August 27 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 120–122; 1 Corinthians 9
[Hezekiah] broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made.
2 Kings 18:4
READ Numbers 21:4–9; 2 Kings 18:4–7
When a medical treatment began to provide relief for a family member’s severe food allergies, I became so excited that I talked about it all the time. I described the intense process and extolled the doctor who had created the program. Finally, some friends commented, “We think God should always get the credit for healing.” Their statement made me pause. Had I taken my eyes off the Ultimate Healer and made the healing into an idol?
The nation of Israel fell into a similar trap when they began to burn incense to a bronze snake which God had used to heal them. They’d been performing this act of worship until Hezekiah identified it as idolatry and “broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made” (2 Kings 18:4).
Several centuries earlier, a group of venomous snakes had invaded the Israelite camp. The snakes bit the people and many died (Numbers 21:6). Although spiritual rebellion had caused the problem, the people cried out to God for help. Showing mercy, He directed Moses to sculpt a bronze snake, fasten it to a pole, and hold it up for everyone to see. When the people looked at it, they were healed (vv. 4–9).
Think of God’s gifts to you. Have any of them become objects of praise instead of evidence of His mercy and grace? Only our holy God—the source of every good gift (James 1:17)—is worthy of worship.
By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
REFLECT & PRAY
How has God shown you His goodness through other people? Why is it so easy to give people credit for what God has done in your life?
Dear God, I worship You as the all-powerful God who hears my prayers. Thank You for sustaining my life and caring for me.
Second Kings 18:3–7 describes how Hezekiah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord” by destroying idols. The Israelites had transferred worship from the Creator to something created by worshiping the bronze snake, the symbol of miraculous healing at God’s hand (v. 4). The episode of the golden calf is another blatant example of idolatry (Exodus 32). Romans 1:25 spells it out for us: “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.”
By Alyson Kieda