On one occasion when the people of Israel were in the desert and they grumbled against God and against Moses, the Lord sent venomous snakes amongst them. Many of the people were bitten by the snakes and died. However, God once again showed His mercy, and when Moses interceded for the people He provided a way out for them. Moses was to make a bronze snake on a pole, and when anyone was bitten he could look at it and live.
This was God’s solution for that particular time, and it was also pointing the way to Jesus on the Cross being the way to eternal life (John 3:14). However, the Israelites allowed those instructions from God to become a formula for them, which then became an idol and was passed down the generations as a tradition. We read in 2 Kings 18:4 that they still had the bronze snake many hundreds of years later. T hey had given it a name (Nehushtan) and had been burning incense to it. It had to be destroyed by King Hezekiah along with other idols and objects of false worship.
The bronze snake was something given by God at a particular time, but the people had taken their eyes off Him and had looked to the object and to the practice instead. The instructions were intended for one occasion and not as a blue print to be followed for all time. Are there things in our lives that we are continuing to do just because God showed us on one occasion it was the right thing to do then? Have we become religious in that practice and has it become an idol in our lives? Are we relying on the practice, rather than on Jesus Himself? Are there traditions that have been passed down through our families or churches that we are continuing, rather than looking to Jesus? Let’s get rid of any idols in our lives today and look to Jesus and to Him alone.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for making an idol of anything, or repeating practices passed down the generations, rather than looking to You for life and healing. Thank You that if I look to Jesus I have everything I need. Amen.