|Volume 21 Number 7 July 2019||
“And God spoke these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me’” (Exodus 20:1-3). The creation account in Genesis states very plainly that “in the beginning, God”! From that point, He created all things. He made everything that was made. It was a beautiful view: sun, moon, stars—the very universe in which He would soon place man.
Mankind, then, could look upon the beauty of God’s total creation. Man has been looking farther and farther into the universe ever since. Man, which God created, was deceived by Satan into believing that he—man—could be as wise as God, knowing good and evil. This was a great lie that led to more trouble than man could imagine.
Mankind fell deeper and deeper into the mire created by his own disobedience of God’s first command—“thou shalt not.” This led man into a spiral that eventually placed the children of Israel under bondage and slavery in Egypt. Even so, God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from that vile servitude. God, however, found it necessary to remind them just who He is. He was the one and only God. In His work of creation, there is no record of God creating other gods to compete with Him for supremacy in the whole of the universe. From where would the idea of “other gods” come? The answer is very simple. Other gods were the figment and the creation of the evil mind of man himself. They were the gods of money, lust, greed, selfishness and the desire to do things his own way.
God says, “Oh no, no, no. It is I who have made you, and brought you through all of your toils, trials, tribulations and even the thoughts of your own evil mind.” He says you shall not bow yourself down to obey and to worship any image made of wood, gold, silver, stone, precious gems or any other such like.
God promised that if we obey and worship Him and Him alone, we shall prosper and go in and out in peace all the days of our lives and even into the eternal life hereafter. The Bible warns us that there is a place for the disobedient and unbelieving. It is the lake of fire that burns forever and is never quenched. God is pleading with you to shun the false gods that cannot bring you peace, love, consolation and rest eternal in the arms of the one and only God—your Creator and Sustainer.
[Editor’s Note: God made man, and man made false gods to correspond to desires and to actions forbidden by our Creator-God. Throughout history, these false gods have manifested themselves in carved stone and wood, molten metals, the love of money, lust and manmade religions (world religions and derivations of Christianity, too). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Looking at the Snake
Ernest S. Underwood
I admit it; I don’t like snakes. I realize that there some people who have snakes as pets. I tend to look at them with a critical eye, thinking that they may be a little crazy. I don’t visit with them in their home. I pretty much subscribe to the old adage that the only good snake is a dead snake.
There is an interesting and rather frightening incident about snakes in the Book of Numbers. The people of Israel were in the wilderness, and, as usual, they were murmuring and complaining against Moses. They cried, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in this wilderness?” (Numbers 21:5 NKJV). The very next verse states, “So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.”
The Book of Hebrews tell us that “It is appointed for man to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). I know that I must one day die, but please, don’t let me die by snake bite. There are a few cobras in our general area here in India. The last time I was here, the students killed a couple of them. At least, they told me that they were cobras. Behead me, shoot me, let me die in my sleep or in some terrible crash of some kind, but not by being bitten by a venomous (fiery) snake!
As the people began to die, the cry went up to Moses, “We have sinned…pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us” (Numbers 21:7). Here, we see in these people the old story of man wanting to tell God how to “fix” the problem they are experiencing. Notice their words, “Remove the serpents.” This reminds us of Naaman who wanted a cure for his leprosy, and he wanted it to be done his way. His “indeed, I said to myself…” (2 Kings 5:11) has about the same sound and attitude of the Israelites and their “remove the serpents.”
The Lord had a different way, a way that would cure the snakebite, but that would put the responsibility of the cure for snakebite on the individual who had been bitten. Read with me, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live’” (Numbers 21:8). We learn in verse nine that Moses made the thing, put it up on a pole, and when one was bitten and then looked upon the brass serpent on the pole, he lived. Let us ask some questions and make some observations.
Neither is he told to “go wash in the Jordan” seven times. This person is told to hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of sins, confess one’s faith in Jesus Christ and be baptized (immersed in water) for the remission of sins. Having done these things, then, he is commanded to be faithful to the Lord Whom he has confessed and into Whom he has been baptized. When one accomplishes these things from the heart, it may scripturally be stated that he has “looked upon the snake” in that he has obeyed the commands of God as did those who looked upon the one in the wilderness. Those Israelites were cured, and the obedient today will have forgiveness of sins.
Jesus stated, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-15). Will you look upon Him and obey His commands for the salvation that you need, and that you earnestly desire?