For most friends who are dearest to me, my story is known. And lately things of my former wedded life have come back, not to haunt me, but to comfort me. I say this in the knowing that no matter what I presently have in the fire, the wood ash is still valuable.
This year with all the rain we’ve had, it has been extremely difficult to keep two snakes out of my backyard garden, and in the last few days they have scared me so much. Yikes! But they are more scared of the lady, me, who walks around with the pointed shovel, wearing the huge straw hat. I know though, that I haven’t had many grasshoppers eating up my seedlings this year. I have the snakes to thank for that. But man, they are disturbing!
Speaking with someone who studies animalism, I’d probably be told that because of my sightings of these reptiles it means my life will be transformed significantly (hence the shedding of skin) or that seeing snakes is a reminder to stay grounded. I am familiar with these beliefs, because I’ve been told this before by people who are deep students of the natural world. But for me and what I believe, snakes are scary, yes, but, likewise useful. And on the other hand, I’m reminded of this verse in the Bible.
Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus said this:
“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.” -John 3 vv.14-15
The comparison that Jesus uses to a snake is astonishing! But when we go back to the Old Testament (OT), we can then see that He is referring to Numbers 21 vv. 4-9, as a Type of himself. I am not going to include these verses here, but I’d encourage you to read them to understand the parallels.
I’m often asked about the meaning of verse eight in Numbers 21. Those who ask me for an explanation are often confused by this. There have been many times that I too have been perplexed. But in deep study, my simple response is this–The people are bitten, and the bronze serpent represents Jesus who can strip their bodies of the poison within. The bronze serpent is lifted as Christ has been lifted up for us! He is the provider of all we need. In addition, this event of the OT symbolizes the sacrifice of Christ and the faith we must hold on to. Jesus told Nicodemus that in our own belief in Him we too will be lifted up from our sinful flesh (Romans 8:3). Just as the Israelites were saved by looking at the bronze snake, so are we, when we put our hope and faith in Jesus Christ. We must stay steadfast to remain in our conviction, and not forget who Christ is and what He has done for us. I say this because the people forgot what God did for them. In their rebelliousness, they later treated the bronze snake as an idol (2 Kings 18 v. 4).
There were moments transpired in my wedded life, I felt were unbearable. That they were so hurtful! But now events of the current have shown me that what I’ve been through offered me the precious gifts of maturity, wisdom, intellect, intuition, forgiveness, simplicity, and proper care of myself and of others. I see now that the recent emotional pain of those who I felt were the cause of my distress back then, is more than I could ever imagine. My heart, saved by Jesus Christ has healed from all that. So much so that I can only pray for those I blamed, who now are going through many trials. I pray mostly that they would come to know Christ the way I do. To be lifted up by His grace and glory, where all anger and bitterness disappear. And the poison of hatred toward each other fades.
I’m older now and every day my wisdom grows. The deep brown hair of my youth now turns grayer, it seems, at every blink. But why must I even be concerned with that? For as C.H. Spurgeon preached:
“And now ye that have grown grey in iniquity, whose hairs might rather be black than white, if they showed forth your character, for it has been blackened by years of vice. Remember there is the same Christ for big sinners as for little sinners; the same Christ for grey heads as for babes; the same Christ for poor as for rich; the same Christ for chimney sweeps as for monarchs; the same Christ for prostitutes as for saints: “Whosoever.” I use broad words that I may take a broad range, and sweep the whole universe of sinners through—whosoever looketh to Christ shall live. And remember it does not say that if they looked but little they should not live.”
If I see those snakes in the garden tomorrow or perhaps a different day, after the fright has worn off, still, my only desire is to thank Jesus, repeatedly, for what He has done for me.
Reader, when we seek His love and protection, we’ll always find it.
Growing together, inside, and out,
Spurgeon, C.H. (1857). The mysteries of the brazen serpent. Retrieved from The Spurgeon Library | The Mysteries of the Brazen Serpent
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.