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Lifted Up

Words of Faith Final

Lifted Up

Words of Faith 7-7-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Numbers 21

    [4] They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; [5] they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"

    [6] Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. [7] The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.

    [8] 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." [9] So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.


        Apparently, Moses could see the impossibility of penetrating Canaan from the south, so he gave up that plan. He took a circuitous route around the eastern frontier of Edom toward the Gulf of Aqabah. The people were frustrated by this backtracking into the wilderness. They began to complain about the desert, lack of water, and food.  This was largely a new generation.  Egypt was not a recent memory, but the people began to complain in a manner much like the previous generation.  Perhaps the great offense here was to call the Manna of the Lord “detestable."

        Hearing these complaints, the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of the people died. The people quickly repented their sin and cried out to Moses to intercede before God for them, which he did. But the answer that came back could hardly have been stranger!  The Lord instructed that all those bitten should look on a bronze snake, which he constructed and placed high on a pole. Those who looked at it were healed.

         The solution was strange for many reasons.  It required Moses to take time amid the emergency to fashion the snake's image.  This would also seem to go against the demand of the Lord that they make no graven image.  The image itself was a detestable one-- a picture of death and an image of evil that went back to the garden.  It must have taken enormous faith for Moses and the others to trust the word of the Lord on this!  They had to trust that an image of death could actually give them life-- because the Lord had ordained it to be so.

         The snake on the pole is a powerful image that is revisited in John’s Gospel.   Jesus declared, “Just 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).   The Gospel calls us as believers to look upon a cross-- the symbol of death-- to find life.  We are called to trust wholly in the sacrificial act of Jesus to find salvation. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

         Of course, some scoff at the cross of Jesus.  They argue that there must be something more intellectually palatable than the death of Jesus in which to find life.  But the Apostle Paul declared, “We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength” (1 Cor. 1:23-25).

           This place in the desert drew Moses and the Israelites closer to a relationship of complete and utter trust in the Lord.  He called them to gaze upon what is the opposite of life to be rescued from death. They only received a temporary rescue. We are called by faith to do the same but for an eternal rescue. 

           Have you come to put faith in the Lord Jesus?  Have you trusted solely in the work of Jesus upon the cross so that you may find life? 


           Lord God, I trust You and You alone.  I put my faith in the work of Your Son Jesus upon the cross.  I trust completely in what happened there for me that I might have eternal life.  Give me the joy of salvation this day.  In Jesus’ name.


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2004, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.