KEY THOT: The Lord did not remove the snakes that bit the people, but instead provided a fiery serpent for those who were bitten to save those who were bitten. God will not remove the consequences of our action but He will provide a way out for those who sin.
Israel complained and murmured against God’ and His servant Moses: “We don’t have food and water, and we hate this manna stuff.” Despite God’s provision of the manna, despite the miracle of water supply at Meribah (Num. 20:11), the people were still complaining. So, it was that the Lord didn’t provide water and food—it is just their ungrateful heart caused them fail to appreciate what God has already done for them. So, God removed his hand of protection from Israel and venomous snakes bit them. But as long as the sinful attitude remains, the snakes would continue biting them. But God had provided a cure—by looking up at the fiery serpents for those who repented and trusted Moses’ words: “everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”
When I sin deliberately, God’s protection over me is removed and I become exposed to attacks by the Great Serpent in the form of diseases, demonization and, in extreme cases, even death. Even though Israel is already a people chosen by grace, they were nevertheless subject to the law of consequences: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
I would be foolish to think that just because I’m a believer that I will escape the consequences of my sinful attitude and action. However, God will heal us of the consequences of our sin if we look up to Christ, of whom the fiery serpent pointed to.
I must always be thankful for what God has already provided: His Spirit and His word (written in the Bible and spoken to me through God’s preacher/teacher) are my spiritual food and water. I must be careful about murmuring against lack of food (Word) and drink (Spirit), for God has already provided us abundantly in this aspect. No one needs to starve spiritually. An thankful attitude is God's will for our life: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:18).
Father, I thank You that You have provided for all that I need—spiritually, emotionally and physically. Help me to be grateful and contented for what You have done in my life and not become envious of others. Amen.