The Bronze Snake
4 Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, 5 and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!”
6 So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. 7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” 9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!
Just before this from v1-3 the Canaanite king bullied them and took some of them as prisoners. The people of Israel made a vow to the Lord that if the Lord hand the Canaanite over to them, they will completely destroy their towns. The Lord answered their prayers and gave them victory over the Canaanites.
Just immediately after that, the Israelites grew impatient and complained to Moses and God. This was after a complete victory over the Canaanites. And they complained that there is no food to eat and nothing to drink. And yet God did provide them manna but they complained about it as well.
God taught them a lesson by sending out poisionous snakes to bite and kill some of them. And immediately they turned away from their sin and come back to God. It makes me think that God knows how drastic He needs to be for them to turn around. And once Moses prayed for them, God did not take away the snakes but allowed them to look at the bronze snake and be healed.
1) Do I grow impatient easily when God ask me to go on a longer journey?
2) Do I complain without a good reason?
3) When I get disciplined by God, how do I react? Do I turn back to him? Or do I complain further?
4) Moses was the intercessor in this incident. Today Jesus is interceding for us at God’s right hand. Moses is a Servant of God but Jesus is the Son of God and today the Son is praying for us. How privilege are we to have the Son of God praying and interceding for us?
5) God didn’t take the pain away from them but gave them a way to get healed. God didn’t want them to forget the pain that comes but recognize that God will always be able to provide a solution for them. This reminded me to have a healthy dependency on God and go to him when I have needs instead of complaining.
6) The bronze snake was a foretaste of what Jesus would be doing for us. That He would be raised up on a pole and all who look to Jesus will be healed and made whole.