The Bronze Serpent

If we are not careful, we may allow our circumstances to rule us. Such was the case in Numbers 21 when Israel journeyed through the wilderness. In the midst of God's provision, the people grumbled against Him and scorned the very elements that were keeping them alive.

Num 21:5  And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

The result... fiery serpents amongst the people. Snakes were everywhere, and they were of the biting variety. Not only did the bites hurt, but they caused death. Israel knew it was a plague brought about by their own sin, so they confessed to Moses and asked him to intercede on their behalf. Moses did, but the snakes did not just vanish. God's instruction was strange.

Num 21:8  And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”

This - was the cure. No, the snakes did not go away. Nor did they stop biting. But God set up a WAY by which the people could live, if they would. Look upon the serpent!

To fast forward, Jesus spoke of the incident to Nicodemus.

Joh 3:14-15  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,  (15)  that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

It's the mechanics of the cure that are so incredibly fantastic. Sin is what bites us all, and it is of our own doing. In His great power and sovereignty, God could have simply removed it, or perhaps de-fanged it, but as in the wilderness He did not. He made a WAY for us to live - if we will. It involves taking our problem (snakes, or sin) and placing it on display for all to see. Instead of a pole, it was a cross. Paul wrote in Corinthians that the One who knew no sin became sin for us - and was lifted up for any and all to see - and Live. IF WE WILL.