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.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:8-9
The constant grumbling and sinning of the Israelites, despite God’s provisions, result in snakes prowling around…biting…killing. Imagine the terror with each strike as the poison makes its way through the bodies. Families, desperate for a way to keep loved ones alive, cry out to Moses to seek God on their behalf to remove the serpents.
The news quickly spreads that Moses is up to something. At God’s direction, he constructs a bronze snake and places it atop a wooden pole. Look to the pole, they say, to the snake on the top. Looking up will keep those bitten from death.
God doesn’t remove the dangerous serpents, but He does provide a way for the Israelites to live despite being bitten. They are to look to the wooden pole.
It is another foreshadowing of Jesus. Hundreds of years after this exchange, Jesus will hang on a wooden pole shedding blood for our grumblings and sins. When we are bitten by the temptation of sin – by the lure of the serpent, Satan – we can look up at Jesus on the cross.
When we look up to Jesus, we too can live, despite the poisonous bites of sin in our lives. Healing comes from the cross.
Questions: Where do you often look when you are bitten by temptation and sin? Do you immediately look up to the cross – to Jesus – and ask for forgiveness?
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