LIFTED UP IN THE WILDERNESS
Israel had just completed a great military victory through the power of the Lord (Numbers 21:8). What followed next was inexcusable. As they journeyed through the wilderness, they became discouraged because of the difficult way--a barren path without food and water (Numbers 21:4). It is easy to forget the wonderful things God has done when you are traversing the desert trails of life. And that is exactly what Israel did:
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. (Numbers 21:5)
At this point, God had enough of their complaints. The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and many people died from their lethal bites. The people came to Moses saying,
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. 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. 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. (Numbers 21:7-9)
Jesus spoke of this Old Testament event declaring:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16)
There are spiritual parallels between Israel's experience and ours:
-We, too, are in a wilderness.
-The serpent--Satan--would have us perish there through our sin.
-We have an intercessor on our behalf. As Israel had Moses, we have Jesus Christ who is at the right hand of God making intercession for us.
-It was God that designed Israel's deliverance, as He did ours.
-That which they looked to for a cure bore the likeness of that which afflicted them. Because of the flesh, they sinned. Jesus Christ was made flesh to bear our sin, yet He was without sin.
-As the image was lifted up in the wilderness, so Jesus is lifted up on the cross above the wilderness of our world.
-To be healed, Israel had to look to the symbol. We must look to the reality--Jesus--who was lifted up for our sin.
In the wilderness of sin--in the deserts of this world--provisions for your salvation, healing, and deliverance have already been made. Look to Christ and live.