So, I continue to consider our friend Hezekiah in II Kings 18. Let me remind you that the scripture tells us that “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…trusted in the Lord…held fast to the Lord and did not stop following Him; he kept the commands…And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” (vv 5-8)
I noticed something interesting in v.4: Hezekiah’s rule began with a spiritual cleansing of the places of worship. He had “removed the high places, smashed sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles”. All of these places of worship were directed at the gods of the day – not Jehovah – the One True God. But the Bible tells us also that “He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made”. That bronze snake, though, was a symbol of God’s deliverance. I’m sure you remember: God led His people by Moses out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and into the wilderness. He provided water from a rock and He provided good, nourishing “manna” daily for them to eat. He destroyed enemy armies all around them, He led them faithfully through every trial – kept them warm with a pillar of fire by night and cooled with a pillar of cloud by day in the desert. But the people grew tired of it and began to grumble and complain. They spoke against God and against Moses. So, God sent venomous snakes that bit the people and many died. But, the people repented and begged Moses to pray to the Lord for deliverance. God spoke to Moses and told him to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who was bitten could merely look at it and live. That bronze snake saved their lives. It was also a type and shadow of Christ and the deliverance that He would bring to all mankind. Just as the Israelites could be delivered from the curse of their sin, we too can look to Christ and live.
That bronze snake was meant to be kept as a reminder of the forgiveness and faithful loving kindness of the Lord. So, why would Hezekiah destroy such a good thing? The answer is in the latter part of v. 4: “for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it”. They were worshiping the bronze snake rather than the Lord Himself. Matthew Henry in his commentary says, “good things, when idolized, are better parted with than kept.”
Are there “good things” in your life that you have idolized? – a husband, a wife, a child, a house, a job, a church, a ministry,?…The list could go on. All these good things in our lives have been given to us by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. He desires to bless us with all good things, but is a jealous God. Our hearts must be totally surrendered and our worship must be always and only to Him. Perhaps today, we need to search our hearts and “break into pieces” any “bronze snakes” that we are worshipping.