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Posted: Friday 20 January, 2017 at 9:06 AM

If I be lifted up from the earth

Bertram Charles

    Scripture: John 12: Verse 32 

     

    After the Israelites defeated King Arad by the Red Sea and as they continued on their journey through the land of Edom to the land of Canaan, they became very discouraged and annoyed; they fretted and complained because of the length of the march of going around Edom instead of marching directly and straight into the land of Canaan.  

    As they traversed through the wilderness, they became distressed, impatient and angry because of the difficulties, trials, tribulations and troubles along the way to the Promised Land. The people spoke against God, who delivered them out of slavery and from under the bondage and heavy yoke of the Egyptians. 

    They spoke against the Lord who went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. When they were hungry, He gave them manna as bread to eat. When they were thirsty, He gave them water from the rock in Horeb to quench their thirst, yet they spoke against God for leading them in such a roundabout way. 

    They criticized and talk about Moses, the servant of God, their leader and liberator, for obeying the Laws of God, for leading and guiding them as the Lord had directed. They asked Moses why he had brought them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no corn and no wheat to make bread and no water to drink. They were forgetful of God’s favour and unmindful of His benefits to them. Their continued murmuring and complaining led to sinning against  God.

     As a result of their sins, the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people to punish them. The fiery serpents’ bites were incurable poison from their venoms. A bite from a serpent was a  death sentence. In their suffering and mourning over the deaths of their loved ones, the people approached Moses, acknowledged that they had sinned against God for their fretting and murmuring for being brought out of Egypt.  

    They confessed their sins and asked Moses to pray to God that He take away the plague of the serpents from them. Moses interceded and God directed him to make a serpent of brass in the likeness of a real serpent, set it upon  a pole, on a high place, so that it might be seen by all in the camp; that everyone who was bitten by the real serpent, when he or she looked up on the brazen serpent, would be cured of the bites and live. 

    The lifting of the brazen serpent on a pole for the Israelites was symbolic of the lifting up of Christ upon the cross. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness on a pole so it was and is necessary that the Son of man be lifted up on the cross, so that everyone who believes in Him, trusts Him, relies on Him shall not perish but have eternal .life.  (John 3: 14.)  
         
    Some of us like the Israelites, travelling through the wilderness of this world are often bitten by fiery serpents, discouraged, depressed or dismayed  because of  hardships, troubles, sickness, obstacles, sufferings, sorrows and tribulations, but when by faith we look to Jesus high and lifted up  on the Cross, we are healed in both body and soul and shall not perish but  have eternal life.  
     
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