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Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Numbers 21 : 1-20

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent [of bronze] and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten will live when he looks at it.”
Numbers 21:8 (Amplified)

Today’s reading in Numbers 21 teaches us of God’s provision in the wilderness journey for His people. In John 3: 14-15 Jesus draws a parallel with this incident and explains it as a foreshadow of God’s provision for a world lost in sin, through His only Son, Jesus Christ.


Following the refusal of the Edomites for Israel to pass through Edom to the Promised Land of Canaan, they had to take a long and hard detour around Edom (Numbers 20).  Instead of looking to God their Deliverer and Provider during the rough patches of the wilderness journey, the people grew impatient and rebelled against God.

 


Sin

The Israelites spoke against God and against the authority of Moses. They despised the manna from heaven (Numbers 21:5-6). In doing so, they rebelled and sinned against the Almighty Lord. Similarly, through Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the perfect world that God had created. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

 


Consequence

The sin of the Israelites resulted in judgment from the Lord. God sent venomous snakes among them that bit the people, and many died (Numbers 21:6). For all mankind, the consequence of sin is death and eternal separation from God (Romans 5:12 & Romans 6:23).

 


Solution

When the people cried out in repentance, God asked Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole, that all who looked at it may live (Numbers 21:7-9). The bronze serpent represented the judgment of God on the sin the people committed.


In John 3:14-15 Jesus used the analogy of the bronze serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness to portray Himself as the only way for salvation and eternal life with God. God’s love for His creation is so deep and indescribable that despite our sin and enmity with God, He made the provision for our salvation. He gave His perfect Son Jesus Christ to take on the punishment for our sin and be crucified. The sinless, spotless Lamb of God paid the ransom for our sins with His own precious blood (1 Peter 1:19).

 


Requirement

The only requirement for the Israelites dying from snake bites in the wilderness was to look at the bronze serpent in faith. Similarity, for each one of us today to be saved, the only condition that needs to be fulfilled is that we look up to Jesus Christ in faith. Christ’s finished work on the Cross is the grace of God freely available to all who believe (Ephesians 2:8). Even before we were born into this sinful and chaotic this world, Christ died for each one of us. The only requisite for us to be justified and saved is to receive Him by faith (Romans 5:1).

 


Result

When the Israelites looked at the lifted-up bronze serpent, they were healed and lived. For all who look up to the risen Saviour, Jesus Christ we are made right with God and have the promise of eternal life with Him. “…whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)


Just as those who looked up at the bronze serpent were saved, let us in faith look to the risen Saviour that we may be saved from the penalty of sin. Then let us continue to run the race set before us, with eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
 


To Heed:

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!

For I am God, and there is no other.”

-Isaiah 45:22

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