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February 20 - Evening

"They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around 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."

- Numbers 21:4-8

Fiery Serpents and the Copper Serpent near Timna’s Copper Mines

When Moses followed the Lord’s instructions to avoid conflict with the Edomites who had refused Israel passage through their land, Israel had no other option accept to turn south and go around Edom. This detour took Israel back deep into the wilderness towards the Red Sea away from the Promised Land which they had actually entered to fight a battle with the Canaanites who had attacked and taken some Israelites captive (Numbers 21:1-3). Israel went north into the Negev to destroy the city of Arad while in the Promised Land on a rescue mission. With the taste of victory in their mouths they were not pleased when Moses turned them away and led them south towards the Red Sea, or the Gulf of Aqaba.

With this reversal in momentum and lack of water the people “grew impatient”, “spoke against God and against Moses,” and called the manna ballehem haqqeloqel, or “contemptible, worthless bread,” which is a word from the Hebrew verb qalal which means to consider something lightly, inconsequential and of no value. It basically means to curse something as worthless. Throughout the book of Numbers the pattern is consistent: When the people complain, the Lord sends judgment. And, so it is in this case, which is also the last documented case of Israel’s complaining about food and longing instead for Egypt on record.
The punishment came in the form of “fiery” serpents, or sarap serpents, which means “fiery,” or “burning,” which most likely referred to the burning inflammation the snakes’ venom caused their victims who were bit and dying. Moses interceded for the dying people and God told Moses to do something shocking. Moses was ordered to create an image of a serpent out of bronze (or, copper). In the midst of a culture that is to have no images, the Lord commands the leader to fashion an image of a snake, which is an animal used to symbolize sin and evil. The image of a serpent had been associated with Satan since the Garden of Eden. As Moses is fashioned this image the fiery serpents were still moving among the people and the people are still being bitten and dying.
When the copper serpent is completed Moses is told to lift it up on a pole so that all who look at it will be healed and live. It should be noted that this is far from the sacrificial system and the ordinary tabernacle rituals which involve touching real things such as animals and blood, eating real food such as meat or bread, burning tangible incense or wood with real fire, or saying prayers and speaking real words of confession. The afflicted Israelites are to look at the snake on the pole to be healed of their deadly burning inflictions. The serpent is lifted up on the pole which means two things: one, anyone can see it; two, no one can touch it. This healing can only be accessed by sight. The person must willingly desire to be healed and then look at the serpent. There is no physical touching of a goat’s head, no physical smell of incense, no taste of the bread and no hearing of the priestly blessing. There is only the willingness to look and see to be healed.

Jesus compares himself to this serpent on the pole in John 3:14-15 when he compares “looking” at the serpent to “believing” in the son of man. Parallels to Jesus the savior and the serpent on the pole are extensive.
It should be noted that these events occurred near Timna which is 15 miles north of the Gulf of Aqaba of the Red Sea (Eilat). At Timna there is a copper mining site of the Egyptians where excavations have uncovered mining shafts and smelting facilities. An Egyptian temple here at the base of the Pillars of Solomon was converted into a shrine by the Midianites who used curtain coverings similar to the Tabernacle of Israel. In 1969 archaeologists found a five inch cooper serpent in the holy place of this shrine. These archaeological discoveries give the impression that the passing by of the Israelites with their Tabernacle and the incident with the fiery serpents and the cooper serpent on the pole left its impression on the people of this area. Not to mention the fact that copper was readily available at this stopping point of Israel’s wilderness journeys.
Deiknumi (Gr) – Show (Eng) – deiknumi is a Greek word that means “to show,” “to exhibit,” and carries the idea of “to show by making known.” Deiknumi is used in Matthew 16:21; 1 Corinthians 12:31; Revelation 22:6.
Do I realize that complaining is both habit forming and it has a tendency to intensify?
Complaining is self-destructive and rarely reverses itself or resolves problems.
I will seek to recognize the positive and resolve problems with action or simple perseverance.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text


To say peaceful words


Spiritual growth and production in church programs and activities
Social Justice

In Capernaum the synagogue where Jesus spoke in Luke 4:31 can still be seen. 84 feet away from the synagogue is the remains of Peter's house where Jesus went after the synagogue service in Luke 4:31-43.
The cycles of society in the Book of Judges.

Someone to Quote

"Sound doctrine does not enter into a hard and disobedient heart." - Justin Martyr, 160 AD

Something to Ponder

These are some common phrases familiar to most English speaking Americans that originate with the English translation of the Bible and are statements from Scripture:
The salt of the earth
Seek and ye shall find
A wolf in sheep's clothing
The faith to move mountains
The blind leading the blind
Do not throw pearls before swine
Eat, drink, and be merry
The straight and narrow
A good Samaritan
Sweating blood
Fire and brimstone
An eye for an eye
A land flowing with milk and honey
The apple of my eye
Pride goes before a fall
Woe is me
A drop in the bucket
Holier than thou
Like a lamb to the slaughter
Feet of clay
The handwriting is on the wall
We reap what we sow
A thorn in the side
Nothing new under the sun
The fat of the land
All things to all men

Here’s a Fact

In 732 BC Judah’s king Ahaz had asked Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser for help and submitted to Assyria by paying tribute out of the temple and worshipping their gods (2 Kg.16:7)
In 705 BC Assyrian King Sargon died and was replaced by Sennacherib.  
At this time 2 Kings 18:7-8 says the Lord was with Judah’s King Hezekiah (Ahaz’s son) who rebelled against Sennacherib and invaded the Philistines. The annals of Sennacherib record King Hezekiah by name a couple of places when it says he took the Philistine King Padi (or Padiah), of Ekron, captive and imprisoned him in Jerusalem. “The priests, noblemen, and people of Ekron who Padiah their King (holding the faith and worship of Assyria) had placed in chains of iron, and unto Hezekiah King of Judah had delivered him and had acted towards the deity with hostility.”
Later, Sennacherib writes that he plundered Hezekiah’s cities and restored Padi (Padiah) to his throne in Ekron, Philistia: “His (Hezekiah’s) cities, which I had plundered, I separated from his land and gave them to Mitinti, king of Ashdod, Padi, king of Ekron and Zilli, king of Gaza, and diminished his land.” (Details here, here and here)


"Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing."
- Proverbs 20:4

Coach’s Corner

There is a time to remember and learn. There is a time to forget and let go.

2 Kings 16:7
New International Version (NIV)
Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, “I am your servant and vassal. Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”
2 Kings 18:7-8
New International Version (NIV)
And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
Matthew 16:21
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
1 Corinthians 12:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.
Love Is Indispensable
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.
Revelation 22:6
New International Version (NIV)
John and the Angel
The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”
Numbers 21:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
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 destroy their 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.
John 3:12-18
New International Version (NIV)
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, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Numbers 10
New International Version (NIV)
The Silver Trumpets
10 The Lord said to Moses: “Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out. When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the tent of meeting. If only one is sounded, the leaders—the heads of the clans of Israel—are to assemble before you. When a trumpet blast is sounded, the tribes camping on the east are to set out. At the sounding of a second blast, the camps on the south are to set out. The blast will be the signal for setting out. To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets, but not with the signal for setting out.
“The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come. When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the Lord your God and rescued from your enemies. 10 Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed festivals and New Moon feasts—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Lord your God.”
The Israelites Leave Sinai
11 On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the covenant law. 12 Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran. 13 They set out, this first time, at the Lord’s command through Moses.
14 The divisions of the camp of Judah went first, under their standard. Nahshon son of Amminadab was in command. 15 Nethanel son of Zuar was over the division of the tribe of Issachar, 16 and Eliab son of Helon was over the division of the tribe of Zebulun. 17 Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out.
18 The divisions of the camp of Reuben went next, under their standard. Elizur son of Shedeur was in command. 19 Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was over the division of the tribe of Simeon, 20 and Eliasaph son of Deuel was over the division of the tribe of Gad. 21 Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.
22 The divisions of the camp of Ephraim went next, under their standard. Elishama son of Ammihud was in command. 23 Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was over the division of the tribe of Manasseh, 24 and Abidan son of Gideoni was over the division of the tribe of Benjamin.
25 Finally, as the rear guard for all the units, the divisions of the camp of Dan set out under their standard. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was in command. 26 Pagiel son of Okran was over the division of the tribe of Asher, 27 and Ahira son of Enan was over the division of the tribe of Naphtali. 28 This was the order of march for the Israelite divisions as they set out.
29 Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”
30 He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.”
31 But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.”
33 So they set out from the mountain of the Lord and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest. 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
“Rise up, Lord!     May your enemies be scattered;     may your foes flee before you.”
36 Whenever it came to rest, he said,
“Return, Lord,     to the countless thousands of Israel.”
Leviticus 23
New International Version (NIV)
The Appointed Festivals
23 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.
The Sabbath
“‘There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a sabbath to the Lord.
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’”
Offering the Firstfruits
The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour mixed with olive oil—a food offering presented to the Lord, a pleasing aroma—and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted or new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
The Festival of Weeks
15 “‘From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the Lord. 18 Present with this bread seven male lambs, each a year old and without defect, one young bull and two rams. They will be a burnt offering to the Lord, together with their grain offerings and drink offerings—a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 19 Then sacrifice one male goat for a sin offering and two lambs, each a year old, for a fellowship offering. 20 The priest is to wave the two lambs before the Lord as a wave offering, together with the bread of the firstfruits. They are a sacred offering to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you are to proclaim a sacred assembly and do no regular work. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.
22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”
The Festival of Trumpets
23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”
The Day of Atonement
26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.”
The Festival of Tabernacles
33 The Lord said to Moses, 34 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord’s Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days. 35 The first day is a sacred assembly; do no regular work. 36 For seven days present food offerings to the Lord, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present a food offering to the Lord. It is the closing special assembly; do no regular work.
37 (“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing food offerings to the Lord—the burnt offerings and grain offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings required for each day. 38 These offerings are in addition to those for the Lord’s Sabbaths and in addition to your gifts and whatever you have vowed and all the freewill offerings you give to the Lord.)
39 “‘So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days; the first day is a day of sabbath rest, and the eighth day also is a day of sabbath rest. 40 On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 Live in temporary shelters for seven days: All native-born Israelites are to live in such shelters 43 so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”
44 So Moses announced to the Israelites the appointed festivals of the Lord.

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