Today’s Reading: Numbers 21:4-9
“And the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned’” – Numbers 21:7
In Numbers 21, confession had to be coaxed out of God’s people by a hoard of fiery serpents. Their history would reveal not a confession of sins to God but a litany of grumbling against God. They complained about food, water, living conditions, Moses, and more.
As the grumbling went on and on, it was then that God sent fiery snakes among them. When they felt the pain and witnessed the death caused by their grumbling, they were led to confess, “We have sinned.”
The snakes were what we refer to as God’s “foreign” work. God’s “proper” work was showing steadfast love, forgiveness, and mercy through His crucified and risen Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was foreshadowed by the bronze serpent on the pole. Look to it and live!
God’s “foreign” work is only done for the sake of His “proper” work. The fiery snake of the law that wounds us with the sting of guilt and death is indeed God’s work. However, as we know and believe that it is necessary and good for us because it leads us to Christ. So we confess, “We have sinned.” In fact as Luther suggests, we would be willing to run one hundred miles to confess. Why? We know God’s gracious and loving response, “Christ died for you! Look to Him and live!”
Prayer: Lord, I confess my sins and mourn their wretched bands; A contrite heart is sure to find forgiveness at Your hands. (Your Table I Approach, LSB 628:2).
This devotion was written by Rev. David Rempfer, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Blairstown, IA.