It’s been a busy day; we are starting confirmation preparation in our parish tonight. But, I noticed we had an Old Testament reading for the day – Numbers 21.4b-9. Not a very pleasant one. The people of Israel complain against God and Moses. God proceeds to send snakes among the people to bite them and kill them. The people are only rescued when Moses prays and makes a bronze serpent for them to look at.
This passage of course gets picked up in the New Testament; however, I didn’t have a lot of time to comment. I thought to myself “If there was one quick thing I could say about this passage in the brief time I have to write, what would it be?” And, what I came up with was “I’m glad God doesn’t send snakes at people anymore.” Or, at least I don’t hear about frequent snake attacks at churches or synagogues or anywhere else for that matter. Frankly, I complain against God sometimes. I’m not proud of that, but I might as well be honest. Yet I am deathly afraid of snakes. I’m not even sure it would take a snake bite to kill me, just seeing enough of them at one time might do the trick. (Never could have starred in Raiders of the Lost Ark I guess, even though I have Harrison Ford good looks). I know according to the story this didn’t permanently get Israel in line, but I think this might have done it for me, that is if I wasn’t one of those that initially died from snake bite.