“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. Numbers 21:8
Can you see the Lord in our “scientific day designating this as THE solution to cancer, or to recovering from a lethal snake bite for which there is no antiserum available, or regaining health from terminal disease? Consider Moses’ dilemma in explaining God’s “strange instruction to the Israelites, tent by tent, family by family, snake bitten individual by snake bitten individual. Oh, there were some who crawled inch by miserable inch in weakness and pain through the door of their tent to a location where they could fix their eyes on the pole with the bronze serpent affixed to the top. There were others, already terribly weakened by the poison, who begged for family or friends to carry them within sight of the serpent on the pole. There were wives who pleaded with their husbands to comply with the Lord’s instruction, or husbands who implored their wives to look, and see, and be healed. There may have been children who cried for their bitten parents to just look! And parents with grave urgency that carried their children to a place where they could look for themselves and see and live. There should not have been one single person who died once Moses had done what God commanded, yet they did.
You can just hear the excuses for not looking! It’s not scientific, it’s irrational; how ridiculous, I will not stoop to such drivel; how can someone find relief and healing from something so, so simplistic; I will not give in to such nonsense; that is downright foolishness; what will my friends and neighbors think of me if I were to bow to such hocus pocus; we left Egypt with all its doctors, and hospitals, and medicines for this? No way, Jose! You won’t catch me participating in such inane antics! On and on the excuses roll.
The very same principle is at work when the Apostle Paul centuries later writes, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18) Every young man who comes to live at the Paul Anderson Youth Home hears the message of the cross, but not all of them see the cross for what it is: their only means and hope for salvation! The rebellious Israelites in the Sinai had but one means of surviving their painful and deadly snake bites and living to tell about it. Every one of us right now has only one means of experiencing the power of God unto salvation and escaping a fiery hell: the message of the cross! Jesus said it is the same message of the bronze snake on the pole in the desert (John 3:14).The “looking or “seeing of Numbers 21:8 is not a mere wayward glance. In fixing their eyes on the bronze snake they came to understand their rebellious spirit toward the Lord and His providence, and were moved to repentance. Countless excuses run through the minds of those who are proud, and hardened because of their self-perceived “brilliance. In actuality, one day that “brilliance, which is truly nothing more than sinful stupidity, will dawn on them (Psalm 73:18-20) and they will be startled by the truth they scorned and mocked………… when it’s too late!
The snake bitten and dying Israelites were told to look intently at the bronze snake Moses had lifted up in the desert, and they would be healed. The Book of Hebrews tells us to, “Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:2-3) The sheer idiocy of a proud and hard heart which continually turns its eyes and life away from what will heal them is hard to fathom in the face of God’s incredible offer. But so it is.
“Not the labors of my hands can fulfil thy law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone.
“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling; naked come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Savior, or I die.
(2nd and 3rd verses of Augustus Toplady’s hymn, “Rock of Ages Cleft for Me, 1776)
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