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Moses and the serpent of brass

Moses erects a serpent of brass to save the rebellious Israelites dying from snake bites.
Contributed by Moody Publishers
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The people of Israel were leaving the land of Egypt. God had set them free from a life of slavery and was leading them to a new land He had promised them. – Slide 1
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Moses had been chosen by the Lord to lead the people. God had also promised to take care of all their needs along the way. If they obeyed God He would bless them but disobedience would bring troubles. – Slide 2
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When they came to Kadesh in the Desert of Paran they pitched their tents. Then they did something that would cost them 40 years of delay and wandering in the wilderness. – Slide 3
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When they heard reports of how hard it would be to take the Promised land of Canaan they would not trust God’s promise to help them. They refused to go on to the Promised Land. They even threatened to choose another leader and go back to Egypt. – Slide 4
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So, because of their unbelief God told Moses, ‘These men who have seen my Glory and my miracles will not enter the Promised Land but their children will.’ – Slide 5
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Turning their backs on God caused all kinds of problems for the people of Israel. They could not find water and they and their animals became very thirsty. – Slide 6
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They complained bitterly to Moses, ‘Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? We would rather be dead than in this terrible place.’ – Slide 7
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Moses spoke with the Lord about their complaint and God told him what to do. ‘Gather the people together and speak to the rock and it will pour out water.’ – Slide 8
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Moses obeyed and gathered everyone before the big rock outside the camp. Then he struck the rock with his rod. – Slide 9
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God caused sparkling water to stream out of the rock so everyone and the cattle could drink. But this was not the only problem the people faced as they moved on through the wilderness. – Slide 10
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Ahead of the them was the stronghold of the Edomites. Fierce warriors who swooped down on anyone who came near. – Slide 11
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Moses sent messengers to the King of Edom to ask permission to travel along the King's Highway through their land. ‘We will not go through your fields or drink water from your wells,’ they promised. – Slide 12
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The King of Edom prided himself on his power not his mercy. His answer was clear. – Slide 13
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‘If you dare step on my land I will attack you with the sword.’ – Slide 14
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So Moses led the people away from Edom until they came to Mount Horeb. Then they faced an even greater danger. – Slide 15
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This time the Canaanite army swarmed towards them. – Slide 16
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Helpless against such a mighty army the people turned to God in their need. And God was ready to help. – Slide 17
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A terrible battle was fought and God gave Israel a tremendous victory. – Slide 18
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Yet in spite of all God’s help and goodness these people would not trust their lives to God’s care. As they continued their journey around the Kingdom of Edom they began to grumble. – Slide 19
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The complained how tired they were of travelling and how fed up they were of searching for water. They even complained about the manna, the daily food God sent them. – Slide 20
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Not only did they say mean things about Moses but they spoke out against God. So God decided to teach them that rebellion is sin and must be punished. – Slide 21
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Suddenly fiery serpents swarmed in from the desert among the terrified Israelites. – Slide 22
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People tried to run away but the snakes were everywhere. There was no escape. – Slide 23
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Many Israelites were dying from the deadly snake bites. – Slide 24
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The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have disobeyed God and spoken against Him. Please ask God to take the serpents away.’ – Slide 25
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So Moses prayed and the Lord told him what to do. ‘Make a fiery serpent of brass and put it on a pole. Everyone who has been bitten who looks at the brass serpent will live.’ – Slide 26
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It happened just as God said. Those who trusted God and looked at the brass serpent lived. Those who refused to look all died. – Slide 27
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As God provided a way for the Israelites to be free of the penalty of their sins so God has provided a way for us to be forgiven too. – Slide 28
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When Jesus died on the cross the meaning of the brass serpent became clear. Jesus said, ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.’ John 3:14-14 – Slide 29
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