23.4 Moses 23, Day 4

Un-Complicated

One of the stumbling blocks of Christianity is that it is too simple – it is not complicated enough.  You would think this would be a good thing, but it really can trip people up.

To live after being bitten by a venomous snake the Jews had to look at the snake on the stick.  That was it.  Period.

But put yourself in their shoes.  Isn’t that too easy?  Wouldn’t you feel better about it is it had more requirements or it was harder?  You know, maybe if at certain times of the day you had to face in a certain direction and say certain words.  Now that would be better, right?  Or if there was certain penance you had to live out to make up for your wrongs of the past?  Or maybe a requirement that you pay a certain price, a real cost, either monetarily or physically – nothing brings feeling better about being healed than a good case of suffering, right?

But that is not God’s plan.  He turns to us and says, I love you, I want you, come to Me, turn to Me, cast your eyes on My son and I will give you life.

How are you making it more complicated so you feel better?  Are you “doing things for God” out of obligation, trying to add to Christ’s saving grace with your good deeds?

God wants your obedience, but only the obedience of a loving and grateful heart.  God wants you to give things over to Him, but only through adoration and praise.  If you are doing it for yourself, then it isn’t for God.  Don’t make it harder than it is, just turn and believe and live.

My Answers:

7.
a.
Make a snake and put it on a pole, anyone who is bitten can look at it and live

b.
Graven image – crafting an image, especially one of a snake/serpent, 2 Kings 18:4 Hezekiah destroys it because people are worshiping it

8.
a.
The Son of Man must be lifted up like the way that Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so that all who believe can have eternal life.  The image of the snake on a pole was a foreshadowing of the sin of the world being laid upon Christ’s body on the cross as He was lifted up to die for us.

b.
Solid and growing – I hope someday to have a faith as un-bending as that I see demonstrated in the children I teach.

23.3 Moses 23, Day 3

Snake on a Stick

From Mount Hor to the Red Sea the detouring Israelites grew impatient.  When they grew impatient they grumbled, speaking against God and Moses.

The free food that God was providing for them daily, which nourished them without their need to till the soul was “detestable, miserable food.”

It would be like approaching a parent and saying, “all you give me is love and shelter and feed and clothe me and provide for my every need.  It is horrible.”

As a loving parent, you would like to set the reset button if your child did that and give them a glimpse of what horrible is actually like, while still showing your love for them.  I think they call that “tough love.”

That’s what God delivers, in the form of venomous snakes.

And the people respond correctly.  They confess that they sinned and they repent.  They ask Moses to pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.

God, does one better, He gives them a lesson about salvation.  He has Moses form the image of a snake on his staff and put it on a pole.  When anyone is bitten they need only look at the bronze snake and they lived.

Let’s break this last part down because it can be a little bit confusing.  If this is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ raised up on the cross, why is it a snake?  Why did looking on it heal them?  Isn’t this the creation of a graven image?

It is a lesson about Christ.  He would be raised up on the cross.  But Jesus is not the snake.  Snakes have normally been used to represent Satan and wickedness.  But when Jesus was raised up on the cross and the sacrificial lamb he laid down his life and, through grace, descended fully from His kingdom to be a Son of Man.  When Jesus the man was raised up on the stake He carried with him all the sin of the world, dating back to the first sin in the garden and including all sin of all mankind of all time.

There was nothing the Hebrews did to heal themselves.  No special words or practices.  No medicine or magic.  One simple thing – they had to turn to this gift from God.  To do so was a profession of faith, simply because it doesn’t make sense.  Looking at something with your eyes can’t physically cure a snake bite with poisonous venom streaming through your blood.  But turning your eyes and heart to Jesus is the only way to have life, real life, ever lasting life.

But what about it being a graven image.  I’m sure this was a concern.  But God allowed and instructed Moses to use it as a teaching and healing tool with the Israelites.  The crosses we hang in our homes and churches and around our necks are a reminder, a teaching tool about the gift of salvation of our Lord Jesus.  They are not to be worshipped.  We learn in 2 Kings 18:4 that King Hezekiah was forced to destroy this bronze snake because the people had begun to worship it, burning incense to it.

I think it is amazing that this same snake is today the symbol of medicine.  The American Medical Association logo includes the snake on a stick as a symbol of healing.

https://i2.wp.com/www.transworldsystems.com/cmss_files/imagelibrary/AMA%20Logo%20for%20website.jpg

 

My Answers:

4.
They did not have a fight with Edom nor were they to take any of their land

5.
a.
They were impatient, downtrodden, making themselves miserable

b.
God

c.
Venomous snakes were sent among them – bit and many people died

6.
a.
They confessed their sin and repented – asked Moses to pray for them to God

b.
Confess our sins, God is faithful and just and He’ll forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness