Sunday, July 22, 2007

They Called it "Nehushtan"

When the children of Israel neared Mount Hor during the wilderness wanderings, they complained to Moses. The general consensus was that God had led them out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness. There wasn't enough water for their liking and they loathed the manna that God provided for them daily. So God sent fiery serpents into the camp. The snakes bit the people and many of them died. When the people repented and asked for God's mercy, Moses was commanded to fashion a fiery serpent and place it on a pole. When one of the Israelites was bitten, they could look at the bronze serpent and God would save them from death.
Years later, during the reign of Hezekiah, the same bronze serpent was destroyed. The righteous Hezekiah broke it in pieces, because the Israelites had been burning incense to the serpent. They called it "Nehushtan" - meaning - "The Bronze Thing."
This was not the first time the Israelites had given a fashioned object in the shape of animal a name. It was not the first time they had worshipped such a piece. At the foot of Mt. Sinai Aaron formed a golden calf. In this particular instance, the people named the calf "Jehovah." After all, they cried out, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt" (Ex. 32:8).
The spiritual void in Israel was their allegiance to what instead of who. This age old problem continues. It is not the house that shelters. It is not the garments that clothe. It is not the army that protects. It is not the water that saves. It is the God of heaven who does all of these things. He is the one who needs to be lifted up as King...Oh, wait a minute, He has been lifted up.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of man must be lifted up." ~ John 3:14
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." ~ John 12:32

1 comment:

  1. Great entry! How sad to take something good (the bronze serpent) and use it for something bad. I really appreciate this blog!