Look to the copper serpent

“No temptation has taken you except what is common to men. But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out in order for you to be able to endure it” (1 Cor 10:13).

At its rate of infection and magnitude, the novel coronavirus seems to be outperforming all other diseases in our lifetime. But, as the wise King Solomon noted, nothing is new under the sun (Ec 1:9), for the Black Plague and the Spanish flu in past epochs, dwarfed the coronavirus. So, yes, we have had pandemics of greater proportions. Much discourse has surrounded the coronavirus as something engineered, a larger part of a conspiracy theory. On the other hand, some have posited that the virus is Earth’s way of retaliating against man’s misuse and abuse of its natural resources. Whatever the case, one thing is sure, the real solution to diseases does not rest with man. Where then does it rest?

Look to the copper serpent

The serpent has long been used in Greek mythology and adapted to our day as the sign of the medical profession, because of the duality it provides in its venom and anti-venom. The Bible, to which many subscribe in this and other parts of the world, relates that, while in the wilderness, the Israelites started complaining bitterly about their lot in life and how Moses carried them in the wilderness to kill them off. This level of ingratitude angered God, who had been providing for the needs of his people through manna as bread and quails for meat. The result? Live serpents emerged and started biting the people, killing some of them. They recognised their folly and asked Moses to make intercession for them. This Moses did. God told him to get a copper serpent and mount it on a pole. Miraculously, the people who were dying looked at it and were healed (Numbers 21:4-9).

Our dying condition

Our dying condition is evident. People all around are dying. While we do much to avoid being bitten by the ills of this world — coronavirus being the latest in the mix of things set to harm us — wouldn’t we agree that sooner or later, despite our best efforts, death will overtake us? This in itself underscores the need to ultimately look to a source greater than man — the copper serpent.

Clearly no lifeless serpent of copper had any miraculous power to heal. Such power came from God. We are a fallen race because Adam and Eve turned aside from the course God gave. We tend to be unthankful with our lot in life, much like the Israelites who called the bread God provides contemptible.

We need to reconcile ourselves with God, bearing in mind that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son in order that everyone exercising faith might not be destroyed but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We need to stop putting all our faith in this dying system, for Jesus died for us, and if we look up to him and follow him, then we can have everlasting life and enjoy a time, in the words of Rev 21:3-5, when “death will be no more, neither will pain be anymore. The former things have passed away. And the one seated on the throne said: Write for these words are faithful and true.”

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how the Bible can further be of comfort in these times, please contact Warrick Lattibeaudiere, a minister of religion, at wglatts@yahoo.com.

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