Brazen Serpent | Devotion 3: He who intercedes
As we are wrapping up the story and life of Moses, we come to a strange story and interesting narrative. Here in Numbers chapter 21, we see the story of the bronze serpent and the children of Israel’s salvation from being killed by poisonous snakes due to their grumbling and complaining. In the ESV, it uses the word “pray” in verse number 7 when the Israelites ask Moses for help, but in the Christian Standard Bible, it uses the word “intercede.” This word struck me, as I read in preparation for this devotion, how important for us to have someone who intercedes for us. According to the Pulpit Commentary, this is the first and only time that is recorded that the Israelites asked Moses to intercede to God for them.
Now many of you, much like myself, probably did not know what that word “intercede” actually means. According to the dictionary, interceding is being the mediator between two parties, or to intervene on behalf of another. We can see why the Israelites cried out for help from Moses. Look at the rest of the book of Exodus and Numbers, and we can see time after time the Israelites complain. Time after time, God does provide, and time after time, they go back to complaining. They began to cry out to Moses and to God that their miserable lives would be so much better in bondage to the Egyptians than it would be wandering through the desert, and so God shows them His majesty and power by sending serpents into the camp. Soon enough the Israelites realize their folly and ask for someone to repent for them, they realize that at that moment they do not deserve to be forgiven, they have committed treason unto the Lord, and with that, the punishment should be death. Yet, Moses goes before the Lord and asks for His forgiveness.
This event will rattle through time to when Christ did the same for us. We sinned and have committed High Treason against the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We deserve punishment because of that, yet Christ pays the debt and intercedes for us to His Father. This can be seen in Hebrews 7:22-25, “This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Consistently, Christ is going and interceding on our behalf to His Father, showing Him that once we have come to know Him as our Savior, we are covered in His righteousness.