Have you ever felt utterly hopeless? Did someone step in when you could not help yourself and lend a hand? Why do you think they helped you?
THE READING (Num. 21:4-9)
Israel tried to advance toward Canaan from the south, but they were refused passage through Edom, so they had to retreat by way of the Red Sea (the Gulf of Aqabah), a region notorious for venomous snakes.
Discuss these questions to get a better understanding of the text.
- What was Israel’s sin? Why do you think they were tempted to do this?
- God punished Israel by sending fiery serpents that bit the people, so that many of them died. Others got sick. What do you think “fiery” means?
- How did the people react to the punishment? Do you see anything different in their reaction compared to previous accounts?
- What was the remedy for Israel’s predicament? What did God have Moses do? What did the people have to do?
- Read 2 Kings 18:1-4. What happened to the bronze serpent?
- What do you think this story means?
Discuss these questions to envision what it would be like to practically live out this passage.
- Do you ever get impatient with God? Give some examples.
- God used pain to draw his people closer. C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pain.” How does pain help us listen to God?
- What was the basis for the Israelites’ healing? Did they do anything to deserve it?
- Read John 3:14-17. What are some parallels between the bronze serpent and the crucifixion of Christ?