“From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And 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. And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.”
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God provided manna in the wilderness on a daily basis to His people for forty years. This daily bread saved their lives but as time went on they took it for granted and even despised it. They began to crave the food they had when they were slaves in Egypt. They called God’s food “worthless”. What the people did not realize is that while God was providing bread to sustain their life, He was also protecting them from constant, unseen dangers (the serpents) which would have been round about their camp on a daily basis. These fiery serpents have a venom that is painful, deadly and of which there is no cure. God used nature to teach His people about obedience. After the people repented from their rebelliousness, God provided them with an unlikely cure: a bronze serpent set on a pole, that whoever is bitten and dying should look upon it and live. A cure of faith.
Again, the physical teaching the spiritual.
We too have been saved by Jesus who was raised up, like the bronze serpent, that whoever should believe in Him will have eternal life. We may grumble and complain that God, in our eyes, is not taking care of us properly and we take His daily manna for granted. May each day be one of thankfulness for the great gift that has saved our lives and may we give God and Christ the praise and glory they are due.