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The Bite of the Serpent (2 of 12)

Mike Connell

Page 2 of 4
7 Therefore 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 take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

Now God’s intention always, is great blessing. The people of Israel had been bondaged for 400 years. They served as slaves and the task masters were very hard on them. As a result of their difficult life, the people became very bitter and very weak. God sent Moses to deliver them. He heard their voice cry and He sent Moses to deliver them. God demonstrated His power in a great way and the people of God left Egypt and began a journey to receive an inheritance in Canaan. They had a season or a journey with some challenges.

This is very like us. Before we come to know Jesus Christ, we live in bondage to sin. We are a slave to sin. We just can’t help sinning. We also live under the influence of evil spirits. They afflict people with fears and torments and sickness. They torment people with addictions. They break people’s hearts. They cause all manner of problems to people.

When we come to receive Jesus Christ, God puts His spirit in our heart and He breaks the power. Breaks the power of sin. Breaks the power of the devil. But then, we have to choose how we will live our life.

In this story we just read, the people of God have had a major victory. God has helped them against their enemies. Every day God provides for them. Every day God protects them. In fact, every day they are living under the blessing of God.

But it said – the people complained. They complained because they were bitter in their heart. Whatever is in your heart will flow out into your life. What happened when the people came under pressure, is they began to complain bitterly. When bitterness gets in your heart, it will always come out under pressure. Complaining, criticising, negative speaking. The people complained against Moses. Moses has only tried to help them. They complained against God. They began to say – well, we’d be better off back there in bondage and we hate what God is providing.

So the people’s hearts were corrupt. The people did not see that God is a loving God. They could not see that God was with them. Their eyes were blinded to the goodness of God because of the bitterness and anger and unforgiveness in their heart. They had been deeply abused and hurt in Egypt.

God was showing them how to depend on Him. God was wanting to change them from being slaves into sons. God was wanting to change them from being victims into conquerors. But when the people bitterly complained, complaining releases demonic spirits. When they complained, serpents came and bit them.

Here’s the thing to understand – the serpents were always there in the wilderness. It’s just they had been protected by God from them. In the Bible, serpents are a picture of evil spirits. Jesus said – “I give you authority over serpents and scorpions and all the power of the earth.” Jesus wants us to have authority over evil spirits.

But when the people complained, when they rebelled, when their heart turned from God, and they began to do things that were wrong, the serpents were no longer restrained. The serpents now began to come into the camp. Suddenly they’d bite people. A person would go to lie down, suddenly a searing pain and he’s bit by a serpent. They go to pick up sticks, suddenly a hand is bitten by a serpent. Many many people, the Bible says, were bitten by serpents, and they died.