Numbers 21:8-9 (ESV)
8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
The last time you were traveling down the road and a sign read, “Detour Ahead,” did you say, “Wonderful! I love detours”? I am sure you didn’t react that way and neither did the Israelites in the account recorded in Numbers chapter 21. Their already long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan was about to get longer. As a result, they impatiently grumbled against God.
God dealt with the people by sending venomous snakes among them. The snakes bit and many people died. The Israelites went to Moses and said, “We sinned. Pray that God will take the snakes away.” So Moses prayed and God instructed him to make a bronze snake, put it up on a pole, and tell the people that anyone bitten could look at that bronze snake and live.
Imagine how they might have wanted to react to God’s instruction. “What? How is looking at a bronze snake going to help us?” But that was the point. This wasn’t a lesson in logic or on how to properly treat a snakebite; this was a lesson in trust. The Lord promised to save the people from death when they trusted his word and looked at the snake he commanded Moses to display. And true to his word, when those bitten looked at the bronze snake, God saved them from death. He rescued the people from the judgment of death that they deserved for their sins.
The wages of sin is death for all of us. But God comes to rescue us. However, instead of directing our sinful hearts to a snake on a pole, God directs our hearts to a Savior on the cross. Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15). Jesus rescued us from the sting of sin and the fear of death, when he took our sin to the cross and paid for it in full by his death.
Are you feeling down today? Then look up to Jesus and his great love for you on the cross! Tired of life and its detours? Find rest in Jesus! Wounded by sin? Find healing in his wounds! Look to Jesus. He is your Savior from sin and death.
Dear Lord, helps us to lift our eyes and heart to trust in You and Your great love for us. Help us to not get lost in the detours of life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.