Have you ever sinned?
Do you ever sin? Of course you do.
The Hebrew people in the Bible sinned all the time too. God had led them out of slavery in Egypt and all the way back to the Promised Land, and, as we learned yesterday, they still couldn’t trust God enough to follow him into that land. That’s sin.
And so God told the people that they would have to stay in the desert for 40 more years. Wandering from place to place, learning to trust God.
Now in the desert there’s not always a lot of food to eat is there? And so God would make food called manna fall down from the sky for the people. It was like little pieces of sweet bread. And every day the people would collect and eat their manna. But after a while the people got sick of the manna. And then they got angry at God and started to complain again. So God punished the people by sending snakes to bite them. Yikes. Listen to what happened next:
Numbers 21:8-9. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
This story is about more than just the Hebrews in the desert. It’s about all of us. It shows how sin has affected every single person and how every single person can be saved.
How did the people sin? (didn’t love and trust God, complaining about God)
What was the punishment for their sin? (snakes and death)
How were the people saved from death? (look at the bronze serpent)
Hundreds of years later, Jesus would connect this story to himself. Listen to what he said in the gospel of John:
John 3:14-15. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Jesus, like the bronze snake, was “lifted up” for us all on the cross. Just like the people had to believe that if they looked at that snake they would live, we too have to believe that if we trust in what Jesus has done for us on the cross we will be forgiven and live.
Jesus ALONE must be what we are trusting in to be saved.
Because of Jesus we can be forgiven of all our sins.
With Jesus we can always trust that God is taking care of us.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Get out the clay or Play-Doh and role it into snakes. Wrap the snakes around sticks or straws. Let your simple “sculptures” be a reminder of simple faith.
Talk about how the only thing the people had to do to be saved was look at the snake and believe. This might be a great opportunity to see if your children want to receive Christ’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
I know that I have sinned, and I believe that you died on the cross for my sins. Thank you for forgiving me so that I can live with God forever. I want to receive your eternal life.
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