A Blogged Bible Study entry.
I love Tex-Mex. Absolutely LOVE it. Every date I want Uncle Julio’s. Most fast food nights I’ll choose Taco Bueno. And if the kids have their choice, Chili’s, I always order chicken fajita nachos. Now you’d think I’d get tired of it, but I really haven’t…not yet. It’s been a good fifteen years since I’ve been able to indulge this obsession, having moved to the mecca of Tex-Mex, back to my home state…TEXAS!!!
Now, if I had to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner I might get tired of it quicker. If I could only have one choice, let’s say…tacos…I’m pretty sure I would begin to complain, after a while. But that’s just me. I have a very high tolerance for Tex-Mex. So…let’s say it was…pancakes…? A light fluffy pancake which melts in your mouth. It’s brought to your door every morning and all you have to do is pick it up, enough for the day, and you are good to go. Maybe for a couple of days or even a week you could tolerate it. But … week after week, month after month, year after year…? Well. You get the point.
And you know the story:
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 bread or water, and we detest this worthless food.”
We quickly judge the Israelites for complaining. But, I must admit, unless it was tacos, I might be right there with them. But the LORD God was not going to have it. These people had complained enough (they had been doing it from the start) and it was time for judgment.
So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. Then 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 would take away the snakes from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. ~Numbers 21:5-9
The curse was placed upon a pole in the form of a bronze snake. If anyone had been bitten he was to look upon the bronze snake and be healed.
To be sure I’ve not misconstrued this story from the Jewish teaching, let me share with you from a Jewish devotional:
Now the Lord could have healed Israel in fashion. The intent of placing a bronze serpent on a pole was to require acknowledgement of sin first and then acceptance of the healing provided by the Lord second. It was not adequate to think in one’s heart, “I’m sorry for my mistake.” To be healed the second action was required. They had to look up towards the heavens and view the bronze serpent to live.
This wilderness story was not lost to the people of Jesus’ time. The bronze serpent had been kept. Centuries later it was destroyed during Hezekiah’s reign for it had become an idol of worship. (2 Kings 18:1-6) It may not be known to us Gentiles, but then we don’t study the Law and the Prophets like the Jews. That was the only scripture they had and they knew it well.
Jesus is having a conversation with Nicodemus. He is explaining to Nic about the meaning of being born again and He ends the conversation with this seemingly obscure bit of information. But it’s not obscure to Nic. He is a Jewish teacher of the Law, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin. He knows this story. He knows his history. He understands the context. Then Jesus says this is the sign of the Son of Man:
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.”
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. ~John 3:14-18
Have you looked to the One who can bring you healing?
Did you know that everyone is cursed who hangs upon a tree?
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” ~Galatians 3:13
He took the curse for you. He bore it on the cross. He has redeemed us from the Law of sin and death. You have only to look upon Him and believe.