One summer, my family traveled to Turner Falls to enjoy a weekend or so of vacation. My siblings and I were bound and determined to swim in every place we could during the trip (I still remember my horrible sunburn) and we eventually found ourselves at one of the ponds that had a waterfall feeding into it. Not being a very good swimmer myself, I inched closer to the waterfall as best I could clinging to rocks and mapping out every step. You can guess what happens next. I, a young, inexperienced swimmer, got overly-confident, slipped and plunged under the water. As soon as I went under the water, so did the hand of my mother and I found myself quickly pulled up to safety. I learned this lesson that day: it's important to pay attention.
In our devotional reading for today (Num. 21:1-9) we read about Israel's whining against God and the punishment they faced as a result. All this time God has protected and delivered them and yet they still complain. As punishment, God sends serpents that end up killing a great number of the people of Israel. It is after this that Israel repents and is told that by looking at a bronze serpent, they will be spared from death.
This account is referenced many years later in the ministry of Jesus (John 3:14-15). While reading about Israel we may be tempted to elevate ourselves over them saying "I would never have done that to God." In truth, we do this very thing to God daily. The sins of Israel are no different than ours are. Thankfully, the God of the Old Testament that saved Israel is the same God that delivers us today. He simply asks that we pay attention.
It was the attention of my mother that kept me from drowning. It was the attention to the bronze serpent that kept Israel from dying. It's our attention to Jesus that determines whether we will enjoy life eternally with Him or eternally away from Him. Are you paying attention? You need to.
Pray for better focus on Jesus. Here's a suggestion on how you can better do that. Tape a reminder of some kind to something you see often (for example, put a paper cross on your bathroom mirror or a note on your dashboard). Use this reminder as a way focus your mind to pay attention to Jesus throughout the day.
The "Five Minutes with God" articles serve as expansions on the daily Bible study book by the same name. To follow along in this study with us, buy your own copy of the book here or pick up a free copy at the Mannford Church of Christ.