1.           The book of Numbers tells us a unique story.  It is a story about how the People of God were complaining bitterly about the living conditions in the desert as they were on their way to the Promised Land.

2.           At first, they were quite happy to escape the heavy hand of the Egyptians and sang songs of rejoicing when they were on their way out of Egypt, soon as they began their journey to the homeland God had promised…they began to murmur and complain.

3.           Instead of believing the promises of God, they were overcome by the difficulties they encountered.

4.           Finally, mutiny took root and the people began to form a "Back to Egypt Committee!"   They wanted to get rid of Moses and get a new leader who would take them back into the bondage of Egypt. 

5.           This is where the story in Numbers takes an amazing turn. 

6.           The patience of God had been tested over and over again.   Moses had pleaded for the people time and time again.  It became too much.   It was tearing the soul of the nation apart.  Then this:

§         "The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food." Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died"
(Num. 21:5-6).

7.           One of the most basic but well illustrated concepts in the Bible is that there are consequences to sin.  Up until then, the Israelites had simply spoken against their leaders.  But now, they spoke against God.  That was a mistake.  Can you imagine the audacity and the arrogance it took for one puny human race to speak against God?  Can you image today, how folks question and speak out against the Lord?

8.           Their sin cost them dearly.  We are told that many of the people of Israel died.  Now keep in mind that we are talking here about approximately two to four million people in a twelve square mile area.  Most or all of the people were bitten by poisonous serpents.  What a scene that must have been! 

9.           The event that took place in the wilderness several thousand years ago, is still taking place today.  People are still being bitten by the deadly sting of sin.


A thirty-seven-year-old New York man was a low-life crook, the kind who would mug little old ladies for the cash in their purses.

But on Sunday, July 21, 1996, this crook messed with the wrong little old lady. According to the Chicago Tribune, the mugger bumped into a ninety-four-year-old woman in Greenwich Village and snatched her wallet. The NYPD later picked him up, and as they drove him to the station, police lieutenant Robert McKenna told the suspect, "You just robbed the mother of the biggest mob chieftain in New York."

The ninety-four-year-old woman was Yolanda Gigante, and her son is Vincent Gigante, described by authorities as head of the Genovese mob, the nation's most powerful Mafia family.

The police lieutenant later said, "When the perp heard that, he just slumped down into the back seat of the radio car. He had a sort of stunned, resigned look on his face, sort of saying, 'How could I be so stupid?"'

Sin has a deadly bit.

10.      No matter how we take the details of the story in Numbers, the really incredible thing is in how the story continues:

§         "The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live."  So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live"
(Num. 21:7-9).



1.      Once the people realized the severity of the situation, they went to Moses and said, "We Have Sinned" (v. 7a)

2.      No matter what else we do, until we get to the point in our lives where we are willing to say, "I have sinned," we cannot be saved!

3.      Instead of owning up to sin, some people rationalize it.  Not too long ago, the newspaper reported that a man was arrested for stealing a car parked at a cemetery.  When he stood before the judge, he said, "Since the car was parked at the cemetery, I just assumed that the driver was dead."

4.      The cure for sin is to lay our cards on the table and reveal the true nature of our sin problem.

5.      God wants us to sincerely confess our sins to Him.


1.               The people were dropping like flies in the desert.  They needed help.  So Moses prayed for the people.

2.               They realized that their only hope was God.  Our hope for our sin problem is not found in a pill, a bottle of booze, or a magic potion…it is only found in God!

3.               How did God help them?  He had Moses make a poisonous serpent, and had the people look at it in order for them to live.

4.               In the Bible, the serpent was a symbol of sin.  Interestingly, God used a serpent to administer His judgment, and He also used a serpent as an instrument of grace.  This sounds confusing at first, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  For the Bible tells us, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. 5:21).  Jesus took on our sin, but He also became our instrument of grace.

5.               This wilderness event, in my opinion, is a prophetic look at how we are cured from sin today and receive salvation. 

6.               When we are bitten by sin, there are no bronze serpents on a pole that we are to look at to be healed…but we do have Jesus to look to.

7.               Salvation and the cure for sin are found in Jesus.  We can be saved by looking to the Savior. 

§         "And just 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 3:14-15].

8.               Now think about this a second.  The only stipulation on these people in Numbers was simply to look at the serpent to live.  Now these Israelites could have tried all kinds of homemade remedies; they could have bathed their wounds with tears of remorse; they could have put on the ointment of religion; they could have bandaged themselves with good works.  You know what would have happened?  Those snake bites of sin would have killed them.

9.               The people who died, did not die because they were bitten, they died because they did not look.

10.           Can you just go back several thousand years and imagine the scene.  Here's a man who had been wonderfully cured by looking at that serpent.  He goes from tent to tent trying to get other people to look.  One man says, "Oh, I'm too sick, I'm too far gone.  Not even that raised serpent could heal me."

11.           He goes to the next tent.  He says, "Sir, if you will just look you'll be saved," and the man says, "Well, I don't feel like this snake bite is all that bad.  Matter of fact, I haven't been bitten as bad as some people.  I've only been bitten once."

12.           This man goes to the third tent.  He says, "Sir, if you'll just look you'll be saved."  The man says, "Well, when I get well I'll look.  But I'm just not going to look till I get that healing feeling.  But I tell you, when I get my life straightened out, and I get over this snake bite, then I'll look."

13.           He goes to a fourth tent, and a man says, "Oh, I don't believe in that brass serpent theory.  I don't buy into that.  I don't see any relationship or connection between a serpent raised up on a pole and this snake bite that's killing me.  I'm not interested."

14.           Now these conversations may sound ridiculous to you, but you know the world is full of people who give those same kind of excuses day in and day out as to why they will not look to the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

15.           At this moment in your life, are you making excuses on why you are not looking to Jesus to live?

16.           Has Satan convinced you…that you don't need Jesus…that sin is harmless…and that in the end everything is going to be ok?

17.           Many people died in the desert because they didn't think that the serpent's bit was deadly…For whatever reason, many would not look to live.

18.           If you and I want to live, we must look to Jesus.


1.       In closing, someone once said, "Life is short, death is sure, sin is the cause, Christ is the cure."

2.       If the serpents of life have been biting you…if sin has a hold on your life, the cure is found in Jesus.

3.       Isaiah 45:22 says, "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth.  For I am God, and there is no other."

4.       All it took was one look for the people to live.

5.       Those folks did not have to wait, pray, or pay for this salvation.  The moment they looked became the minute they lived.

6.       Salvation is available right now.  In a few seconds, we are going to sing an invitation song.  Come down this aisle and meet Christ face to face and look upon Him with eyes of faith, and He will save you by the power of His grace.

7.       Come now and "look and live."