ODJ: where are you looking?

May 24, 2013 

READ: Numbers 21:4-9 

Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” (v.8).


Saulo was 16 when he drove the getaway car for a robbery that ended in murder. Now 32, Saulo says, “I remember sitting in the county jail, and it really sunk in:‘Wow, I’m not going home,’ and [I] realised what I did. I didn’t want to live. I couldn’t believe what I did.”

Today Saulo leads the chapel’s praise band in prison and is studying to be a minister. He doesn’t think he deserves parole, saying, “We did horrible things. . . . We deprived people of loved ones, of ever seeing them again.” Whether or not Saulo ever again experiences his freedom as a citizen, he has learned to accept the freedom of forgiveness in Jesus.

I haven’t committed murder, but I know the crushing guilt that comes from doing evil. Like Saulo, I can’t believe what I did, and I wonder, How could God ever forgive me? When I bury myself under mounds of remorse, I’ve learned that the first step to digging out is to get over myself. Do I really think that my sin is stronger than God’s grace? Do I suppose that my sin has a higher value than the death of God’s Son?

The second thing I do is focus all my attention on Jesus. He said that “as Moses lifted up the bronze snake . . . so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). The Israelites who had been bitten by the snakes were healed, as long as they looked at the snake (Numbers 21:8-9). They simply had to look. Some may have looked for selfish reasons, some may have had their doubts, but all who looked were healed.

Are you groaning under a load of guilt? Repent and then forget about yourself. Fix your eyes on Jesus.—Mike Wittmer

Read Hebrews 12:1-13 to learn the secret in winning your fight against sin.
Why is focusing on yourself the fastest way to lose your assurance that you’re saved? How might ongoing despair over your sin be a form of pride?