April 15th 2009

Look To Jesus And Live

“They travelled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea to go around Edom.  But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  There is no bread!  There is no water!  And we detest this miserable food!’

Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.  The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you.  Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.’  So Moses prayed for the people.

The LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’  So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole.  Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.”
Numbers 21:4-9 (NIV)

This startling account tells us of how the Israelites behaved afte they were delivered from Egypt.  Always complaining.  Just like they were before, in fact.  Impatient, irritable, annoyed, demanding, backward looking, ungrateful, never satisfied.  Sound familiar?

The message was quite simple.  Our venomous attitudes lead to destruction.  If you look at the bronze serpent, you will get healed should a snake bite you.  So it was useful to have the bronze serpent around.  Later in their history the Israelites called this bronze serpent “Nehushtan” and worshipped it as a god (II Kings 18:4).  They turned the gift of God into idolatry.

Jesus uses this story to explain that, just like the bronze serpent was lifted up that the Israelites may be healed, so He will be raised so that we can live.  “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”  (John 3:14-15)

Again the message is clear.  Look to Jesus and live.

Father in Heaven, thank you for the examples in the Bible that inform us about salvation. Thank you for Jesus and help me to look continually to Him.

Study by James Henderson

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