Bronze Snakes

The speaker for our Church Leader Retreat last week was Jim Rose. Jim serves on the board at Dallas Seminary, and has pastored all over the country. Over the weekend he led us through a discussion of two kings in Judah's history: King Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16), and King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18; 2 Chronicles 31, 32; Isaiah 37). Both were considered "good" kings, but both failed to finish well. 

One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament involves King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18. He was a 25 year old kid when he became king, and immediately (it seems) took the bull by the horns in removing the Canaanite high places, smashing idols to false gods, and cutting down the phalic Asherah poles. But he didn't just clean up all the idols built to false gods - he tore up an idol that had once represented the True God. Look at the last part of 2 Kings 18:4. 

"He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it." (NIV)

Can't you just hear the voices of a different generation as this young king smashed their idol to pieces? 

"Wait just a second young man. My grandmother was healed by looking at that snake." 

"Moses' fingerprints are on that snake. How dare you dishonor his memory?" 

"This young king has no reverence for our nation's traditions." 

It wasn't just a problem with Israel - it's often a problem with us. We as humans have a propensity to take things that once directed our worship, and turn them into the things to which our worship is directed. Musical styles, specific programming, outreach methods... They were once tools to point us to God, but we tend to make they themselves into gods.

And it isn't just the older generation who has a tendency to do it. We're all guilty.

Thank God for leaders like Hezekiah with the courage to name those things and smash them to pieces, while in the process directing the focus of the people back to the One who should be the true object of our worship. 

What are the bronze snakes where you worship? What are the bronze snakes you worship yourself? Smash those things to pieces. Don't wait another day.   


chloeadele said...