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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Look unto Me – 7 December 2016, Anno Domini (Pearl Harbor Day
. . . . there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 LOOK UNTO ME, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (Isaiah 45:21-22)
Here is a prophetic utterance pointing directly to our Lord Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is about Christ, but there are chapters and verses not couched in veiled references, but are direct allusions to our Lord as the Word.
This particular verse is so abundantly based in Holy Scripture – both Old and New Testament – as to be graven in the minds and hearts of those who know and love the Lord. We have one account in the Church of the Wilderness wherein the Children of Israel sinned and brought the wrath of God upon their unbowed heads. 4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (Num 21:4-6)
The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and the sponsor of sin is the Devil. He is the old serpent of the Garden, and the Great Red Dragon of Revelations 12. His bite, as Adam learned, is deadly. There is only one remedy and that is what God promised and, in the fullness of time, provided. Of course, once dead, there is no more remission of sin, so the remedy must be applied BEFORE we close our eyes in this life. The same was true of the children of Israel who were bitten by the fiery serpents. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. (Num 21:7) Forgiveness and absolution of sin is always available on appeal and repentance before the Lord; however, sin leaves scars. We may strike another out of inordinate anger breaking his nose. Later, we may repent and seek forgiveness of the offended party and of God. If we sincerely repent, we will be forgiven, yet the broken nose remains. This was true of those who murmured against the Lord. Fiery serpents were sent into their midst. Now they ask that the serpents be taken away; however, they were not – but God offers a remedy that mitigates the penalty of the serpents.
8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. (Num 21:8-9) Unbeknownst to the children of Israel, this brazen serpent (2 Kings 18:4) that Moses affixed to the pole was a foreshadow of the remedy for sin made available in Christ. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15) Though they suffered much pain when bitten by the serpent, the Children of Israel would not die if they simply looked upon the brazen serpent. They could do nothing more than simply LOOK! 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:31-32)
Jesus says All men shall be drawn to me. Yes, indeed, all are drawn to Christ – willing or unwilling, in judgment or in salvation. We pay a price in our bodies and lives by living in sin and suffering its misery; but we may live if we LOOK in faith to Christ crucified! The women, John, the redeemed thief on the cross, and the Centurion looked unto Christ in believing faith and were saved, but these are not the only ones who were drawn to Golgotha that day. The ridiculing and scoffing Scribes and Pharisees were there, too, but to their own condemnation.
God asks us only to LOOK and know Him. Behold what He has done for you and me on that rugged old Cross at Calvary. If we LOOK upon Christ and realize all that He has done on our behalf, we are drawn to Him by faith and belief. We cannot help it. But if our stony hearts have blinded our dimly lit eyes, we will not look upon Him in faith but is faithless damnation.
Let us examine this “Looking unto Christ.” To look upon the Lord takes the smallest of efforts. We are not called to remove mountains, or to even walk a few feet; but simply we are told to LOOK! To LOOK upon Christ requires no gnostic knowledge or any sophistication of education. The illiterate, the literate; the rich, the poor; the paralyzed, the whole; the mere child, and the aged adult can at least LOOK. How simple is that? But many prefer not to look. It is not that they do not believe that Christ is Lord, but rather that they do, indeed, know Him to be Lord. If they acknowledge His crucified body, they will know that their own sins placed Him there on the cross. Admitting to the sovereignty of Christ requires a great change of heart. This change they do not desire. The would prefer to hold on to that old self, or free, will instead of accepting His Will for their lives. They believe that they will be giving up too much to follow Christ. Little do they know that they are forsaking all in failing to follow Him. There are no true atheists – all know there to be a Creator God, but the mere mention of His name to some is the worst offense they can bear. So they do all in their power to expunge His name from every public forum. Just this morning, I heard a fellow interviewed on the morning news who claims to be an atheist. His ministry is to convince people not to go to church this Christmas. He claims we can celebrate all of the trimmings of Christmas without acknowledging its Namesake! How ridiculous can he be!
Look! But where? We no longer see the ancient old brow of Golgotha brooding in the silent dusk of our solitude. The cross has been taken down along with the Body of our Lord. We can no longer look upon the scarred Body of our Lord for He was buried. We can no longer see the physical countenance of our Lord walking just outside the Tomb in the Garden of the early morning dews. So where do we LOOK? We look to all of these as related in the Word of God. We look, not only on the crucified Lord there, but the Risen and Ascended Lord. He is every whit as real today as He has ever been – and He has ever been!
We may not vividly see the nail prints in His Hands, the stripes on His bare back, the bloodstreams cascading down His brow and cheeks from the crown of thorns, or the terrible gash in His side made by the Centurion’s spear. But we should remember them since it was all of us who put them there. After all His patient ministry, His humility in suffering, and His joy at the surrender of His Spirit unto His Father – He nevertheless looks upon us with compassion and kindly regard. How could He? He could do so because He is God, and He is LOVE, and He was Willing to do so for the sake of our eternal souls!
LOOK! But where? In the Word. Look diligently to learn of Him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30) “Learn of HIM!” How much do you wish to learn of Christ? Enough to at least spare minutes a day in prayer – morning, noon, and night; enough to spend quiet hours in the day in deep study of the Word which He died to make complete for you? May none reading this devotion ever hear these words from Christ: 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:37-44)
REMINDER: The command to search is not a passive suggestion. If we love the Lord, we will study deeply to know Him better.