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 wilderness? 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, they lived.
What is it about “complaining” in general and against God in particular that seems to undermine His best for us? The Apostle Peter wrote to Christians in what is modern day Northern Turkey that they should show hospitality without complaining. It wasn’t his concern with the lack of hospitality as much as the presence of complaining. Both here in this story from the book of Numbers and in 1 Peter we see God’s desire to be at work in community. To put it more directly there are unique blessings that come from God when we are His people in community with each other; He will have a people for his own. Complaining is a threat to community and something that our heavenly Father will not tolerate (Ps. Dale).
Thoughts for the day
- What does this passage tell us about God and people?
- What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
- What is one way you can apply this truth to your life today?
- Who can you encourage with this story/message?
Pray (silently) for the people who are seated close to you as you read this.