Today I read Numbers 21 which is mostly about the people that the Israelites destroyed or conquered. However, in this chapter is also the story about the fiery serpents, although it is a very brief mention, almost a cliff notes version.
The Israelites once again are complaining against Moses and the Lord. They never seem to learn their lesson. This time they are again complaining to Moses about the manna that they have to eat and how much they hate it. Now, in all honesty, I can understand their frustration. I mean eating the same food every single day, breakfast, lunch and dinner for 40 years would get old quick. However, it's also their own fault. They could have been in the promised land by now except for their lack of trust in the Lord.
So, in response to their murmurings, God sent poisonous serpents among them that bit them and caused them to die. They quickly repented and asked Moses to pray. Moses was of course instructed to raise a brass serpent on a pole and anyone bit by a snake would only have to look at it to be healed. Now, it does not tell us this here, but we know from Nephi's account that many of the Israelites would not look at the brass serpent. They thought that there was no way just looking at a pole would save their life. Honestly, I think if I had been bitten I would know I was going to die anyway so why not just look. But the Israelites are a very stubborn people.
It never fails to amaze me what they do next. They always seem to find just the right way to tick off God and cause a new calamity to come down upon them. Of course, in all fairness, we do not know how many of them murmured and perhaps the only ones who would not look at the pole are the ones that were the troublemakers in the first place. We just don't know. What we do know however, is that the Lord loves His people and prepared a way for them to be saved from their own folly, just as He has prepared a way for us to overcome our sins in our day. He sent His son to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us. All we have to do, is take advantage of it. It's a small thing, much like looking at a pole, but just like the ancient Israelites, many will not take advantage of it. Don't make the same mistake they did. Until tomorrow.