Did you know that God was once so displeased with the complaining Israelites that He sent venomous vipers to bite them during their trek through the desert? When they cried out to Him for help He provided an unusual solution. Everyone bitten who looked upon the bronze snake He told Moses to make, recovered. You can read about this in Numbers 21:4-9.
I don’t know why God had Moses make a snake replica when He could have just answered the people’s prayer by healing them. Perhaps He wanted them to look upon something disgusting to remind them of their sinful behavior. Or maybe He wanted to use it to test them. In 2 Kings 18:4 we learn the rest of the story. Evidently, over 700 years after Moses made the bronze snake it not only still existed, but the people in Judah were burning incense before it. King Hezekiah, disgusted by what had become an idol, named it Nehushtan, which means “a bronze thing.” Then he broke it into pieces destroying it forever. In 18:5,6 we read:
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord God of Israel; not one of the kings of Judah was like him, either before him or after him. 6 He remained faithful to Yahweh and did not turn from following Him but kept the commands the Lord had commanded Moses.”
Habakkuk 2:18—What use is a carved idol after its craftsman carves it? It is only a cast image, a teacher of lies. For the one who crafts its shape trusts in it and makes idols that cannot speak.
God created a one-time antidote that worked against snakebites. Man turned the antidote into a visual keepsake of God’s deliverance. Over time, the reminder became a relic protected and passed on most likely by Levitical priests. Until one day, someone stood before the bronze snake Moses made and offered it burned incense for protection or favor or . . . ? The image became a god, a trust-sucker. Lest we laugh at such nonsense and ignorance, perhaps we should let the Holy Spirit inspect our hearts! Is there something God worked through once that we hold onto expecting to be used again? Do we own some lucky charm that we dare not neglect? Any object, habit or belief that keeps us from trusting God or which steals away our hope is a Nehushtan.
Hezekiah saw the danger. He didn’t care about popular opinion, an authentic antique or the meetings at the pole. He got rid of the snake! His faith was in God—nothing else, just GOD! His path was straightforward—the way of obedience. Is it a surprise then that God blessed him mightily, saving his kingdom at a time when Judah should have been annihilated by Assyria! Friend, God wants to bless you mightily too, the question is, do you trust Him?
The test of spiritual concentration is bringing the imagination into captivity. Is your imagination looking on the face of an idol? Is the idol yourself? Your work? Your conception of what a worker should be? Your experience of salvation and sanctification? Then your imagination of God is starved, and when you are up against difficulties you have no power, you can only endure in darkness. If your imagination is starved, do not look back to your own experience; it is God Whom you need. —Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)