In chapter 21 of Numbers we continue journeying with the Israelites as they progress through the desert and towards the Promised Land. With battles ahead of them – it is pertinent that they start to trust the Lord now – relying on Him (and Him alone) for their provision and sustenance. Instead – we see them complaining.

And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom, and the people became impatient (depressed, much discouraged), because [of the trials] of the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water, and we loathe this light (contemptible, unsubstantial) manna.” – Num 21:4-5 AMP

A few things here about how the people of God are reacting:  They become impatient – they speak out against God and their leadership – they take a posture of fear – they detest what was previously a blessing.

The Israelites quickly forgot the miraculous ways God has taken care of them throughout this entire trip… instead beginning to complain and grumble. (Isn’t that ALWAYS how we get into trouble… it starts with complaining?). The result of their complaining: God lifts His hand of protection and the serpents come in. (Irony?).

Now – the people are facing these serpents due to their own choices… grumbling – complaining – spitting out the Blessing. If anything… they deserve this (and more!). But – the heart of God is revealed quickly once the people repent and Moses (the Deliverer) intercedes on their behalf. They are told to craft a bronze serpent and use it as a focal point for their healing. Any man who was bitten, only need look at the bronze serpent and he will live.

Do you see the big picture of Jesus here?

Jesus would later clue us in to this symbolism in John chapter 3.

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross], In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever!” John 3:14-15 AMP

The Bronze Serpent

Lifted up on a pole – brought healing to those afflicted – only for those who look at it. The word “look
here actually means – “look attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze.” It isn’t describing the guy who casts a quick glance at the bronze serpent and then moves on his own merry way… but instead someone who trusts the Word of the Lord and looks expectantly at it with a steady gaze.

ANY man who was bitten and looks at it will live!

The Son of God

In the same way – Jesus would one day be lifted up on an execution stake – and that act would bring healing to those afflicted by sin and death. It will only be for those who look at it – again, not just a fleeting glance, but a steady gaze of expectation. Not a casual shrug – but a determined commitment.

ANY man who looks at it will live!

Isn’t God good? 🙂

Be Fruitful & Multiply,