Songs From Numbers: High and Lifted Up
Each week, we go through the books of the Bible, looking at a song that illustrates a passage from each book.
Numbers 21 tells the story of how the Israelites rebelled against Moses and against God, asking: “Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5, KJV).
God replied by sending fiery serpents among the people; many of the Israelites died from bites from these snakes. This brought the Israelites to repentance; they confessed their sin, and asked Moses to pray that God would take the serpents away from them.
God told Moses: “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (verse 8, KJV). Moses did.
Dianne Wilkinson used this passage as a starting point for one of the all-time greatest Cathedrals anthems, “High and Lifted Up”: