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The Thing Became Sin (Numbers 21:8-9)

Introductory Thoughts

The Israelites were being snakebitten with no hope of living from these bites. They had sinned against the Lord and suffered the consequences. That is, until the Lord gave Moses a plan. Moses was to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole. Those who were bitten could look upon that serpent and live. There was nothing special about the serpent on the pole. It was neither supernatural nor sinful by nature. It was merely a brasen serpent fashioned with man’s hands. Years later, although that serpent was not sinful in itself, it became a stumblingblock to the people of God (2 Kings 18:4). This story offers us a very important lesson: there are many things in this life that are not sinful in and of themselves, but those things which are misused will usually turn sinful.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): A tree can become a sinful object when man uses it to make an idol (Isaiah 44:14-17). Israel carried the ark (furniture from the tabernacle) into battle thinking it would help them. To show them how wrong they were, God allowed the ark to be captured by the enemy (1 Samuel 4:1-5; 10-11).
  • (For everyone): What are some things that you can think of that might not be sinful in and of themselves but could become sin when used improperly?
  • Have you allowed certain things in this world, although not sinful by themselves, to become stumblingblocks in your walk with God?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to keep you from misusing what He has given.
  • Thank God for the wisdom provided in His word.