Look & Live – Carolyn Wood’s Devotional – July 10, 2021
LOOK AND LIVE – 1888
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it shall live. Numbers 21:8.
This hymn was written by William Ogden, who also wrote the words to “Where He Leads, I’ll Follow” and the music to the popular gospel song, “Bring Them In.”
William was born in Ohio in 1841. He had an inborn love for music, but the Civil War interrupted his studies, and he spent four years serving in the 30th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. After the war, he continued his pursuit of music, studying under Lowel Mason. William went on to become a personable and popular schoolteacher and a featured leader at music conventions. In 1887, he became supervisor for music in the Toledo public schools, a position he retained until his death ten years later.
This hymn was based on the remarkable incident recorded in Numbers 21, when Moses crafted a bronze serpent and raised it among the Israelites. Because of their sin, an infestation of poisonous snakes had left many of them dying, but all who looked at the serpent on the pole lived. Jesus later used the incident as an illustration of His work on the Cross. This strange analogy paved the way for the most famous verse in the Bible—John 3:16:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son Of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-16)
William Ogden wrote a number of other hymns, many of which have been forgotten with the passing of time. As I surveyed his songs, one stood out in particular, for I remember singing it often as I grew up attending church in Northwest Florida. It’s unusual in that In the chorus, the melody is in the bass line. And, of course, it could not be sung without the echo!
Seeking the lost, yes, kindly entreating / Wanderers on the mountain astray;
“Come unto Me,” His message repeating, ‘ Words of the Master speaking today.
Going afar (going afar) ‘ Upon the mountain (upon the mountain)
Bringing the wanderer back again (back again), ‘ Into the fold (into the fold)
Of my Redeemer (of my Redeemer) ‘ Jesus the Lamb for sinners was slain, for sinner’s slain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVRPfNdAhog
Trust is a golden pathway to heaven. This song, “Come Unto Me” speaks of finding the wanderer and bringing them close to Jesus. In order to do that we ourselves must work constantly to stay close to Jesus. When we walk on the path, we live above our circumstances. God’s glorious Light shines more brightly on those who follow this path of Life. Let’s dare to walk on the high road with Him, for it is the most direct route to heaven. The low road is circuitous, twisting and turning to agonizing knots. There the air hangs heavy—dark, ominous clouds predominate. Relying on your own understanding will weigh you down. Trust in God absolutely, and He will make your path straight.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
During the past few weeks of recovery from major spine surgery, I have found the need to do just this! Sometimes the difficulties we face and the personal challenges that pop up along the way push us in every way imaginable. The peace of mind that comes with knowing God is near and that He never gives up on us, is the difference between surviving and giving up on ourselves. Thank you Eternal Father for creating the trust between you and me!
Grace, Peace and Joy to you as you listen!
Kate Ayomide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPh2sLdn1Iw
The Michael Fletcher Chorale Look and Live – Michael Fletcher – YouTube