The Book of Numbers (21:4-9) relates the famous episode of the Israelites being punished by God for their impatience and incessant complaining. Having been freed from Egyptian captivity, they begin to quickly long for their former life as they speak out against Moses and the Lord. This after only a little earlier receiving a miraculous stream of water and immediately coming off of a major victory in battle over the Canaanites. The Lord, making His displeasure quickly apparent, sends “fiery” serpents to the Israelite’s camp where many succumb to the bites. The people then plead with Moses to intercede to Yahweh for them. He does and is instructed to mount a bronze seraph on a pole so that those bitten can look upon it and be saved.
The world today has many serpents prowling about it, seeking the ruin of souls. And we let them in! A culture that complains against God or rejects Him outright can count on the Evil One filling the void. When good is called evil and evil is called good, trouble certainly looms. Why do we need healing if sin no longer exists? So, unlike the Israelites, many today do not realize the destruction that surrounds us — a culture of death. Some, coming to see the light through the darkness, or at least longing for it, may seek intercession for their untenable situation. Many others, not even being aware of the mud pit they are in, do not know enough to even call out to their Maker.
Thank goodness we have faithful souls who are modern day Moses’s. They plead day and night unceasingly on behalf of a fallen world — many behind monastery walls, but some who are in our midst daily, quietly imploring the Lord for help. They look up at the one who the Father “for our sake…made him to be sin who did not know sin” (2 Cor 5:21) lifted on a pole and pray for healing personally and corporately. May we, like them and Moses, pray fervently for the Lord’s grace and mercy to change the hearts of those most in need of conversion (including ourselves).