I was reading the famous story of the Israelites and the Bronze Serpent, a story that Jesus references in John 3 when he says "Just as the serpent was lifted in the desert so must the son of Man be lifted. " The story goes that the Israelites, in typical fashion, were complaining about being in the desert. "They spoke against God and against Moses," according to well, Moses himself, saying, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food." Well, God didn't like this complaining and he promptly sent serpents among the people causing many of them to die. At first glance this seems mean and capricious. After all, can't people have a right to complain or to voice their protest? Well, yes they can but there is a difference between complaining and questioning the providence and justice of God. This act was not just a mere complaint but an act of rebellion. They were suggesting that God, the one who had delivered them from Egypt and Moses, his emissary, were no longer worthy of being their leaders. Let's take a modern example. Let's say that I and a few of my like minded friends decided to storm the White House in protest of its sovereignty. There is a name for this act. It's called treason. The punishment for treason is death. Make no mistake about it. The Israelites were declaring treason on God. God, in protecting his sovereignty, punished the rebels. This is a picture of God's response, by the way, to all sin. All sin is a rebellion against God. It is a way of saying "I don't care what your word says or what you believe. I'm going to do what I want and ignore your rule." Well, we can certainly do that, but the consequence for that rebellion, for that act of treason is death. Sin is serious. We must constantly see it in that light and be thankful that God, in spite of our rebellion, provides a snake in the desert or a Son on a cross to provide grace and life!