A Bronze Snake in the Wilderness

Author: Mike Hurley — Host: Andrew StevensPosted on: June 5, 2020

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
A Bronze Snake in the Wilderness

On the surface, this might seem like an odd story. While in the wilderness, the Israelites complained about the lack of bread and meat. They complained a lot, forgetting how the Lord rescued them from slavery in Egypt and how He was leading them to a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. In response to their wicked attitudes, the Lord sent dangerous snakes that killed many of the people. The people repented and asked Moses to intercede for them. The remedy? Under direction from the Lord, Moses made a bronze snake image, mounted it on a pole, and held it up before the people. All who had been bitten and looked on it were healed. But why a bronze snake on a pole? Think about it. It’s not that the pole or the snake had magic powers. It was about an act of faith. The snake mounted on a pole likely resembled a cross. Looking forward to Calvary, God commanded His people to look at the image. Those who looked up in faith were saved. And saved from what? From the harm of the serpents who bit the people. This hearkens back to the Garden, where Adam and Eve were deceived by the deadly serpent, Satan—and when God promised to crush that serpent through Jesus, the Savior descended from Eve (Genesis 3:15). Whatever ills the serpent can inflict—from the Garden of Eden until today— there is One who has overcome. The whole of the Old Testament points to the work of Jesus on the cross, the only way to forgiveness of sin and the only rescue from the death and brokenness sin causes. It’s not the magic of humans like Moses. It’s the sacrificial work of the Son to provide a remedy to our sin. Just as the Israelites were saved in the wilderness when they looked up in faith, so too will we be saved when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. • Mike Hurley • Why did God instruct Moses to affix a bronze snake to a pole? • How was the Israelite response an act of faith? • If you have questions about what it means to put your faith in Jesus, check out our “Know Jesus” page. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man [Jesus] must be lifted up. John 3:14 (CSB)


Read Verses:

Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:13-18