John 3:14 "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:"
When the Israelites were brought out of slavery in Egypt they were excited. Just like a good old time revival meeting there was some shouting going on. One day they were slaves and held hostage and the next they were free men and woman to leave. No doubt they were singing and rejoicing as they were walking farther and farther from the Egyptians. Things seemed to go good until they ran into problems. They ran into the Red Sea, and what did they do? They complained. After God delivered them from the Red Sea they sang and rejoiced because God delivered. They got hungry, and what did they do? They complained that Moses brought them out into the desert to die. God delivered them again and they rejoiced. This last event is recorded in Numbers 21, and what did God do?
Numbers 21:6 "And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died."
I tell you, I am glad that I am living under grace and not the law. The Israelites complained that they had neither bread nor water and the LORD sent deadly serpents which killed many people. In verse 7 we find that the people realized that they sinned against God and went to Moses and asked him to pray to God to take the serpents away.
Numbers 21:8,9 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."
When I think of this story in the Old Testament two things quickly come to mind.
1) The serpent has bitten sinners. Sinner, sin bitten you; and according the Bible you are dead in trespass and sin, but God sent down His Son to earth to pay the penalty of your sin (Rom 6:23). Just like the Israelites had to look up to the serpent on the poll for their lives to be saved, the sinner needs to look to Jesus and ask forgiveness of their sins. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
2) The serpent has bitten Christians. As we go through life it is easy to look around and see how good God has been to everyone else but us. God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, but as soon as an obstacle crossed their path, they questioned God and Moses. Don’t start questioning God and His methods. God calls us to be separate from the world, so do not question God and be separate from the world. You should be different in a way that brings attention to God and not yourself. This one always gets me in trouble, God says “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe”; so do not question God and try and replace preaching in your pulpit with modern ideas and worldly music. We seem to question God when things do not seem to work out, just like the Israelites. God had to send serpents to get their attention; do you need to get bit for God to get your attention?
A worker once said in speaking to children, "Children, are there any snakes in Kansas?" "Yes, yes!" "What kind? Any striped snakes?" "Yes." "Adders?" "Yes." "Copperheads?" "Yes." "Now, suppose you had a nest of snakes in the cellar, what would you do with them?" "Kill them, kill them," the children answered. "But would you let them grow up to be large snakes?" "No." "What then?" "Kill them while they are small." "Pointed Illustrations."Then the worker said, "Well, children, some of you, I am afraid, have snakes in your bosoms. Did any of you ever disobey your parents?" "Yes." "No." "Yes." "Ah! there's a snake there! Did any of you ever tell a lie?" "No." "Yes." "No." "Yes." "There's a snake there, too. Now, children, I want you to kill these snakes, destroy them while they are small. Tear them out of your hearts. Let Jesus save you and destroy the snakes." William Moses Tidwell, "Pointed Illustrations."
2 Cor. 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
It is no accident that the devil is associated with the serpent.
By: Matt Souza