"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Make a snake image and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover.' So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered."
Time for some calisthenics. Stand up. (Seriously, get out of your chair!). Tuck your chin to your chest and jump as high as you can, keeping your chin there. Now, lift your head up, pick a point on a wall or something a couple feet above your head and jump again.
As a former collegiate long jumper and pole vaulter, my coaches were always telling me to get my head up on my take off. "When you hit that board, look up," they would tell me over and over again. Now, let's go back to our little experiment. . . Which position allowed you to jump higher? Of course, as athletes we know that you can jump higher when your focus is up and not down. It's an idea that helped me when I was an athlete, and now, as a coach, I get a lot of enjoyment out of sharing this with my student-athletes and seeing it help them succeed at something at which they had been previously failing.
In today's Scripture passage, the Israelites had been struggling. Here they were, wandering around in the desert, and then they start having poisonous snakes biting and killing them. Enter God. He provided them a solution, but notice that He didn't take the snakes away. God didn't get rid of the rest of their problems altogether, but what He did was to provide them with an opportunity to change their focus. The Israelites had two choices: 1) Look down at the snakes and die, or 2) Look up at God's solution and live.
God doesn't promise to take all of our problems and sin away, but He does offer us the opportunity to change our focus. Today, we have the same choice: look down at the struggles and sin in our lives or look up at God's solution, the cross, and live. John 3:14-15 says, "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life."
1. As athletes and coaches we are going to fail. We're going to lose at some point. How do you rebound from failure?
2. In your sport, do you find yourself focusing on your previous failures or the tasks in front of you?
3. Where's your focus when it comes to life's struggles and sin? Are you focusing on the things from your past, or are you looking to the cross where God won your salvation?