10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.
So the ancient Israelites are weary of their journey and the complaints start. Moses is incompetent. God has lead them to the desert to die. In the middle of their ranting snakes start literally attacking them. First it's just one, and then a few, and soon they seem to be everywhere. In fear and desperation they cry out to Moses. They plead with him to ask God to save them from the snakes. Moses prays but the answer is weird. I'm pretty sure Moses hesitated. "Lord you want me to do what?!!"
"Make a serpent from brass and hang it on a pole. Tell the people to look at it and anyone who looks at it will be healed from the venomous bites."
"But You told us not to make any images or idols..."
It's a weird story... or is it?
Serpent = Satan
Satan means accuser. The people allowed Satan into their thoughts. He played on their feelings. Soon their voices became his voice. The voice of accusation.
In Eden he accused God of being a liar. Now he is accusing God of being incompetent and the people believe him just as Eve did. The same God who freed them from Egypt is incompetent? The same God who opened and then closed the Red Sea doesn't know what He is doing? The same God who rains down food every morning and supplies water in the desert can't get them through the desert? It's crazy talk but when we allow the combination of unpleasant circumstances and the whisperings of the serpent to combine we end up talking crazy. We end up embracing his lies which always lead to death.
In their desperation they cried out to the very One they had just accused of not knowing what He was doing. His solution was to become a devil worshipper?
On the surface it looks that way.
The Bible says "He who knew no sin became sin for us." The One who never once fell for the whisperings of the serpent became the serpent for us. All the venom we took in He took in. Then they lifted Him up on a pole thinking He was defeated.
Jesus said "I, if I be lifted up, I will draw the whole world to Myself."
The instruction in Numbers 21, as the snakes were attacking them, was simple - "Look and live".
No one needed to die. There was a cure. The spotless One became the very disease that was killing us. All we have to do is look and live.
I believe God purposely made the cure strange so that everyone would scratch their heads and wonder about it. It was just one more way to tell the same Old Story. Look and live. Many sins. One Saviour. So simple.
See you tomorrow :)