The Bronze Serpent Hang-Up

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024

I have been using a chronological Bible reading plan this year that I have really enjoyed. It helps to read through the Bible in the order that the events happened. You can see the specific Psalms that David wrote as he was going through different challenges. You can read about the kings of Judah and Israel and how they were written in both sets of the books of Kings and Chronicles.

Just recently I was in 2 Kings 18 reading about Hezekiah the king of Judah. I love how clear the Bible is regarding each of the kings and whether they did that which was right or that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. Hezekiah was one of the good guys. 2 Kings 18:4 says:

He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan.

As soon as I read the part about the bronze serpent, my spirit was intrigued. Let’s talk history for a moment. Back sometime around 1400 BC, Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The people were getting restless and started to murmur. As a judgment, God sent serpents that bit the people and caused many to die. The people finally asked Moses to help, and we see this in Numbers 21:8:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”

Fast forward around 700 years to when Hezekiah was on the throne. This thing that God had sent the people back in Moses’ day as a way to heal them became something they looked to instead of Him. How many things in our current lives can we lump into that bucket? As I am working on writing this blog, I just keep getting more and more mental downloads for how valid this is in many aspects of our lives (both individually and globally).

Those of us that have strapped on our Jesus sandals for any length of time know that everything we have comes from God. Yes, we went to the store and bought those groceries, but God gave us the job to afford the groceries, the funds to buy the car that got us there and the healthy legs that helped us to walk in the door. So, do we worship these things (the job, the car or the body) or do we continue to praise Him and Him alone?

What about our kids, our spouses, our families, and even our ministries? These are all incredible things that God has given us. Have any of these things become idols? Do we concern ourselves more with these things than we do with seeking Him and Him alone? None of these things are bad things. The serpent on the pole was not made as an idol. It was spoken into existence by God to help the Israelites, but it was allowed to become an idol.

I’m even getting that this can apply to the way God has worked in our lives in the past. We saw God do that amazing thing when we prayed that prayer, fasted for 2 days and sang that one worship song 15 times in a row. So, let’s do that again and then God will surely come to our rescue. Or when I got up early for that whole week and read and prayed for 30 minutes God helped me with that tough decision. I’m going to do that again, so God helps me. Praying, fasting, worshiping and reading are certainly not bad things, but when they become the means to get something we want we have put God in a box.

Final Thoughts…

Lord, show us if there are any bronze serpents that we need to deal with. Light up any areas of our lives where we have allowed a blessing to become an idol. Help us to seek You for fresh wisdom and direction with every step we take. We know our thoughts and ways are nothing compared to Yours. Help us to live that way too. We are so grateful for all that You have given us, and we know it all has a season. You are the only thing that will last for all of eternity. We choose to worship You. We choose to trust You. We choose to give You all that we have knowing that it’s all because You gave it to us.