The people of Israel experience success in battle when they obey and trust in the Lord. But when they lose faith, they are plagued with poisonous snakes. God does not abandon them despite their continuing moans and groans. No, on the contrary, he commands Moses to make a snake from bronze and to raise it high on a pole. God then promises that anyone who is bitten by a snake will be healed just by looking at the bronze snake.
The snake itself has no power; it is the faith and demonstration of obedience from the individual which enables God to save them from death.
Incidentally, there are several connections here with the New Testament – Jesus replaces the bronze snake when he is raised on the cross; it is then his sacrifice on cross that saves us all from sin, which was first brought into the world through the dishonest actions of a snake.
In Luke’s Gospel, God raises up Mary, a poor Jewish girl who will be blessed for eternity. Why? Because she agreed, without reservation to be God’s servant even though she felt unworthy for the task and had absolutely no idea of the consequences of her ‘Yes’ to God.
How do we respond when we are called to some definite service for God? Do we claim to be unworthy through some kind of false humility or make excuses that we neither have the time nor the skills to carry out God’s will?
How little faith we have! When we say ‘Yes’ to God and put our trust in him, he provides the power, skills, resources and the time required to accomplish our part in the great mission. All we have to do is say ‘Yes’ when we are called, the rest is best left to God.
Scripture: Numbers 21:1–22:20; Luke1:26-56; Psalm 57:1-11; Proverbs 11:9-11