FIERY SERPENTS

"And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” (Numbers 21:5 ESV)

Leslie M John

“And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” (Numbers 21:5 ESV)

Does it suprise that God sent fiery serpents into the congregations of the children of Israel? He did and many would be surprised. He not only sent them into their midst but He also allowed them to bite the children of Israel. After all why God was angry with them.

Usually people complain when they lack some good thing, but here is a case of the children of Israel complaining to God for providing them heavenly food (“manna”) raining from heaven every day except on seventh day. They were asked to gather food on the sixth day for seventh day also.

If anyone gathered more than that the food perished. In spite of all the blessings God gave them, and allowed them to have food without any struggle to procure it, they complained to God that they had good food in Egypt. They quickly forgot that they were slaved in Egypt and served Pharaoh, by making bricks, and to make such bricks they had to gather straw themselves.

They never had good food in Egypt, and yet they say they had good food in Egypt. They spoke against God and Moses and questioned as to why they, who were slaves, supposedly had enough bread and enough water in Egypt

Over and over the children of Israel murmured against he LORD while they were on their journey from Egypt to Canaan. God knew of their failures and warned them several times. He even chastised them in order that they may come back to him.

Although God did miracles and delivered them from the bondage of slavery under Pharaoh, and led them through wilderness by providing them heavenly ‘manna’ as their food, and protecting them during day by pillar of cloud and during night by pillar of fire and led them the way they should go, yet they angered him by rebelling against Him.

“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:21ESV)

They did not hearken unto God

“And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the LORD your God.’ But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. ‘Then I said I would pour out my wrath upon them and spend my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt’ “. (Ezekiel 20:7,8 ESV)

The children of Israel spoke against God and against Moses. Therefore, God sent fiery serpents among them and they bit them and many people of Israel died. But when the people of Israel, who were still alive, came to Moses and said to him that they have sinned against God and requested Moses to pray on behalf of them, he prayed to the Lord.

The LORD answered Moses’ prayer. As per the commandment of God Moses made a serpent of brass and put it upon a pole. Whoever of those bitten by serpents looked at the serpent of brass lived. (Numbers 21:8-10).

What a great provision God made for the children of Israel to be saved. It is not only by looking unto the brazen serpent that they lived but by doing so, they obeyed God’s commandment and it was counted unto them that they looked at God for their salvation. And, God honored their faith and gave them life. John the Baptist recollects this provision when he spoke about it in John 3:14-15.

He was pointing to the Son of God, whom he identified as “the lamb of God” He is our Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, and he was also called the Son of Man. He dwelt among us in flesh. John the Baptist said that He must be lifted up just as the brazen serpent was lifted up in the wilderness in order that “whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” Jesus was lifted up on the cross and he died for us bearing our sin.

We should, therefore, be looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. He endured the cross with joy despising shame. He died for our sake, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven and seated on the right hand of the Father. Bible says that if a man is not born-again, he will not see the Kingdom of God. For everyone, who did not yet receive salvation, it is necessary, therefore, that one must receive Jesus as personal savior by faith in him. (Hebrews 1:3 and 12:2)

The Lord says: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)