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COMMUNION MEDITATION: The Snake on a Pole


The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” – Numbers 21:9

As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life. – John 3:14-15

What a curious event in the desert! Because of Israel’s complaints, God sent snakes into their camp. The snakes bit many people and they were dying. The people asked Moses to pray the LORD to take the snakes away. He did, but He also gave them healing by looking at the snake on the pole.

Jesus used this as He talked with Nichodemus about being born again. He said that He also must be lifted up like the snake Moses put on the pole. He was “lifted up” when He was crucified.

We must look to Christ crucified as our healing and deliverence from the great “serpent the Devil.”

Israel asked God to remove the snakes; God took them away and gave healing. Would He have given healing and left the snakes to continue to bite?

To claim the healing I must look to Jesus lifted up on the cross. God also promises to crush the snake’s head under our feet! (Rom 16:20) Jesus gave the mortal blow to the serpent. Because of what He did, we also are able to crush Satan under our feet.

Do I trust that what Jesus has done will give me strength to overcome in my own battle with Satan? Or do I continue to make excuses for my sinfulness without looking to Him as He is lifted up?

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2 Responses

  1. Jerry,
    I don’t see where God removed the snakes in the Numbers 21. I always thought that just as the snakes were not removed from the midst of the camp, so is sin not removed from us. But we are always “in the world” and sin is crouching at the door.
    Tony

  2. Tony,

    The Israelites prayed that the Lord take away the snakes (Numbers 21:7). It does not say specifically that He did. I suppose that to say either way we would call for some degree of speculation.

    In keeping with your analog of us and sin, we must ask ourselves how much God does to remove, not just the sting of sin, but also its presence in our lives.

    In the words of the hymn, Rock of Ages, our prayer is that God “be of sin the double cure – cleanse me from its guilt and power.” Does He only “cure” us of the snake bite (guilt) or does He give us power to overcome, thus removing, not the possibility of sin, but the practice of sin as we mature in Christ?

    Jerry

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