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Psalm 128; Numbers 21:4-9; Hebrews 3:1-6

In the last six months I have had four encounters with three different snakes. Two of the encounters took place inside my house. This past summer the night before children’s camp began, the speaker was bitten on a toe by a baby copper head snake. The first hospital visit I made in my current assignment was for a man who was bitten on the foot by a snake. Snakes always seem to come around at the most inconvenient times.

The events recorded in Numbers 21:4-9 are something that could come from Hollywood. The scene would be in the desert. The plot, Israelites complained so God sends venomous snakes as punishment for their ungratefulness. The solution, God directs Moses to make a bronze snake and have all who were bitten look upon to it to be save.

God helped the Israelites defeat the Canaanites of the southern land of Arad. However, the promises they made to God were short because they began to complain and grumble. The punishment for their sin was death. However, God provided a way for redemption.

Jesus Christ came into this world to take all the snakes in the world to sacrifice them once and for all. Christ bore the punishment that was meant for you and me. He became one of us so that He could take our sins and transgressions to the cross. Perhaps this is prompted the author of Hebrews to refer Jesus as our High Priest and our hope.

Our punishment for sin is death. However, God provided a way through Jesus. John 3:14-15 provides the remedy for our sin. Jesus compares Himself to the snake that Moses places on top of his staff so that when those who bit by the snakes look upon, they will be saved. Jesus says just as the snake was lifted, He too would be lifted and those who look upon Him will be saved.

This Lenten season, may we be reminded that all our sins and transgressions were nailed to the cross with Jesus. If we want to be saved from our snakes, all we have to do is look up.

Rev. Brandon Watts – Ashwood Church of the Nazarene – Ashwood, SC

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