The Bronze Serpent

Numbers 21:4-9 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. 

What if you became very ill and  the disease that you get is life threatening if not treated right away.  To make matters worse, you are the sole cause of yourself getting the disease.  No one give it to you, you simple didn’t follow instructions to not touch a certain thing or not go to a particular place.  How about you were following a guide through a strange land that you have never been and know nothing about the terrain.  The guide simple says to you, sit when I tell you to, eat what I give you and stay on the path that I’m walking.  That last situation seems and little bit better as it would soon produce distrust, faithlessness, impatience, discontentment, anger and maybe even arrogance.  After awhile you may find yourself questioning the guide and his knowledge as well as his authority.  You will get tried of eating what you gives you and resting when he says rest; even though he does so for your survival.  We wouldn’t see it that way at all.  So, our arrogance, impatience, distrust will lead to us getting sick because we sat in the wrong spot, ate the wrong thing or whatever.  The very dependence on someone else who is doing handling things the way we see fit would make us impatient.  The person leading us or helping us has now become the person blocking us from happiness, joy, love, success, peace and our goals.  Now their every action or inaction is a personal attack on our well-being.
And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”
The people became frustrated with God and Moses for leading them into the wilderness and out of Egypt and away from food and water.  They became discontent with what God was providing for them in the meantime.  Their impatience signaled that something was going on in their hearts.  They romanticized their horrible lives as slaves in Egypt where they had control over their miserable existence to a certain degree.  Now, they are at the complete mercy of God and his instrument Moses.  They began to long for Egypt because of the discontentment of the body. It is in midst of anxiety and discontentmentcovetousness, and idolatry do we question the choices and the desire to follow where God leads.  In our questioning, we ask ourselves “was it really that bad?”  and the good times out shine the nights of tears and days of pain.  We began to romanticizing about what we were delivered from and we describe the former life in an idealized, glamorized and unrealistic fashion; making it better than it really was.  This breeds more discontent with how God is leading our lives.
Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” 
Eventually, what we have white washed kills us.  Our sinful past that now we see as not that bad but also as a better alternative to having God as Lord over our lives.  Our discontentment leads to discipline, our faith in ourselves finally bear fruit that is too bitter for us to eat and the burden taken from us by God is given back.  We are crashed by our whining and lustful desires.  When we make discussion from a place of disillusion we commit suicide.  From our disillusion our love of “me” increase and our love for God decreases.  But the reality of God’s holy requirement and of life, snaps us out of the self induced trace was us to numb the pain of not being in control.  Our discontentment and impatience is like an impeachment brought to God’s throne.  It speaks against a righteous and good God, calling his will insufficient for our feeble desires.    We become Satan the serpent himself as we bring charge against God in our hearts.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
John 3:14-15 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
So how does God remedy our sickness?  How does God call a people unto himself for the glory of His name sake?  By presenting grace, mercy and faith in away that can’t be faked.  God has made known the seriousness of the sin sickness by showing that it leads to death.  He presents his grace with something external for an internal problem.  The great physician does not inject a serum into the body to do the work but places the cure outside of the body, giving no obvious signs of how the medicine gets to the heart of the sickness.  Imagine people are dying everywhere from a snake bit and you are looking for Moses to make a anti venom from the snake and then give it to people to drink.  We are expecting to have to actually do something to help cure ourselves.  People are saying, “Ok, tell me what I have to do?!?”  God takes what has afflicted them, what is killing them, what is striking terror in them, what they are running from and made it their cure.  God takes it and lifts it up and simple asks the people to just look at the bronze serpent because when they look to it, they will live.  Jesus Christ became sin for us, Christ became all the things that brings charge against God the Father, Christ became all the discontentment, lust, greed, covetousness, idolatry, and impatience for us.  Jesus Christ says that all who look to him, the bronze serpent lifted up on Calvary’s cross will live because by grace through faith they believed.  We all ask what must I do, looking for a work to do but God offers us grace and faith.
Every time we put our hopes and dreams on the backs of creates things like talented kids, careers, relationships, money, status, leaders and other objects; we essentially erect a golden calf.  We do it because we feel like God isn’t moving fast enough or that he has forgotten us in the wilderness.  Truth but told, we abounded God the moment we start planning our own salvation. Jesus is the personification of mercy, of love and of grace.  Jesus is all the things we need, all the things think we don’t need and all the things we think we have to earn.  To say how can focusing on grace[Christ] produce life and good works is liking saying being released from chains causes you to want to put them back on.  What person who is dying of thirst, rejects water and refuses to find more?  Only those who’s stomachs have never touched their backs for the starvation of grace can think the beauty of the cross lacks transforming power.  In the wilderness and look on the bronze serpent on the pole in faith produced life where there was death.  That same faith in Christ brings us from death to newness of life. If you have been given to the Son by the Father; you are His.
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