This morning I continued in my reading of the book of Numbers with chapter 21. This is a very familiar story to me and one that I recently discussed with the kids during their history. We are studying Ancient History and following along with the bible, so we get a lesson in bible as well.
If you remember in the last chapter, the people were complaining about not having water, God provided water and they were satisfied. Well, at the same time, Israel was unable to travel through Edom because the Edomites refused to let them travel through their land. Thus the people of Israel were led by a different route by the Red Sea to go around Edom. It wasn’t long before the whole congregation of Israel was complaining against God and Moses. (They can’t blame Aaron any longer,.)
God sent fiery serpents into their camp and the serpents bit them and they died. So many died that the people of Israel went to Moses and actually admitted that they were wrong and that they had sinned. They asked Moses to intercede on their behalf and ask God to deliver them from the serpents. I don’t know about you, but Moses has been through this so many times before, I have to wonder if he felt at all like they deserved it. But then I remember that Moses was a very humble man and he probably didn’t feel that way at all. So, Moses went to the Lord and asked Him to deliver the people from the snakes.
God told Moses to make a fiery serpent out of bronze and place it on a standard. He told Moses to hold it up and whenever someone was bitten by a serpent, they were to look upon the bronze serpent on the standard and they would be saved.
Pause for a second and let that sink in.
Okay, that is such a powerful picture of what Christ did for us on the cross at Calvary. He was held up on the cross, and if we but look to Him and believe in Him, we will be saved.
God in His majesty, saved the Israelites with this symbol that points to the cross and they were able to move on from that place.
After this Israel is challenged by king Sihon of the Amorites, and king Og of Bashan. God delivers a great victory for Israel and they settle in the land of the Amorites. God tells them not to be afraid. And they listen to Him this time. I think the lesson with the bronze serpent on the standard really sunk in. They did as God told them and did not waver.
Reading through the old testament has provided me with a clearer picture of my walk with God. I can point fingers and say they were stubborn, but, am I so different? When I complain, am I not behaving the same way toward God? Yes, I am.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for forgiveness for my stubbornness and the complaints that I lay against You. I am amazed by Your grace and mercy in my life and I know that all things come from You. Help me not to be afraid when I am called into battle, for You are with me. Thank You Lord. Amen.