live.
The Israelites messed up … realized it … confessed … asked for the snakes to go away. God heard them. He didn’t take away the snakes, but He provided a way of rescue for them. They still had to live with the consequences of their sin, but they no longer had to die for it … if they were willing … they coudld choose life.
Hmmm … that sounds a lot like what He did for us … except it wasn’t through a bronze snake … it was through Jesus.