He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.
(2 Kings 18:4 NASB)
Hezekiah was a righteous King. He instituted many reforms, one of which was destroying the bronze serpent that Moses had made. We often deify religious forms of the past, ultimately make good things evil.
When we lose the internal reality of our faith, we always turn to external things. Moses used the bronze snake to performs miraculous acts of God. It was right in its time and place. Israel started to worship the creation rather than the Creator. When true religion begins to wane, false belief starts to rise. This has always been a problem, not just in the days of King Hezekiah, but in the church age. In 2 Timothy 3: 1-4 Paul gives us a long list of evil things mankind will become in the last days. He finished by saying, “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power: Avoid such men as these” (v.5). Though their lives demonstrated evil, they held to a form of religion but denied the power of God to change lives. They had information without transformation. The word Nehushtan literally means a “piece of bronze.” It had no value other than what it represented, the power of God.
Are you a part of a church or Christian organization that is worshiping a bronze serpent? Are you trying to make the “forms of religion” work today just because they worked in the past? You are on your way to disappointment. Powerless idols always disappoint those who worship them.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing