Friday, August 28, 2015

Repentance: Part 2 - The Deliverance

Michael continues his message by asking: Is repentance a gift or an obligation for us to act?  The answer is found in Numbers 21 which provides an extended metaphor for repentance.  After waking up and conquering the Promised Land, God commanded Israel not to allow the enemy to inhabit the land. If Israel did not drive out the Canaanites, their influence would contaminate God's chosen people. God commanded Israel to repent by obeying and turning their hearts away from the world's influences and toward God. God had led Israel out of the land of Egypt and had sustained them with manna in the wilderness. However, this generation of the children of Israel hardened their hearts against God and against Moses saying, "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?" Israel believed the devil's lies that the comforts of Egypt were better than the comfort of God's provision.  Because they confessed the unthankfulness of their hearts by grumbling and complaining, they walked outside of God's protection and allowed the venomous snakes to attack. When the children of Israel were bitten by the snakes, they cried to Moses for God to deliver them. Moses acted according to God's plan to deliver the children of Israel. He lifted up a bronze snake and set it up on a pole so they could look unto it and live. That bronze serpent on a pole, the Nehushtan (or Nohestan) is the international symbol for the medical and healthcare profession today. 

The people's unbelief brought the venomous snakes into the land. Although God had given them miraculous provisions, they were ungrateful and complained. Their unthankful hearts drove them away from God's hand of protection and many died when they were bitten. When the people acknowledged that they had sinned, this was the starting point of their repentance. They had to have the desire to turn from their sin to receive God's deliverance. Their act of repentance was to turn from looking affectionately for the things of this world and instead, looking affectionately unto God and the power of God's deliverance represented by the bronze snake. Their repentance allowed God to deliver them from the deadly serpents. The purpose of the bronze snake was to make God's deliverance a public spectacle. God does not work in darkness and obscurity. God always works openly and in the light of his manifest glory. In John 3:14, Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the unseen things hidden in darkness that affect us.  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whosoever believeth upon him should not perish. God always provides a way of repentance for redemption of his people. 

Colossians 2:14 “By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

Let’s complete Michael’s study on “repentance” tomorrow.

In Christ, Brian

No comments: