Much happens in this chapter. Jesus said of this incident with the bronze snake: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14) Jesus says this history is prophetic of His ministry – the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy! (Revelation 19:10b) Jesus is the template for Moses – not Moses for Jesus. Moses is the shadow play that helps us understand Jesus!
Here’s a thing. Because the Israelites were in the wilderness for forty years, often we’re only thinking of them wandering around, eating manna and quail.
But here we see that Israel settled for a time in the land of the Amorites; Who were descended from Canaan, the son of Ham, the son of Noah. Ham was the son who didn’t honor his father when Noah got drunk (seems like an odd thing to be saying). Noah curses Ham/Canaan, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” in Genesis 9 v25.
They settled for a time, taking possession of the land. It’s kind of hard to think about Moses settling down in a place, but he did.
Here we begin to see God giving martial victory to the Israelite army (not just supernaturally like he did with Egypt).
And songs were sung. We’ve had a few songs so far, Moses and Miriam in Gen 15, that wonderful statement of God’s goodness, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumped gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.”
Songs are a big deal, and here we have a few. And they’re mostly songs of war, of victory. And it’s interesting to notice that these songs, at least the words we have, do not mention the Lord specifically. They are songs of joy and excitement, and of imagination and creativity. And that is good.
“Spring up, O well! – Sing to it! -”
Singing is important. Especially singing to the Lord and to one another. Re-telling His glory, His mighty deeds. Telling of His salvation.
We’re very blessed to have a long and deep church culture (both reformed and otherwise today) of song and singing. But still, it can be easy to forget the reason why we sing.
Psalm 103 says it well and often. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”