Nehushtan (pronounced Nekh – oosh – tawn)
A brazen serpent created by Moses, no doubt a reminder of their wilderness excursion with the snakes and God’s deliverance. But not rather than a reminder of God’s salvation, it was an object of worship.
But then along comes Hezekiah, and at 25 years old he began to reign as written in the book of 2 Kings 18; and unlike his father Ahaz, he did what was right in the sight of God:
- He removed the high places
- He cut down the groves and last but not least
- He broke the brazen serpent
It was said of him in verses 5-6 that “He trusted the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any before him. For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments which the Lord commanded Moses.”
3 things made a notable difference in his leadership than any other leader before or after him:
He Removed the High Places
It’s not hard to look around and see the high places of the world, but looking inwardly is a discovery of my own high places of things that I have elevated above God in my life.
- Technology consumes my time
- Troubles consume my thoughts rather than trusting them to God
- And that list could no doubt go on…
You too likely have high places that need torn down.
He Removed the Images
Theirs were literal handmade images of idolatry, but mine are more images: the way I view myself, others and above all God. Imagery is a powerful tool. Satan can contrive images in my head of who I or the world perceives me to be causing me to doubt who I am and God’s purpose and calling. It doesn’t take much talking to have me looking in the mirror saying “why on earth would God choose or use you. There’s no way He can move you past this failure.” And that image grows and grows to giant proportion until I can’t see God around it. Shari the failure. I too have some images I need to remove.
He Broke the Brazen Serpent
Israel was worshipping what was meant to draw people to the Creator rather than the Creator Himself. It was all about the serpent not the Savior.
We may not have a brazen serpent in our church to take our eyes off God, but many churches have lost sight of what it is we come to church for. There is a misconception of worship. Satan (the old serpent himself) has turned the altar into an object not to be worshipped but rather ignored. He knows that there is power in the altar, not from the location but from the Lord. And the one thing that will bring that power into a God glorifying moment is when people come with a worship frame of mind. Moses’ fiery serpent upon the pole that was written in Numbers 21:9 gave the people an object that they could look to for a reminder of salvation. We have that in the cross. Just above our altar is large wooden cross in the sanctuary. We don’t come to worship the cross… but the cross should serve as a reminder of the price God paid and cause our hearts to be lifted in praise and draw us to the altar to thank Him… Worship Him… Love Him.
Hezekiah was a great leader because he got rid of what was obstructing their relationship with God. We need some leaders to tear down some man made images of what God wants in church and worship God in the manner He deserves?
I’m headed to church! I pray you are too!