Num. 21:8-9 Then the LORD told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the top of a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake, they recovered!
Whatever God provided for his people, it was never enough. They complained to Moses about what God had given them, as if it was Moses’ problem. God had enough of their ingratitude and had sent a plague amongst them. The people were terrified by God’s discipline and pled with Moses for help. When Moses took the matter to the Lord, he gave him the instructions in today’s verses. I am struck at how quickly Moses had to act. People were already being afflicted and were dying. There was no time to do anything but obey God. When God tells us to do something, the time to act is now not later. We don’t know what will happen if we delay. We don’t who’s life will be affected by our messing around. It is sin for us to put off until tomorrow what the Lord tells us to do today.
The Lord sent a plague of poisonous snakes to roam among the Israelites. They had sinned in their hearts against God and now they were paying the price. They were powerless to stop the discipline of the Lord. There was a price to pay for their sin and the day of accountability had come. Be careful so that sin does not bite you! There always is a day of accountability for sin.
The Lord is merciful to those whom he loves. When the Israelites humbled themselves before God, he heard their cries for help. He told Moses how to stop the plague from killing them. They still had to obey the Lord. They still had to act by faith and not by sight. If they looked at the bronze snake God had provided through Moses, they would live. If they looked elsewhere for help, they would die. They had to choose between God’s way or some other way. We too must choose.