Here is a warning for all of us that are going through a lockdown in our homes.  There is a snake that is in our lives which often goes disguised and unnoticed, yet it has a bite that has the potential to kill us. Reading the story in Numbers 21:4 – 9, we find an interesting picture of how God sent snakes as part of his judgment on the hearts of the ungrateful people. Snakes in a desert are well disguised, blending into their surroundings and showing up unexpectedly.   Their bites are characterized as being highly venomous and it is a long… slow… painful death!

Self Pity is just such a snake!  It creeps up into our character without notice – a little bit of self pity here, a little complaining there.

We often don’t notice an unthankful heart growing inside of us and once bitten our faith, hope and trust starts to die a slow and painful death.  It dies slowly because we are so busy feeling sorry for ourselves that we forget to look at God and what He has done for us; we fail to see His provision in our lives.

As self pity grows in us, it robs us of our hope, which is the ability to look beyond my circumstances to the promises of God has given me.  Complaining is often just a symptom of that self-pity bite, that slowly settles down in our character and grows an unthankful heart attitude.

feeling sorry for yourself and your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possible have copySelf pity demonstrates an ungrateful heart for God’s current provision in our lives.  Now in Numbers, when God judged their complaining hearts he sent poisonous snakes and many died, but in reality these people were living in circumstances where they were surrounded by venomous snakes  in a hot and dry desert.  All this time, God had protected them from snakes, now that protection was removed to judge their un-thankful hearts.  We also live in a world of venomous snakes, where we are given the choice each day to engage in self pity or not.

When the people realised that they were surrounded by snakes and being bitten, what did they do?  They felt sorry for themselves and complained about the snakes to Moses and Aaron.  God’s remedy was a bronze snake pole, a way to escape the results of a snake bite (feeling sorry for themselves) and their circumstances (the desert full of snakes).  You see, the people had a choice about the way they looked at their lives, they could look to the snake pole, or they could die.  We also have a choice about feeling sorry for ourselves, or trusting Jesus.

Thanks-vs-self-pity-God always provides a way out of our circumstances, he never allows the tests you face to be greater that the grace and power, He gives you to handle them.

1 Cor 10:13 (Today’s English Version) “God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm, at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it and so provide you with a way out.”

When the people looked at the bronze snake pole after a snake had bitten them; it provided the way for the Israelites to escape death and be instantly healed. There is more to this Bronze Snake Pole than meets the eye.  It was a prophetic message, let us compare Num 21:7-9 to John 3:14,15

Israelites (Num 21:7-9)

Christians (John 3:14,15)

Bitten by snake.

Bitten by sin

Little initial pain, then intense suffering.

Little initial pain, then suffering.

Physical death from snakes poison.

Spiritual death from sin’s poison.

Bronze snake lifted up in the desert.

Jesus  lifted up on the cross.

Looking to bronze snake spared life.

Looking to Jesus saves from eternal death.

God provided the bronze snake in the desert to provide a way of survival from a snake bite (sin, self pity and an ungrateful heart) and to survive living in a desert filled with snakes (their circumstances and our world).  He provided all they would need to survive.  His provision was complete.

Instead of complaining about our lives and our circumstances, we need to recognise God’s provision in the desert and practice thankfulness. 

We look up to the cross as our source of hope, peace, wisdom, strength and courage. Keeping our eyes focused on Jesus, enables us to remember the power that is in Christ, power to heal us in all our daily circumstances, just as the Bronze snake had the power to heal.

helenkellerselfpity“.. let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Heb 12:1-3

By focusing our lives on Christ and practicing thankfulness we are enabled to survive our circumstances.

Don’t allow self pity to crawl into your life and heart.  This snake does not recognise God’s provision in all of life’s circumstances.

Father help me to focus my life on You everyday. Help me to start each day remembering your provision and goodness to me.  Help me to recognise the snake of self pity when it crawls into my life and starts to poison my heart.  I know that each day I choose the attitude I will live by and I declare that I have a thankful heart and will not engage in feeling sorry for myself.  In Jesus Name.

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