March 16
Numbers 21:4-9

The bronze snake

The Israelites would have to live in the desert many years—until all those who had complained and grumbled against the Lord had died. Only their children would be allowed to go into the Promised Land (Numbers 14:31-32).

Yet, even while they were on their way from Mount Hor to the area of Edom, the people started complaining again. So God put poisonous snakes among the people and many Israelites were bitten and died.

The people realized that they had sinned against the Lord and asked Moses to pray for them. Then God said to Moses “Make a snake and put it on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”

So Moses made a bronze snake and lifted it up on a pole. And all those who obeyed God and looked up at the snake were healed.

Why did God make snakes?

Are you scared of snakes? Imagine creeping into a tent on a dark night and putting your hand on something soft and slithery.

Snakes, like other dangerous animals, are all a part of God’s creation. Before Adam and Eve sinned, there was no danger and no death. Eve wasn’t even afraid of a snake! Sin changed that. The day Adam and Eve sinned, God cursed the snake and said, “I will make you and the woman hate each other. Her children will crush your head, and you will bite their heel” (Genesis 3:14-15). For the Israelites, the snake had again become a sign of death—the punishment for disobedience and rebellion.

Only Jesus could come and make things the way they were meant to be on earth—a place of safety and peace where children would play near snakes (Isaiah 11:8).

Many years later Jesus did come, and He was lifted up on a cross to die and to bring healing to all those who look to Him.

Verse for today

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15