Dealing With Rebellion {Moses, the Snakes, and God}

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Rebellion. Is it really that bad of a thing? Helping our children understand why rebellion is harmful is a step in the right direction on the narrow path of godliness. Take a look at Moses, the snakes, and God. {Deuteronomy 5:32}

Scripture Focus: 1 Samuel 5:23; Numbers 21: 4-9; John 3:14 

Materials: print out pictures of the Star of Life, the rod of Asclepius, and of a caduceusMoses, the snakes, and God

Free Poster:  Click on the image below and print.Moses. the snakes, and GodBackground: The Israelites have been wandering in the desert. Many years have gone by. Moses hit the rock for water instead of speaking to it. Aaron died. The 40 years are almost completed.

Object Lesson on Moses, the Snakes, and God:

{Hold up the picture of the caduceus.}Med_Corps_BCWhere have you seen this symbol before? [on ambulances, at doctors offices, on uniforms, hospitals] Are you sure it’s this symbol? [Yes.] Or is it this symbol?

{Hold up the picture of The Star of Life. The children should be confused, but recognize the similarities of the two symbols.}Star_of_life_2

The United States has this wrong. Other people in the world understand the difference between these two symbols. However, in the US, we sometimes use these symbols interchangeably. But they are different and represent two different ideas.

{Hold up the picture of the caduceus.}

This symbol is called a Caduceus. It was used in Greek Mythology and was the staff carried by the god Hermes. He was the protector of merchants and dealt with trade. The stories also talk about how the staff could put people to sleep, or wake them up. It’s this explanation that confuses people. In 1902, the United States Army made an error and put the caduceus on their medical uniforms instead of what’s called, the Rod of Asclepius. {Hold up the picture of the rod of Asclepius.}medical_symbol

Asclepius was also a Greek god. He was in charge of all health and medicine. Doesn’t that make better sense?

{Hold up the picture of the Star of Life.}

This is what we should see on any type of medical building, transportation, or uniform. This is called the Star of Life. This was designed for the Emergency Medical Service. If you see something that is supposed to represent medicine, and the symbol has wings on it, then you know they have the symbol wrong.

Bible Lesson on Moses, the Snakes, and God:

Historians say that these symbols came from the Greeks, and maybe from people even before the Greek Empire. Actually, we know that the symbol comes from God.

The Israelites had been in the desert for years. We are told in Numbers chapter 20 that Aaron, Moses’ brother had died. Isreal had just defeated the Canaanites and they traveled on. The people became discouraged in their souls and they began to grumble against Moses and God.

The people rebelled by saying, “Why have you brought us this way? There is no food or water, and our souls hate this manna!!” Wow. Manna was the food God had been providing for them to eat.

Because of their rebellion and complaining, God sent poisonous snakes into the camp. They would bite the people and the people would die. Eventually, the people of Israel went to Moses and repented. They said, “We have sinned against God and you. Please pray to the Lord and ask him to take away the serpents.”

Moses did pray, but God did not take away the serpents. Instead, he told Moses to craft a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Moses then told the people that if anyone was bitten, they were to look at the snake on the pole and they would be healed.

Moses, the snakes, and GodLife Application for Moses, the Snakes, and God:

What would happen if the people chose to not look at the serpent on the pole? [They would die.] Rebellion, or to rebel, is defined as to refuse obedience. {Hold up the star of life.} Why do people use this symbol? What does it represent? [good health, healing, life] Would it be fair to say that disobedience, or rebellion, can bring death, and obedience can bring life? [Accept answers.]

{Hold up the poster. Read it aloud.}

This verse was told to Saul after he had rebelled against God. Saul had rebelled against God, so God then turned away his blessings from Saul. Saul eventually died and lost the kingdom.

If an Israelite was bitten by a snake, all they had to so was obey God’s words, look at the serpent on the pole, and they would be healed. But if they rebelled, and did not look at the serpent, they would die.

God takes rebellion seriously. Samuel, who said this verse, equals rebellion with witchcraft and worshiping false gods. People want life and healing. {Show the star of life.} But many times people do not want to obey and they rebel instead, not understanding that LIFE is in OBEDIENCE.

Jesus had a conversation with a man named Nicodemus. Jesus said that just as Moses lifted the serpent in the desert, so will the son of man be lifted up. And those who believe will have eternal life. What happens to those who do not believe? Will they have eternal life? [No.]

This scripture tells us what to do: do not turn away from the Word of the Lord. God took the kingdom away from Saul because of his rebelliousness. He missed out on wonderful blessings. The ultimate rebellion is to not believe in Jesus.

Whom are we to obey? [God, parents, teachers…] Yes. We are to obey those in authority. The only time we do not obey authority is when someone tries to harm you, or get you to do something that goes against God and his ways.

What can we learn from Moses, the snakes, and God? If we want to be godly, then we must choose to obey God and other authorities and not be rebellious. We don’t want God to take blessings away from us.

{Display the poster in the room throughout this series and read it each week.}


***Medical images are use by permission from***


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