Numbers 21:8-9, “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.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
The book of Hebrews opens up with God’s supreme revelation, and throughout the book it establishes that Jesus and His message is above the prophets, angels, priests etc. It begins with “1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; “, Hebrews 11:1-2. There were some signs either through dreams, acts, audible voices that were for a time and a season. They addressed specific things in history however they were not rolled out by the Lord as normative for us to look to. God has spoken to us consistently by His sufficient trusted word. Jesus said as recorded in Hebrews 10:7, “… ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’”
As already mentioned, there are things that were consistent based on His promises and then there are things rarely out of the ordinary for a time, a season God did for a people to communicate, strengthen or provide. We constantly wrestle through the word to determine if what we see was for a certain people group, for certain time and for a season or a regukar pattern. We need to learn by the word if it’s a promise or a principle because there are things which were not repeated or guaranteed promises. The bible has some things described but that does not mean prescribed.
God in His anger in Numbers 21 sent a fiery serpent unto the children of Israel because they had spoken against Him and His servant Moses. They had complained of lack of food and water, and even the food God had provided, manna they considered worthless. Having been judged, the Lord sent fiery serpent as an act of judgment and they bit the people and many of them died. It is at their point of repentance that, “8… 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.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”, Numbers 21:8-9. This was a spectacular miracle, a picture of Christ dying on the cross. Jesus alludes to it in John 3:13-15. It was for a time, for a season with significance not to be repeated. Of course the memory was to stay but for what reason worship or remembrance?
In 2Kings 2:18, the brazen serpent had been carefully preserved, as a memorial of God’s goodness to their fathers in the wilderness. That was the way it should have been but then Hezekiah destroyed it because what was to be a memorial had been turned into an idol people worshiped, 2Kings 18:4. What was a means had been turned into an object of worship. It was considered more precious than the giver. It was idle and wicked to burn incense to it. While in our time we may not be doing exactly as they did, I see many people take God’s means and turn them into idols. For example, I have had dreams about certain things and I am convinced it was of the Lord to stir me up but I cannot make the dreams the norm by which the Lord would press something into my heart. His word is sufficient, that is where I turn. If He chooses to strength something by a sign or wonder, my focus is not to shift to those things. I run into people who when God used a means to do something in their lives, that became their focus. They expect the Lord to do it the same way or else. I know of even people who want to hear “thus says the Lord” but not from the scripture but by a word of knowledge, a new revelation, close your mind and tap into the divine etc. to learn what the will of God is for their lives. Remember in these last days God has spoken to us by His Son. If you want to hear God speak, read the word. If you want to hear him audibly, read the word out loud.
All helps to devotion, not warranted by the word of God, interrupt the exercise of faith; they always lead to superstition and other dangerous evils. Human nature perverts everything of this kind, this is why we thank God for His preserved word to keep us in line. True faith needs not such aids to build its confidence apart from the word. It is not looking to and for God’s means as normative, it is turning to the word of God, daily thought upon and prayed over, is all the outward help we need. Blessings Ev