Numbers 21: 4-9
They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
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, he lived.
After the Israelites had been attacked by the Canaanites, they made a vow to God and received a great victory by totally destroying the Canaanites and their towns. Now their victory has turned to complaining against God and Moses because of their lack of bread and water. God sends poisonous snakes as a punishment for their sin. After many died, the people confess that they have sinned against God and Moses; they ask Moses to pray for God to take away the snakes. After Moses praying for the people, God offers them a way of deliverance. Moses follows God’s instruction by making a bronze snake and places it on a pole. If anyone is bitten by the snakes, they can live by looking in obedience at the bronze snake. This was a temporary way of their deliverance, unlike the deliverance offered to all people by looking in faith to the cross of Christ which is for our eternal forgiveness and healing.
Father awaken us with the power of your word to keep our eyes on you in faith knowing that you are at work for our deliverance from all sin. Forgive us when we sin against you and others; we ask for your deliverance in Jesus name, amen.