Numbers 21:4-9 & 2 Kings 18:1-5
When a person’s heart is intent on rebellion and full of discontentment, even the best of gifts from the Lord can lose their savor; nothing will fully satisfy until the heart is made right.
The Israelites openly expressed their dissatisfaction to God and Moses about the monotonous diet of manna they had been eating and the lack of water during this lengthy journey through the deserts. They described their food supply as “miserable,” thereby deploring and degrading that which God had so graciously given to them for some forty years. In response to the people’s uprising, the Lord sent forth “fiery serpents,” whose poisonous venom soon resulted in death to the many who were bitten.
Read Numbers 21:4-5:
- Have you ever found yourself feeling impatient with God? How did you handle it?
- In what ways do we sometimes take God’s blessings for granted?
- How can we maintain a spirit of gratitude, even during difficult times?
Read Numbers 21:6-9:
- Why do you think God chose a snake as a symbol for the Israelites’ healing?
- What do you think the serpent on the staff symbolizes?
- How does this story foreshadow Jesus’ crucifixion?
Read 2 Kings 18:1-5:
- Why did the Israelites begin to worship the bronze serpent?
- What are some examples of modern-day “bronze serpents” that people might turn into idols?
- Why do you think King Hezekiah was able to recognize the idolatry of the bronze serpent, while the Israelites had not?
Taking it Home:
- Have you ever found yourself making an idol out of something that was originally intended as a symbol of God’s provision or power?
- Are there areas in your life where you tend to complain or grumble, even when things are going relatively well? How can you cultivate a more grateful attitude?
Ways to Pray:
- Adoration: Praise God for being a healer, a protector, a provider, and a comforter.
- Contrition: Repent of any bitterness or complaining that you might be struggling with.
- Thankfulness: Praise God for the gift of His Son, Jesus, and for the way Moses’ bronze serpent foreshadows His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.
- Supplication: Ask God to provide healing and comfort to those who are struggling with physical or emotional ailments, and to help them trust in His power to save.
Additional Scriptures to Engage with this week:
- Luke 5:17-32
- Psalm 78
- Deuteronomy 8
- Jeremiah 10:6-16
- Acts 8:4-24
- Galatians 3:1-14