Sunday, January 24, 2016


Image result for moses serpent

While in college, I pursued a degree in English for one reason:  I totally loved literature.  I got my license in secondary education and dreamed of teaching kids to love literature as much as I did.  After Eric and I married, kids came quickly and I decided staying home was my heart’s desire above all else. 

I wondered though the years if my degree was a waste.  Hindsight is always best.  I can now see that God was using my college years to train me how to study His Word, the ultimate piece of literature. 

Allegory, typology, metaphor, foreshadowing, imagery, theme…all these things trained me to see not just the larger picture, but each minute detail that pointed to the whole.  Names, location, and time period all mattered.  Meaning was everywhere, if I could just discipline myself to look hard enough.  Treasure waits if we know how to dig! 

We worship a God of order.  Not a single name, moment of time, or detail is random or out of place.  There is skillful design to each book, each chapter, and each word.  The sixty six books are inseparable, each adding a layer to the love story of a Father who would stop at nothing to get His children back. 

I love the details.  In photography, I love the macro.  I want to show off not just a field of flowers, but the single piece of pollen on the stamen of the sunflower.  It’s the collection of perfect details that showcases the glory of such an amazing God. 

While studying the book of Numbers in the Old Testament, there was a passage I couldn’t fully comprehend.  Parts of it made perfect sense while other parts seemed thrown together haphazardly.   

The Israelites had been rescued from Egypt.  They were wandering in the wilderness, grumbling and ready to return as slaves.  God wanted them to trust His heart.  Their grumbling against His perfect plan and perfect provision brought about the release of poisonous snakes.  Many were bitten.  Many died.  

Sometimes, God seems harsh.  It’s in these times that He wants us to know about the seriousness of sin and just how costly it is.  Sin will be judged. 

{A righteous and Holy God demands it.} 

But, God’s heart towards His beloved people was always about perfect provision.  Please, let me feed you manna.  Please, let me sustain your clothing.  Please, let me provide a substitution for the judgment of your sin. 

{A loving and merciful God longs to provide the substitution.} 

In mercy, God had a plan for the curse of snakes.  He instructed Moses to make a brass serpent and set it on a pole, so that whoever looked upon it would live, even if they had been bitten. 

My mind is spinning.  Why a brass snake on a pole lifted high for all to see? It seems so out of place and ridiculous. 

Brass is the least of the metals, especially in comparison to silver and gold.  The word is “nechosheth” in Hebrew.  Brass represents the spiritual filthiness of fallen man.  In the Bible, brass symbolizes judgment.

The snakes were sent as a consequence to sin.  Every snake that hissed and let forth its deadly venom was a reminder of the sinful murmuring against a Holy God. The snakes symbolized sin.   

The pole was to be set high for all to see. It was more than likely in the shape of a crossbeam, so the snake could set on it.   

It all seems like such an odd picture.  What on earth is the point of such an image? Why on earth would a serpent and a lowly metal point to my beautiful Savior on the cross?

John 3:14-15 says, “In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.”   

It took an act of faith to look at a brass serpent on a pole and expect to be healed.   

It takes an act of faith to look upon a man on a tree and expect everlasting life. 

The perfect man took on the sins of the world to serve the wrath and judgment of a Holy God.  He hung on the tree as my sin. He was foreshadowed as a serpent made of cheap metal because my sin was transferred to Him on the cross.

The gospel was made known in the wilderness that day.   

Free Substitution is possible. Have you accepted the only gracious Substitute that satisfies the wrath of a Holy God?  
Image result for jesus cross
“Oh, the depths and riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God…”  Romans 11:33a

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