Moses kept putting one foot in front of the other as he led the people behind the cloud. The sight of the sea to the west moved his thoughts to the miracle of the crossing on dry ground. He longed for his siblings to share his memories with, but they, too, were now memories.
The conversation behind him caught his attention. His spirit drooped lower.
“Egypt is on the other side of the sea here. It’s so close I can taste it.”
“Oh, don’t remind me of the foods we had to eat in Egypt. We had something different for each meal. It was so glorious. Now, all we have is this manna stuff. It’s so boring. It’s the same thing day after day, manna and dust, manna and dust.”
“Yeah, we don’t even have water to wash the dust down with.”
A voice rose a few decibels. “Moses, why did you lead us out of Egypt to die in this pathetic wilderness? It’s been forty long years of eating these little wafers we pick up every morning. It’s time for a change. We’re never going to get anywhere at the rate we’re going.”
Moses and the people stopped when the cloud in front of them flashed into the fire that usually appeared at night.
Screams and sounds of panic seized Moses’ heart. He turned around to see mass confusion and pandemonium. Somebody threw a snake in the air.
Three men approached him. “Forgive us. We’ve sinned by speaking against God and you, Moses. Please, we beg you, pray to God to take these serpents away. People are dying here.”
One of the men screeched. He grabbed the snake that was attached to his leg before he collapsed to the ground.
The other two men ran off.
Moses twirled around and fell to his knees before the pillar of fire. “Dear God have mercy on us. We’ve been out here so long. Is there anything I can do to intercede for Your people?”
His heart found hope when he heard God’s voice from the fire. “Make a replica of a snake and place it on a pole. Whoever looks at your snake will live even after they’ve been bitten by a condemning snake.”
Moses turned and hoped to find someone to help him find some bronze. The chaos enveloped the entire congregation. He ran back to where the supplies for the Tabernacle laid and found a strip of bronze the length of one of the snakes.
Joshua came up to him. “What are you doing?”
“God said to make a bronze snake and raise it on a pole for a cure for these bites. Find a long pole we can put this on, the longer the better. I want as many people to see it as possible.”
Joshua pulled one of the support poles out of a bundle and brought it over. They put the bronze snake on it.
Moses lifted it up and carried it around. “Look at this snake and you’ll live!”
Many people did look up and found relief. One gray-haired man was trying to pull a snake off his leg as Moses walked by.
A child stepped in front of him. “Look at Moses’ snake Grandpa and you’ll live.”
The man grasped the snake by the neck and pulled. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
He grabbed his chest before he collapsed.
Moses shook his head as he kept walking.
The account of the fiery serpents only takes six verses to tell. But the story is too important for us to skip because the snakes are still with us today.
If your skepticism has you looking for physical snakes in your house don’t bother. I’m thinking about spiritual and emotional “snakes” you can’t see.
These snakes still try to derail us from completing the task God has given us. They succeeded in keeping some members of Moses’ congregation from reaching the Promised Land. They’ll try to do the same today.
Perhaps a list of some of these snakes will help you see what I’m getting at.
- Discouragement: this little guy will step in at the beginning of a project. His objective is to get you to stop before you even begin by convincing you it can’t be done. My writing friends will attest to the fact that if you ignore this one he’ll leave. He’ll try to sneak back in, but, don’t give in to him.
- Perfectionism: this one will keep us from sending anything out because there’s still room for improvement. Only our absolute best is good enough for God. Right? Blogging has made me see that a deadline has a way of making me send out some writing, or videos, before they’re award worthy.
- Comparison: “I’ll never be able to write a blog/devotional/poem/song/fill-in-the-blank as well as that other writer. So why should I even try?” God has given different life skills and personalities to reach different people. Your assignment will reach your intended audience. The other person’s audience is already being spoken to.
- Worry: our minds have a way of conjuring up things that don’t even exist and sucking the energy right out of us. This added weight is unnecessary and unproductive. We need to bring these before God in prayer and cast them at his feet so we can concentrate on our mission.
God has provided a similar remedy to us that He did for Moses’ people. Jesus gave us an example to live by to conquer our snakes. Let’s look to the cross for our ultimate cure for what ails us.
As Jesus will crush the serpent’s head so we should step on the snakes we encounter in our lives by His power.
It wasn’t in Moses’ power to make everybody look at the bronze serpent to be cured from their bites. The same holds true today. We can’t convince everyone we share Jesus’ offer of salvation to take His fabulous gift.
We still need to carry the message into the crowds.
I’ll see you later. Wade