ODJ: gateway to grace

February 2, 2015 

READ: Numbers 21:4-9 

“We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people (v.7).

When my oldest daughter was very young, it was always difficult to get her to admit when she had done something wrong. She was skillfully evasive and seemed to have a knack for explaining away a bad situation. Her indiscretions were usually very minor—she was essentially a ‘good girl’. But her habit of never admitting her mistakes was a source of concern to us.

One day, she decided—without permission—to play with her Mum’s diamond engagement ring . . . and promptly lost it! The enormity of her ‘crime’ overwhelmed her, and she ran to my wife and literally begged for forgiveness. She then offered her Mum all the money she possessed (less than one thousandth of the value of the ring) and said she would do anything to try to make up for the loss.

The response from my wife was an immediate warm embrace, the wiping away of my daughter’s tears and the experiencing of great joy in that her daughter had been so honest and contrite. The ring simply didn’t matter as much.

The people of Israel were a contentious and hard-hearted bunch. They moaned about God and Moses all the time (Numbers 21:5). Finally, God sent serpents to strike them (v.6). The people became aware of their wrong behaviour and threw themselves on the mercy of God. They knew that only He could save them (v.7). But if they were doomed, they understood that they deserved it! They were finally contrite and willing to repent of their wrong ways.

That’s the gateway to grace. Only when we admit that we’re helpless and hopeless, deserving of the wrath of a holy God, are we ready to receive salvation in Jesus. He lavishes His grace on people whose hearts are truly broken before Him. —Russell Fralick

365-day plan› Exodus 3:1-22

Read John 3:14-16 and consider how the bronze serpent pointed to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. 
How have you experienced Jesus’ saving grace? Why is it important for us to confess our sins to God? 
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