Scripture selection: Numbers 21.6
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.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
There is a curious story about some desert snakes that has great spiritual meaning if you think about it.
As they made their way along the people stubbornly persisted in their complaining and grumbling against God. According to the scripture, this resulted in a severe punishment – via some very nasty snakes.
When Moses, as he often did, intervened for the rebellious – and now remorseful and suffering people – God told him what to do. He was to create a bronze serpent on a pole. Then he was to lift this pole up so that the people could view the image of sin and death. In doing so, they would be saved.
Seen from a Christian standpoint – the similarity to Christ’s story is striking.
Lifted up, the perfect Savior – who had taken sin upon himself and who came to take away the sin of the world, did just that.
Much has been said, and many debates held, as to how a “loving” God could punish His people with terrible vipers, only to then save them via this strange ritual involving a bronze serpent.
Still, the symbolism is very powerful.
We, who so often need saving from our own sinfulness, are given the opportunity to be saved from it by literally viewing it, then calling out for God’s salvation.
I don’t like snakes. But I am very moved by this powerful, symbolic story of God’s salvation by one lifted up on a cross of God’s own design.
How about you?