6 The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “[a]Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.”9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. Number 21:6-9
In this passage we see the gospel played out. We see the fall; the Israelites sinned against God and Moses. We see punishment in the fact that God sent serpents to bite the Israelites as a punishment. We see that God provided a way to redeem those that repented. We also see that God restored them by letting them live.
What does this passage tell us about God’s character? God had been taken care of his people, but His people were impatient with God. God was taking care of His people, however, the people were impatient, and they started grumbling. They were complaining about God even though, He was taking care of them. He loves His people so much that He is going to take care of them.
Because of our sinful nature we sometimes get frustrated with God. We think He is not there and taking care of us. We turn our back on Him. God never leaves us. It is us that abandoed Him. God provides and we become selfish.
God was providing bread for the Israelites. They said there was no bread. They had become bored with what they had. They were mad at God because they did not have more. They did not trust God to provide for their basic needs. How many times do we not trust God to provide for our basic needs? Do we expect God to give us more than He does?
The Israelites were punished for their grumbling and not trusting God. God did this out of His righteousness. He had to punish them for their disobedience. God sent fiery serpents to live among the people. When someone was bitten by the snake they would die. These people were in trouble, but it was because they had been disobedient. They brought the punishment on their selves.
These people needed to be redeemed. After people had died they realized what was going on. They realized that their disobedience was being punished and they needed God’s redemption. We spend time doing our own thing and get out of God’s will. He then punishes us. When we cry out to God, He will heal us. He will redeem us. Repentance is required for God to restore us.
The Lord restored the Israelites. He redeemed them by giving them a way to escape the punishment. God told them what they had to do in order to escape death. We have been given the same today. We have been told that we are to believe in the resurrection of Jesus. We are to believe in Him and call on Him as our savior. This is how we are restored.
- God will punish us for our disobedience.
- God will redeem us, if we call on Him and repent.
- God has provided a way for us to be restored.