Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. – John 3:14
14 And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
Have you ever been out hiking in the woods and had an unfortunate close encounter with a highly venomous snake? Most would be gripped by pain and fear. As soon as possible, you would seek medical attention.
Modern medical science provides the solution for exactly what has happened to you. Antivenoms can prevent or reverse the results of most snakebites and play a crucial role in minimizing mortality and morbidity. If an antivenom were available, would you take it? In almost all cases, the answer would be yes.
About 3500 years ago, the Father provided a cure for physical snakebite that saved countless lives.
While wandering in the wilderness, the people of Israel complained and griped repeatedly.
In Numbers 21, when they whined and grumbled about their boring, humdrum lives wandering around in the wilderness, being forced to eat the same food day after day, manna from heaven. Their strong desire to return to Egypt as slaves
overshadowed their willingness to follow the leadership of Moses and the Father God.
The Father devised a simple plan to end their misery – death. The Father sent poisonous snakes into the camp. Life was no longer boring. Suddenly they had an extreme “serpent problem.” They were terrified! People were bitten, and many succumbed. They thought it was dreadful before; this was far worse than they could’ve ever imagined.
They came to grips with their attitude of disrespecting the Lord God Almighty and His clearly specified plan for their lives. But more importantly, they realized their complaining and griping were sins.
They repented and turned to Moses for help. He prayed to the Father, and the Father told Moses exactly what to do.
He was to make a replica of one of the poisonous snakes and attach it to a pole. It was then to be placed in the middle of the camp. He told the bitten people to look at it if they wanted to live.
7 Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!”
9 So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze serpent and be healed!
The Father graciously provided a cure for poisonous snakebites. No antivenom was involved. Only a bronze replica of one of the reptiles hanging on the pole was needed. All anyone had to do to recover and live was to glance toward the serpent lifted up in the center of the camp. A remedy was provided, but the Father provided only one way to be cured and survive.
Many folks tend to want to do things their own way. But when facing death from poisonous snakes, that would be foolhardy.
What would have happened if they refused to listen and do exactly what the Father had told them? They would have died!
At the time, it defied reason. It made no logical sense to glance at a bronze serpent to recover. But reason was not what was required. Faith was. It was an object lesson that would not be explained or understood for more than 1400 years.
What healed them? Trust in the Father’s only provision for their sin of rebellion and defiance.
REFLECT & PRAY
There are many times in life when we simply have to trust in someone else. We trust doctors to help us get better when we are gravely injured.
Father I recognize that You can provide answers and solutions for every life circumstance. Encourage me to always look to You for direction and guidance. I realized that I was dying from spiritual snakebite. The poison coursed through my heart, and the consequences would have been eternal death. Thank You for providing salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only way to be cured of spiritual snakebite.
The entire human race currently has a severe “serpent problem.” We are suffering from snakebite, spiritual snakebite. It began in the garden when Adam and Eve plunged all of their descendants into sin. It started with their close encounter with the serpent, the evil one. They believed the serpent’s lies and fell into sin. The toxic effect of sin was introduced to the human race. The Father provided only one way to solve this problem.
Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ explained precisely how to be cured from the snakebite of sin and death. Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, but what about John 3:14?
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
In the camp of Israel, the solution to the “serpent problem” was not in killing the serpents, making medicine, pretending they were not there, passing antiserpent laws, or climbing the pole. The answer was looking by faith at the uplifted serpent (Wiersbe).
In the same way that the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, the Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up on a cross. When we look to Him in faith, our spiritual snakebite is healed, our sins are forgiven, and we are given eternal life.
© Dr. H 2022