Today’s reading: Numbers 21:1-22:20 (additional reading Psalm 57:1-11 and Proverbs 11:9-11)
Key Verse: “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ Numbers 21:8
I’m not sure about you, but even as I am reading these first books of the Bible, I am getting fed up of listing to the Israelites complaining. In today’s reading, the Israelites had once again grown impatient with God and with Moses. They again were complaining that God brought them out of Egypt to die in the desert without bread and water.
This time God sends poisonous snakes into their camps and many were bitten and consequently died. Snakes, do you like them? Not many people do. I don’t for sure. The people came once again to Moses and said they had sinned so Moses once more prays on their behalf.
God’s response to Moses here is quite interesting. The easiest thing for God to do was to take the snakes away. But instead, He told Moses to build a bronze snake and put it on a pole and then whenever an Israelite was bitten, if they looked upon the bronze snake they would not die. Why do you think God just did not take the snakes away or at least stop them biting?
I guess we all have our own snakes biting our ankles, don’t we? We all have things which we have done, that have stopped us looking to God and brought problems into our lives. God allowed the snakes to remain to remind Israelites the seriousness of their actions and to save them from doing the same things again.
What snakes are biting you today? Maybe it’s your debt, an addiction, a mistake, or an illness. Whatever that snake is, we think it would be so much easier on us for God to remove that snake? But you see, it’s really about what God wants to be done with that snake, not what we want to be done. God is not punishing us over and over again for our sins and making us live a painful existence. It about God making sure we don’t go into that place of disobedience again.
So after a snake bit an Israelite, all they had to have the faith to look up, look up not so much to a bronze snake on a pole, but to look up to God. God was saying to them to forget worrying about the snake biting your ankle, you can’t do anything about that, but look up, look to Me, and I will deliver you. Temptations and struggles are a part of this fallen life, but we can always look to Jesus for delivers.
So whichever snakes are biting your ankles, remember to stop looking down at them, and instead, turn your eyes upward to God for the relief and deliverance that He is willing to give.
- What snakes do you have in your life?
- How can you fix your eyes on God in spite of your problems?
- How does John 3:14-18 apply to today’s reading and our salvation?
Father, Thank You for saving us despite our foolish actions and grumbling. Thank You that we can fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Help us to keep our focus on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen