Today's passage: Numbers 21
- Today's chapter begins and ends with military victories for Israel.
- The victory in verses 1-3 are in the same place Israel had been defeated after the spies gave the bad report and the nation doubted God's promise to take them into the land. The time of their wandering in the wilderness was coming to a close.
- The victories toward the end of the chapter (Verses 21-35) detail the beginning of Israel's capture of land and settling in cities. These territories are all east of the Jordan River.
- In the midst of all this victory, Israel complains.
- The death brought about through the bites of these snakes was a judgment against Israel's sin. If the people looked at the bronze serpent, which had been lifted up, they would be spared of the judgment.
- Jesus compared himself with the bronze serpent (John 3:14-15). We deserve the righteous judgment of God because of our sin. All those who “look” to Jesus in faith will be spared!
Questions to consider:
- What are your thoughts concerning the complaints of Israel in the wilderness? Why are they frustrating? How does our perspective cause us to see their complaining and fair-weather approach to God?
- In what ways are we tempted to do the same thing (Even falling at times)? How would we think about our own reactions (Or grumblings) if we were able to look back on our own lives with the big picture of history and God's redemption in mind?
- What does it mean to “look” to Jesus and live? How does simply “looking” affirm the truth that we are saved by God's grace, through faith in Christ alone and not by our own works?