Bible passages for tomorrow’s service

Bronze serpent 2

Numbers 17:1-13

The budding of Aaron’s staff

17 [The Lord said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and get twelve staffs from them, one from the leader of each of their ancestral tribes. Write the name of each man on his staff. On the staff of Levi write Aaron’s name, for there must be one staff for the head of each ancestral tribe. Place them in the tent of meeting in front of the ark of the covenant law, where I meet with you. The staff belonging to the man I choose will sprout, and I will rid myself of this constant grumbling against you by the Israelites.’

So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and their leaders gave him twelve staffs, one for the leader of each of their ancestral tribes, and Aaron’s staff was among them. Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant law.

The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron’s staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from the Lord’s presence to all the Israelites. They looked at them, and each of the leaders took his own staff.

10 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Put back Aaron’s staff in front of the ark of the covenant law, to be kept as a sign to the rebellious. This will put an end to their grumbling against me, so that they will not die.’ 11 Moses did just as the Lord commanded him.

12 The Israelites said to Moses, ‘We shall die! We are lost, we are all lost! 13 Anyone who even comes near the tabernacle of the Lord will die. Are we all going to die?’

Numbers 21:1-15

Arad destroyed

21 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. Then Israel made this vow to the Lord: ‘If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroytheir cities.’ The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.

The bronze snake

They travelled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go round Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!’

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.’ So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

The journey to Moab

10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab towards the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley. 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord says:

‘. . . Zahabin Suphah and the ravines,
the Arnon 15 andthe slopes of the ravines
that lead to the settlement of Ar
and lie along the border of Moab.’

John 3:10-14

10 ‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven – the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

(Photo is of The serpentine cross sculpture (the Brazen Serpent Monument) on Mount Nebo. It was created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni, and is symbolic of the bronze serpent created by Moses in the wilderness and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified )

 

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