Numbers 21:4-9, vs. “8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
The story of the Israelites gives an account of how the Lord brought them out of the land of Egypt. There are times they trusted God, and then moved from trust to murmuring and complaining. Always comparing their current situation to the old. I don’t think of any people God performed miracles in their midst like the Israelites. The miracles God performed for them were not small miracles. If anything, the big miracles should have boosted their faith to believe God even for greater things, but as we know, it only did for a short time before they forgot and went back to murmuring and complaining. It’s interesting to note that whatever they asked of God, God provided. One instant appears in Numbers 21 where the Canaanite’s fought against Israel taking some of them as prisoners. Having been oppressed, Israel made a vow to destroy their cities if God delivered them in their hands to which God hearkened to their prayers and they utterly destroyed the Canaanites.
As they journeyed, once again the people became discouraged, spoke against Moses and God over no water, no food even though they had food. The once upon a time treasured food they now referred to as worthless food. God Almighty had provided, had worked miracles, and had gone before them by night as a pillar of fire and by day as a cloud of wind. What else would God do for them? From the beginning they spoke against Moses but as time went by, they moved from just speaking against Moses but also against God. Vs. “6 So the LORD sent fiery serpents (venomous snakes) among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died”. They may have faced some challenges on the way but not challenges that took away life. I’m yet to come across where they sat down to thank God for everything He had done for them.
I was wondering why serpents, it was as if God was saying, “If you think your situation is bad, I can make it worse, I’m in control of everything“, the fiery serpents bit the Israelites and they died in great numbers. So what happens, vs. “7 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“, (NIV). In looking at the way God treated the Israelites, I will say they were like little brats. Anything they wanted and asked for, God provided but watch this, this time when they admitted they had sinned against both God and Moses, they asked Moses to pray that God takes away the snakes from them.
Vs. 8 “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” This is a clean indication of God sending the Israelites back to basics of faith. In Egypt for 400 years they believed God would send a deliverer. That was the faith they had and stood on. There was no clear indication of God coming through for them but they held on. The things God did later for them did not boost their faith and I can imagine the Lord taking them back to the days of humble beginning. The message from the Lord to Moses was simple, the situation would not change (the snakes would continue to bite and kill), however the Lord made a way of escape through a bronze made serpent hanging on a pole. Anyone bit would recover if they looked on upon it. Simple faith, God taking the foolish thing, something that is humbling and using it to humble a stubborn people.
Like the Israelites, we may not complain and murmur audibly but our actions speaks it clearly. Our eyes are so closed to what God has done that is why we complain about what we have even calling it worthless and getting discouraged on the way because we want things our way. You can point to the days the Lord did exactly what you asked of Him, what happens when He changes the way He answers your prayers? When will we learn that God owes us nothing, as a matter of fact, we owe it all to Him. He has blessed us in spite of, we complain and murmur but He is patient with us. We speak against those that lead us like Moses but God is gracious, slow to anger. May the Lord help us. To continue. Blessings Ev