The Brazen Serpent
In Numbers chapter two we find God’s people, the Israelites complaining against the Lord and also God’s servant Moses. This was a very terrible thing to do. You see God just recently saved the Israelites from the slavery and bondage of the Egyptians. You may have heard of the story of the great deliverance God gave his people as the Pharaoh could not endure any more plagues from the Lord. God even parted the red sea so that the Israelites could escape the armies of Egypt.
Now here the people are complaining against God. Whining about the food they had to eat and believing God had brought them out in the desert to die.
“So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died.” Numbers 21:6
You may think that to be a harsh thing. But sin is no light thing in the eyes of God. Most people think they are really not that bad in God’s eyes. Yet God not only see’s our actions, but He see’s in hidden things of the heart. We will all give an account to God, not only for what we did, but why we did it.
Throughout the history of mankind, God has always been quick to forgive to those repent. He is long suffering toward us and puts up with our unbelief and mistakes time and time again! So it was with the Israelites.
“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.
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 snake and be healed!” Numbers 21:7-9
Praise God that those people of that time had deliverance from the venomous snakes. As bad as it would be to be bitten by a venomous snake, there is something much worse that poison that runs through mankind. It is the nature of sin. Sin has corrupted all of mankind to their core. We all have gone astray from God. We are like sheep without a shepherd, wondering aimlessly as we follow only our selfish, sinful pleasures.
Just as venom from a snake killed many people in Moses day because of their sin, so today many will perish in everlasting hell because of the venom of sin in their hearts and lives. The good news is that God is the same back then as He is today. If you will repent of your sins, and look to the snake on the pole, you will be healed and not die! What do I mean by snake on a pole? Look what Jesus said in John 3:14-16
“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.“For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] 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.”
The Son of man, Jesus Christ was lifted up on the cross. He was the bearer of our sin and our diseases! So anyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. “All who are bitten will live if they simply look it.” The firs thing you must do is recognized you have been bitten! Admit your guilt before God that you are a sinner in need of saving! Understand that you have broken God’s laws and not done right in His sight. Humble yourself and repent! Turn from your sins.
Look unto the One who was hung upon that cross that you might have the poison of your sin removed. See Him there on the cross hanging there for you. Look to Him through blood and ripped up flesh on his body. He was scourged and hung there to die, in order that you might look on Him in faith and be healed! It was God’s love for you, that motivated Jesus to take the punishment you deserved.
It’s as true as true can be. Just as all who looked in faith at the snake on a pole in Moses day, were healed and did not perish. So today all who look in faith on Jesus Christ will be healed, forgiven, set free, given eternal life and will in no way perish!
Please take a moment and read the story of how a man named Charles Spurgeon looked upon Christ.
“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now, had it not been for the goodness of God in sending a snowstorm one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain place of worship. I turned down a side street, and came to a little Primitive Methodist Church. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people’s heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved….
The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last a very thin-looking man, a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now it is well that preachers be instructed, but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was—”LOOK UNTO ME, AND BE YE SAVED, ALL THE ENDS OF THE EARTH” (Isa. 45:22)
He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimmer of hope for me in that text.
The preacher began thus: “This is a very simple text indeed. It says ‘Look.’ Now lookin’ don’t take a deal of pain. It aint liftin’ your foot or your finger; it is just ‘Look.’ Well, a man needn’t go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a thousand a year to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look.
“But then the text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Ay!” he said in broad Essex, “many on ye are lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some say look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, ‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say ‘We must wait for the Spirit’s workin.’ You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.’ ”
Then the good man followed up his text in this way: “Look unto Me; I am sweatin’ great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin’ on the cross. Look unto Me, I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sitting at the Father’s right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!”
When he had . . . . managed to spin out about ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger.
Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, “Young man, you look very miserable.” Well, I did, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, “And you will always be miserable—miserable in life and miserable in death—if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” Then lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but look and live!”
I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said—I did not take much notice of it—I was so possessed with that one thought . . . . I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, “Look!” what a charming word it seemed to me. Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away.
There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, “Trust Christ, and you shall be saved.”by