DayBreaks for 7/12/17: Busted Snakes and Clutter
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2007:
Hezekiah was a man of God. He’s not one of the better-known characters in the Scripture. Maybe you don’t even know who he was. Let me update you if your memory, like mine, is a bit faded these days. Hezekiah was one of Israel’s kings, and he was a good one. 2 Kings 18:3 says that Hezekiah did what was right in the Lord’s sight. That’s pretty high praise. The people had been led into idolatry, but Hezekiah brought them back into God’s pathways once again. He tore down the Asherah poles that were used in idolatrous worship. He broke up the altars that had been used for sacrifices to false gods. As Thom Rainer puts it in Simple Church: He took out the godless clutter that had been competing for the attention and the affection of the people.
But he did more than tear down the Asherah poles and altars. He did something that would have been considered unthinkable by many of the Israelites. Do you remember that during the wilderness wanderings, the Lord had sent a plague of snakes into the camp because of the people’s sin? At that time, Moses was instructed to fashion a bronze serpent and put it up on a pole so that the people who had been bitten could lift their eyes in faith to the serpent on the pole and be saved from death. It’s a fascinating story, all by itself. What you may not have remembered or realized is that when Hezekiah got busy with his housecleaning, with removing the clutter from the spiritual life of the nation of Israel, one of the things he did was to break the bronze snake that Moses had made.
Hezekiah didn’t pretend that he’d dropped the snake and it broke by accident. He intentionally and purposefully broke it. Bear in mind that this snake had been in the possession of Israel for hundreds of years. It would have been a relic. It had been actually touched by Moses, and it had been made at the express command of the Lord Almighty Himself.
It took nerve for Hezekiah to bust up that snake. Why did he do it? Because it had become clutter. As amazing as it was – and as fascinating as it must have been to have seen something hundreds of years old that Moses had made himself – it had become clutter because people revered it. It had become an object of adoration. It took the attention of people away from the True and Living God.
What’s the point? Good things can become bad things if we pay them undue attention. The image of the snake was never meant to be worshiped. It was meant to be a tool to draw people to worship Jehovah. But that which was good became bad because people worshiped the image instead. Can you imagine how the people must have reacted to hearing that their king had destroyed the serpent made by the hand of Moses?!?! Talk about an unpopular thing to do!
Change is hard. Change can be very unpopular. Yet change can also be absolutely vital.
It’s scary how easily good things can become bad. It calls for deep introspection. Is there something that was once good which I have unduly exalted in my mind or heart?
Break the snakes in your life. Get rid of the clutter. Let’s get back to what it’s all about. It’s not about people’s favorite images or programs or how they think things should be done. It’s about God and His glory and a proper worship of His Person.
PRAYER: Open our eyes, Father, that we may see where we are either guilty of, or in danger of, taking something holy and worshipping it instead of You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>