Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Imagine a host of people coming out of Egypt, walking through the wilderness to a fabulous Promised Land, their trek under the direct leadership of God Himself, a loving, kind Savior. He has just delivered them from slavery as real as any from which President Abraham Lincoln emancipated slaves in our Civil War.
Can you imagine the slaves who were emancipated by Lincoln complaining bitterly against him? No, but the people of Israel complained against their Great Emancipator and Deliverer! Not because He hated them but because He loved them, their Savior permitted poisonous snakes to attack them, to teach them the gospel. All they had to do to be healed was to look to a Savior symbolized by a bronze poisonous snake lifted up high on a pole. The story is in Numbers 21:5-9.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the snake represented Himself (John 3:14). Christ "who knew no sin [was made] to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). It's the same as what John the Baptist said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). There is healing, there is salvation, in looking. How does it work?
The sin of the Israelites was the same as our sin--"the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). It's alienation from God, bitterness against Him. (You say you don't have it by nature? Think again!) If you're human, you need healing! And the sin is deep: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Or, "Deep is a man's mind, deeper than all else, on evil bent; who can fathom it?" (Jer. 17:9, NKJV, Moffatt). This alienation from God goes down to one's toes, embedded in every cell of one's being, it's nature itself that you were born with.
The Lamb of God whom you and I are to "behold," look at earnestly, was "made to be" just that for us! If it wasn't in the Bible, some "Christians" would stone people who say that Jesus is represented as a snake lifted up on a pole! Why didn't God tell Moses to make a lamb of brass and put it up on a pole so the people bitten by snakes could look at it? Ponder that, for there is saving truth there--somewhere.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 29, 1998.
Copyright © 2016 by "Dial Daily Bread."