Thursday, March 19, 2015

Weekend Devotion 3.20.15

Snakebit.  He's been "snakebit."  We've been "snakebit."  It's not a positive phrase (and yes, for you grammarians out there I realize it should be "bitten by a snake").  It is usually a phrase that is associated with a negative or series of negatives in life.

For all the joy in life, the demise of another team not-my-own is always particularly fun.  As a life-long Astros fan, my team's been snakebit.  After a rise to the top and outstanding performance of almost a decade, the wheels began to fall off.  Owner wants to sell the team.  Fire sale of eligible free agents, many of whom almost achieved a World Series championship with the Astros.  And then, the sale which had a clause that the Astros go to the American League - almost baseball.  Gulp.  New vision from the new owner and we have three years of consecutive 100-loss seasons.  THAT is snakebit.

Yet there is hope and now the snakebites move north of Houston to Arlington and the Texas Rangers, who managed somehow to:  lose former president and managing partner of the Rangers Nolan Ryan (who had a large role in building a championship franchise); lose a major hitter in Nelson Cruz to the steroid bug; lose pitchers and players to higher bidding teams; and this season see the star second baseman that rarely has played out again because he slept wrong on his shoulder that had surgery; and finally, now see star pitcher Yu Darvish leave in need of Tommy John surgery.  The snakebit baton has been passed.  To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, "The torch has been passed to a new generation of snakebit."

In reading Numbers 21, we see a generation of Israelites, freed from captivity out of Egypt, wandering with Moses and not very happy about their conditions.  They'd rather be back in slavery, they said to Moses, because at least we ate well.  At least they knew their lot and did not have to put up with such conditions (living on the move, eating the bad food God provided).  God heard their outcry and responded by sending venomous snakes to eliminate the wicked.  Many died as they were bitten. More than a symbolic gesture of growing weary of complaining, the death caused the Israelites to turn to Moses and seek forgiveness.  God instructed Moses to place a fiery image of a snake on a pole and have those bitten to turn to the bronze serpent.  The site of the serpent would heal them.

The application for us today, beyond our favorite sport franchise, is simple:  We have much to be thankful for, yet we can somehow make a hell of our own lives.  Much like a solid ship navigating through the ocean called life, we somehow manage to forget God is God and wreck our lives on the rocks of a shore we could have seen had we kept our sites ahead and paid attention.  Like the Israelites, we have our image set on a cross for us to see to receive that forgiveness - that of Christ.  Christ tells us in John 3 that as Moses set the fiery serpent up in the wilderness for those wounded, so to the Son of Man will suffer.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

We pray that we look at Christ, who forgives us and heals us from our wounds - our ship-wrecked and snakebit lives - and came to us and died for us to save us.

Hope Men's Ministry

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