This week we read the Torah section named “Chukat” or “Ordinance” in English. It opens with the laws concerning the red heifer. In Hebrew the word Chok means a commandment that may seem illogical to us but never the less is commanded by G-d. It is said that even King Solomon, in all his wisdom, could not rationalize the commandments of the red heifer. Sometimes we can’t understand with our human reasoning why G-d has said something but still we know it is from Him. This calls for discernment on our part so that we don’t go off on some wild goose chase. Therefore, we must know His word that we not be deceived.
Now I would like to look at a different set of verses found in Numbers 21 where the people complained against Moshe and Aaron. In this incident we see some of the same things come up that we have seen in scripture before. They complained of no water, no bread, they were brought out of Egypt to die in the desert. G-d sent venomous snakes to bite the people. Many of them died. Remember, at this time the people had been in the wilderness for almost 40 years. They had probably become discouraged and discontented with what they saw as a life wasted. They had been looking forward to the Promised Land for years but here they were still in the desert. Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever felt your life was spent looking but never seeming to find your way? Have you thought, “It wasn’t supposed to be this way.” Have you questioned, “What happened to us? Was all this the fault of our leaders?” Then we sometimes fall into complaining and blaming everyone else – someone but ourselves. In our heart of hearts we know the real issue is our own choices that have brought us to this place. Here in our section Moshe uses somewhat of a shock treatment to awaken the people. He builds a large copper snake and puts it on a pole. Everyone who looked up at the snake lived. So what are we to learn from this? Did an idol save the people? No. The copper snake caused them to look up and in that process look to the Father to save them.
In John 3:14 we read where John wrote, “As Moshe lifted up the snake in the wilderness so must the Son of Man be lifted up. Moshe used this copper snake to redirect the people away from their focus on their problems, their situation – their missed choices. Yeshua also can redirect our spirit to look up at the Father rather than sinking in the depression of a life that has gotten off track. Complaining must not be our only action when our lives seem lost but can sometimes be the door through which G-d can redirect our lives, if we will look up and not continue to wallow in our despair. When we fall into the habit of continually complaining what does it say about our opinion of G-d’s provision for us? Is it possible to have total faith in G-d and at the same time complain about our station in life? Looking up to the Father will bring us peace and into the Promised Land of fellowship with the Lover of our souls.