Is God always good? If it’s His will for all to be healed, and if we believe scripturally,
that it is, why are so many Christians sick? If it’s His will to bless His children and to
make us a blessing, why are so many struggling? Why do so many of God’s people
seem to stumble and struggle through life without victory?
The Bible says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I
have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John
I think we can see some important things as we look at the story of the serpent on the
pole in Numbers 21:4-9. 4 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red
Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very
discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why
have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and
no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents
among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.
7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we
have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take
away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole;
and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a
serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
The Bible also tells us that the things the Israelites went through were for
our example, so that we wouldn’t make the same mistakes. In this story,
we see that their grumbling, complaining, and murmuring brought the
hedge of protection down. The amazing thing is not that they suddenly had
a snake problem. They were in the middle of the desert. There are lots of
snakes in the desert that want to get into the camp and be warmed by the
body heat of humans and animals. They always wanted to get to God’s
people but, could not, because He had a hedge of protection around them.
It gets cold in the desert at night, unless you have a pillar of fire over you. It gets hot in
the daytime, unless you have a cloud covering you. It’s easy to get thirsty unless you
have water coming out of a rock. You can get real hungry unless you have meat raining
down from heaven. God’s grace and goodness was so prevalent, even in the desert.
Yet, it was not enough for them. They constantly complained of hunger, thirst, missing
Egypt, and God bringing them out there to die. They had totally forgotten that they
were slaves in Egypt; starving, mistreated, not allowed to own the shacks they lived in,
the clothes on their back, or even their own bodies. Yet, now, they were missing some
stupid onions in Egypt. How quickly we forget what God has brought us out of.
As they grumbled and complained, the protective hedge came down. God didn’t send
the snakes. They were already there. He just could not hold them back anymore. He
had a legal and righteous obligation to His own Word and promises, because Israel
disobeyed by speaking against His goodness.
Even then, God had a remedy, as usual. Nothing takes Him by surprise. He told Moses
to build a bronze serpent on a pole. The Israelites were told to gaze at it, if they were
bitten. The Hebrew word for look is not a passing glance but a staring gaze. That’s
tougher than it sounds when your baby has been bitten and needs you, your horse is
bitten and knocks over the tent, you have been bitten and are in terrible pain, there is
noise and chaos on every side, and you have to stop and stare. You must take it all in.
When we are sick or in trouble, we may need to stop everything and take in a whole
chapter or book of the Bible until the revelation comes.
The serpent on the pole represented Jesus Christ, in type. He became sin as He was
lifted up on that pole, the cross. He was beaten for our healing and with His stripes, we
are healed. There was forgiveness, healing, and deliverance from the snakes in the
type. There is also forgiveness, healing, and deliverance in Christ Jesus. When our
murmuring brings the hedge down, we turn to Him in repentance, ask Him to forgive us,
stop what caused the hedge to come down, and stay on God’s side, confessing His
goodness and mercy.
In the next few weeks we will look at some other things that can cause His hedge to
come down. Remember to always stay on God’s side. He’s always good and His mercies
are new every morning.