Friday, February 3, 2012

Look at the Bronze Serpent and Live


“Look at the bronze serpent and live” (Numbers 21:9)

We read in the New Testament that our one single cure for sin is Jesus Christ.  He is the remedy to our sinful state.  Jesus Christ is the plan for redemption.  The Father sent him to us in order to redeem us from the curse of sin and death.  God’s judgment has been removed for those who will look to Christ and trust in him.

In the Old Testament we often see the sins of the Israelites so clear that it tends to drive us crazy.  We wonder how God’s people could have been so foolish in the face of God’s faithfulness.  It doesn’t make sense until we examine our own hearts.  As the Israelites made their way away from Egypt they tended to grumble and complain of their circumstances.  Basically they were not happy with God’s plan because they thought they knew better.  In Numbers 21 we read of their grumbling, “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’” (5).  First of all we see their desire to return from freedom back to slavery.  Second, it is amazing to see how sin blinds people.  The Israelites were upset about not having food while complaining about the food they have in their hands.  You can’t say you don’t have food when you have food in your hand.  Not too mention this was bread raining down from heaven.  Maybe it did not taste the best but wouldn’t bread falling from heaven be a clue that the Lord was with them? 

Instantly we see the Lord’s judgment fall upon them as he sends fiery serpents among the people and they bit them.  I’m not sure what this looked like but fiery serpents do not sound as good as bread from heaven.  The result of their sin was judgment and for some it was death that very day.  Some of the Israelites recognized the judgment of the Lord and they repented.  “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’” (7).  They are not only scared but also broken.  They have had their complaining hearts revealed to them, which broke them and brought them to repentance.  Moses goes on to pray for the people (7).  The LORD responds, telling Moses to “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole.”  These seemed to be an odd instruction considering the fear the people had toward snakes.  Moses obeys and makes a fiery serpent out of bronze and sets it on a pole.  As if this event is not mind-blowing enough the LORD then promises that anyone who looks upon the bronze serpent will live.  Those who had not died had a decision to make whether to look and live or stay in their sins not trusting God’s remedy.  There was only one hope, one cure, one remedy. 

The bronze serpent is a clear picture of Christ.  God has provided the way for snake-bitten rebels to be cured from the poison of sins curse.  The remedy for our sins is Christ crucified.  This is the only hope, only cure and only remedy.  Sadly too many people hang onto sin rather than looking to Christ.  Our naturally condition likes the poison but we don’t realize it is killing us.  Repent and believe in Jesus Christ.  Trust him as the cure for your sins.  In his blood is the power to remove all your sins.  As the Israelites were told, “Look at the bronze serpent and live” so we are told, “Look at Jesus Christ and live.”  

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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