There are certain passages of scripture which offer us an overview of the history of God’s people. Christianity has experienced this cycle many times over since Christ’s return to Heaven.
1. God’s people call & God answers.
Num. 21:2-3 “And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities. And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities:
2. God’s people develop a spirit of entitlement and turn their backs on the Lord.
V4-5 “And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.”
3. God sends fiery trials.
V6 “And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”
4. God’s people repent.
V7 “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.”
5. God offers grace & forgiveness through Jesus (Jn. 3:14).
V8 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.”
6. Only the people who respond in faith receive deliverance.
V9 “And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
LESSON - Between steps one and two, we see a generation of Believers who develop a spirit of apathy and fail to pass their faith on to the next generation. As a result, the second generation feels entitled, turns to the world (Egypt) seeking joy instead of Christ then abandons the same faith which brought sweet fellowship with Jesus to their parents. The ending to the story reminds us that God never gives up pursuing a relationship with His creation. Since God has no grandchildren, each one of us must determine for ourselves if we are truly “In the faith”. If you have not experienced a REAL transformative relationship with Jesus Christ, remember that Jesus became that serpent on the cross so that you could personally experience God’s grace through faith! He did that so just like the Israelites, you also could simply “look and live”!