It used to be I was really bothered by this verse, for it was almost as if God was putting up an idol of sorts. Why not have them bow down before Him while He is there as a cloud or a pillar of fire?
Then I realize.
How fickle we are.
Sometimes, He gives us "a snake on a flagpole", because it is the only way to get our attention. That will turn us away from the selfish, self-absorbed, self-gratifying, self-centered worship we are centered on.
This is what happens when our focus turns away from Him. We get caught up in the snake infested world we live in, just like the snake charmer. We are risking our souls for eternal death.
And when we do stop and look at the snake on the flagpole, we need to look past it and focus on Him.
Otherwise, we begin to worship the snake.
We need to stay focused on our Christ and what His sacrifice did for us. Freed us from.
But sometimes, He gives us a snake on the flagpole, as a signpost on the road.
To head us in His direction.
To eternal life............................