Summary: We are invited to look to Jesus’sacrificial death on the Cross so that we might live.
Look, and Live! Numbers 21:4-9
Copyright 2006, J. Mark Jones all rights reserved, may be used with credit.
EOLS: We are invited to look by faith at Jesus’ finished work on the cross so that we might be saved.
It’s the most prevalent advice, the common denominator that you see when you go looking for insight and information into snakes and their relationship to human beings. I say it’s good advice!
Stay away from snakes!
Have you ever cringed while watching Steve Erwin catch a Green Mamba barehanded and swing him around and say “y’er aright mate! Isn’t he a bee-auty?”
I read of a man named Bill Haast in preparing for this sermon:
William Bill E. Haast (b. 1910) has been bitten by poisonous snakes more often than any other known human. He has been milking poisonous snakes of their venom since 1948 for medicinal and research purposes. From 1948 until 1985, Haast operated the Miami Serpentarium, a tourist attraction south of Miami, Florida, where he milked poisonous snakes for their venom in front of paying customers. He is now the director of the Miami Serpentarium Laboratories, a facility near Punta Gorda, Florida, which continues to produce venom for medical and research use. Haast physically extracts venom from poisonous snakes by holding them by the head and forcing them to strike a rubber membrane covering a vial. As a result of handling these snakes, Haast had been bitten 170 times as of early 2003.
Soon after opening the Serpentarium Bill Haast began experimenting with building up an acquired immunity to the venom of King, Indian and Cape cobras by injecting himself with gradually increasing quantities of venom he had extracted from his snakes. In 1954 Haast was bitten by a common, or blue, krait. He at first hoped that his immunization to cobra venom would protect him from the krait venom, and he continued with his regular activities for several hours. However, the venom eventually did affect him, and he was taken to a hospital where it took him several days to recover. A krait anti-venom was shipped from India, but when it arrived after a 48-hour flight, Haast refused to take it.
Haast received his first cobra bite less than a year after he started his immunization program. During the 1950s he was bitten by cobras about twenty times. His first King cobra bite was in 1962. (from www.wikipedia.com Bill Haast entry)
Some people are just crazy.
For my purposes, the only good snake is a dead snake! I can handle admiring them on television and behind thick glass, but I don’t want to see them up close! And when I do, I find that double-ought buckshot in a Remington pump will take care of business very nicely!
We spoke last week about the natural “enmity” that is between snakes and men, and how it relates back to the story of creation, when the devil indwelt the body of a snake in order to tempt Eve to disobey God’s direct commandments.
We spoke about the curse that was upon that very animal, and we also spoke about that first glimpse into God’s Plan of Redemption when He said:
(14) So the Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.
(15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
There was absolutely nothing random or chaotic about this scenario. Sin did not catch God by surprise, and His plan was in full force from the beginning. It was the plan of redemption, of His ability and his initiative to reach down and draw all men to Himself.
In that holy moment, just after God himself had killed animals to provide a skin covering for their shameful nakedness, the first mention to mankind of this wonderful plan was formed. God promised that the Seed of the Woman would come forth to crush the head of the deceiver, the enemy of our souls. The Gospel, the Good News was first revealed to man at the very point of His need. In one Holy Moment, we see God’s wrath and judgment come forth, and in the same instant His grace and mercy is revealed.
And the Gospel is continuously preached from the most ancient hour of human history, right through to this very moment. Christ is present with His mercy and grace from Genesis to Revelation as the Word of God progressively reveals God’s plan!
Throughout the Pentateuch, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, we see a “scarlet thread” of blood redemption through a coming deliverer who is graphically pictured and sometimes physically present.