He removed the high places, shattered the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time. He called it Nehushtan [lit., “a bronze thing”].” – 2 Kings 18:4
This story has always fascinated me. From its initial fabrication, to Christ’s reference as a symbol of His crucifixion, to it’s use as a medical symbol, on down to its idolatrous abuse … this simple “bronze thing” has had an unusual place in history. This “bronze thing” just presents so many lessons that need to be learned.
For example, in this particular instance we see the dangerous power of tradition and icons. Having been miraculously delivered in the wilderness by God’s grace, Israel could not let go of the “thing” that symbolized that life-changing event. Sadly, the people eventually began to worship the “symbol” of their deliverance rather than the Deliverer Himself.
We must all be careful not to fall into the same trap. Remembrances, symbols, and even familiar experiences can become cheap substitutes for a living, present Savior. Things as innocuous as buildings, favored seats, liturgy, and style may draw our attention away from the Lord to whom they were supposed to point … and, yes, ALL generations, young and old, are guilty. Sometimes we come to cherish the memory more than the Master.
Grind up your icons. Look only to Him and live. To look elsewhere is, well, idolatry.
I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness … satisfied, satisfied. – Charles Wesley