The Israelites did face a detour sign in front of them when they were almost there at the Promised Land.
We have to keep in mind that they were traveling for nearly 40 years to get to this point.
In chapter 20 Moses requested permission to pass thru Edom – King of Edom rejected it.
In fact Edomites were related to Israelites thru Esau, the elder brother of Jacob.
Moses had no other recourse except to go around Edom.
Now we see another Cainite King of Arad creating another detour to the people of Israel.
Now the detour was getting on their nerves – detour of hundreds of miles – imagine with such humongous crowd of people – all were travelling on foot.
THE DESPERATION (4-5)
First - they were impatient
Second – they were venting out their anger
In desperation people always blame somebody for the inconvenience caused.
But here the people of Israel blame God & Moses for putting them thru this ordeal.
They questioned God for bringing them out of Egypt - they detest everything so far.
A. Do we have to go thru this horrible journey?
B. No good food - though Manna was given from heaven
C. No water supply - though water was provided thru a rock.
D. They detested everything that happened in the desert.
Sounds familiar – Today’s generation complains a lot - complain for lack of this or that.
THE PUNISHMENT & REPENTANCE (6-7)
They were still travelling thru a desert land where snakes are common thing.
God did not like their attitude or behavior – punishment comes in the shape of snakes.
Many died because of snake bites – no number given – it should be definitely alarming.
The people of Israel acknowledged their sinful behavior against God & Moses.
The punishment leads to repentance – people who realized their sinfulness repented.
Through our behavior or attitude many times we rebel against God and question Him.
Many times we don’t realize God is disciplining us in various ways – sometimes severely.
THE CURE (8-9)
God heard the prayers of Moses and provided them a cure from the curse.
He provided a cure for their bite by using the same snake as a symbol of cure.
The text says “anyone who is bitten can look at it and live."
Cure or relief comes from just looking at the bronze serpent on a pole.
It was purely exercising their simple faith to get the cure – it was supernatural - immediate.
Modern mind cannot rationalize or comprehend the strange cure because it defiles all scientific application.
No logical connection between looking at a bronze snake and be cured of a snake bite.
Because there was no magical power exists in the bronze snake to cure them.
Everyone bitten by snake must believe God at His word.
The Israelites were confronted with a decision, to look up and live, or not to look up and die.
The decision to look up entirely rests with each Israelite.
God was not forcing anyone – it was their choice & option to look at bronze serpent.
The text says, "Then when anyone looked at the bronze snake, he lived".
In many cultures snakes are held in high esteem as powerful religious symbols.
In Judeo- Christian cultures snakes are almost always symbols of evil.
Our modern medical symbol of two snakes wrapped around a staff comes from ancient Greek Mythology.
Lord Jesus mentions this particular incident in John 3:14-15
The Deliverer who is lifted up on the CROSS can save all humankind from sin.
The most important unique feature of Christian faith is that we are putting our trust in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Many are still trapped in the snake bite of sin and destined to die.
Humanity’s only option for eternal life is to look at the cross of Lord Jesus.
Look to the Risen Lord Jesus with faith and receive the cure for sin.
Today everyone has a choice & an option – Lord Jesus will never force anyone to believe.
It is everyone’s choice to avail the opportunity and be cleansed of sin by accepting the salvation freely given at the foot of the cross.
It defiles the scientific phenomenon but it is written in God’s Word.
Lord Jesus provided the cure for sin and He did not give any other option.
My friend, only Jesus cross provides the forgiveness for sin and there is no other way.