Ok, I want everyone to close their eyes for just a second (How can I read with my eyes closed?). Just do as I say…So, imagine snakes were coming after you. Not just one snake. Imagine many snakes coming after you. Scary? Now, imagine these snakes were on fire. Scary now?
Lastly, imagine these snakes were sent by God to come after you. Now, I’m scared! The reality is that this happened.
Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. (Numbers 21:6 ESV)
Well that’s gloomy. You see, the people of Israel were complaining about Moses’ leadership as he led them around the land of Edom. They complained about the food and the water. Moses was leading them as God was leading him. God obviously did not appreciate his people’s lack of confidence.
How many times have you complained about something you have enough of?
I definitely complain about things that I have enough of. Just this past Tuesday I was talking with someone about fast food restaurants and how bad one of them is.
Hypothetical: If I was knocking on starvation’s door and this restaurant’s burger was the one thing keeping me alive, I would eat it. So, it can’t be that bad.
Just like the people of Israel, we complain about things we know will be provided. I thank God that He doesn’t send fiery snakes to bite me though!
So, after these snakes bit the people, they began to die. Moses prayed for them, and God gave Moses a specific command:
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.”
Moses did just that. He made a bronze statue in the shape of a fiery serpent and set it on a pole for people to see. When they looked upon this bronze statue, the people who had been bitten and were dying from poison would live.
The statue was a symbol of salvation. How symbolic of a story: humans bitten by snake with venom, humans suffering from the consequences, and God providing salvation.
Our symbol of salvation is not a fiery, bronze snake. Our symbol is none other than Jesus Christ. Sin courses through our veins and we reap the consequences of this torment. Praise God that He allowed his son to take the sin off our shoulders.
How often do you look to our symbol of salvation?