In Numbers 21 we read about the bronze serpent. As a judgment against the people of Israel for their sin, God sent poisonous serpents into the camp. As people began to die, the survivors came to Moses to confess their sins and ask for God’s mercy. Moses prayed. God, being the great teacher he is, told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so the people could be healed.
Mind you, it made no sense at all to expect to heal from a snakebite by gazing upon a bronze image. This was, therefore, the perfect set up for a lesson on faith.
It took an act of faith in God’s plan for anyone to be healed, and the serpent on the stick was a reminder of their sin and God’s mercy.
Unfortunately, over time this reminder of whom to worship became an object of worship. Therefore, in 2 Kings chapter 18, we read that Hezekiah, while serving as king of Judah, destroyed this bronze image.
We must be careful. The Israelites demonstrated for us that while most objects are not made to be idols, they can easily become idols by the way we use them.
Writer Scott Presson put it this way:
- An idol is any person, object or activity you give a higher priority in your life than a relationship with God. An idol can be your home, your job, a vehicle, a relationship, or even your family. An idol can be a pet, a computer, or what you look at on that computer. An idol can be alcohol, drugs, sex, or any sin. An idol can be the work you do for the Lord that consumes all your energy and time. God says He’s a jealous God. He wants our time and our attention.
If Hezekiah were to pay you a visit today, is there any person, object, or activity that he would come in and break in pieces as he did the bronze serpent? Is there anything in your life that has been given a higher priority than a relationship with God? If not, great! Be mindful, however, that it can happen. If we are not intentional and aware of our potential to bow down to the idols of this day, we can find ourselves on bended knee to something or someone other than the one true God.
If there is an idol you can identify, great! Be encouraged! There is hope! Repent to God, connect with other believers, and make having a relationship with Him number one in your life. He loves you and is willing to receive you as His own.
He is the only one qualified to be the object of our worship. We’ve tried so many empty alternatives.
God is saying, “May I have your attention.”
Let’s give it to Him.