Before they entered the Promised Land, the Israelis encountered many difficulties, so they complained to God. As a result, God sent venomous snakes among the Israelis, and many of them died. If one does not know the character of God, he/she may think that God is punishing His people. In fact, the venomous snake had always been in the wilderness. The Israelis were attacked by those snakes because God removed His protecting hands from His people due to their complaints and defiance.
God’s people prayed to Him, asking Him to change His mind. God responded to their prayer, and gave only one instruction: look at the bronze snake on the pole. Those who believe can be cured. However, there are those who do not believe, and, unfortunately, they lost their lives.
The work of God is mysterious and wondrous. Looking at a bronze snake after bitten by a venomous snake? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier for the Israelis to “believe” if God asked them to make anti-snakebite serum? Many people cannot believe that grace can come from God for nothing, so they cannot accept the saying, “believe in Jesus, and you shall get eternal life.”
Believing in Jesus isn’t about analyzing but about accepting. Only when you accept can you have a relationship with God and to know His works. If you do not accept and be baptized, you are not registered to the school of Jesus Christ. God is too great for our human intellect to understand. We can only receive God’s blessings when we accept and believe Him. Festus and King Agrippa knew that Jesus has resurrected, but they still didn’t believe in God’s salvation.
Paul knew Jesus had come to the world, was crucified for our sins, he resurrected, and will give the life to us. Hence, Paul suffered many hardship for the name of Jesus, because Jews did not believe in Jesus. Similarly, we may also be oppressed in our families or workplaces because of our faith in Jesus.
Christians set boundaries for themselves; they do certain things but not others. They are separated from other people so they can have a hard time fitting in. Christians feel uncomfortable upon hearing dirty jokes, and they pray before every meal. God give everything a limit. There are ranges to the color people can see and the sound people can hear. So there should also be a restriction on the content of our conversation. Many people refuse to convert to Christianity because of the limitations; there are already too many rules in the world, they do not want more regulations. Rules seems binding us at the first glance, but they are actually good for us. Rules are a display of God’s love toward us; they cured the Israelis of the venomous snake bite.
God’s commands are recorded, in detail, in the Old Testament. It is because God didn’t want people to sin. People tend to forget all about the rules and make mistakes when they are happy, because there is the dark force of Satan who stops people from knowing God with all His power. He never sleep or rest; He is very diligent in tempting people. We should be more active than our enemy! Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. It is like those people who still do not bring umbrella with them even though the weather forecast says it is going to rain. Paul acted, because he believed.
If Christians truly believe, they wouldn’t be filled with anxiety. If people lose their peace when facing difficulties, it proves that they do not have enough faith. When we truly believe, we would know that even the strongest storm can be ceased. Festus wanted to please the Jews and protect Paul at the same time. He was anxious because he did not believe in God and because he did not know to count on God.
With faith, there should be actions. The first act of faith is to serve God. God gives us the opportunity to serve Him now. It is never too late. Once you serve, you will be rewarded. Many people want to ask God to do things for them through their prayers, and yet God do His works via people. So, we should pray as well as act. We should influence others through our lives.