Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Good is Bad...

Sometimes what starts out to be a good thing becomes bad and that is never good. 

Today's passages, 2 Kings 18:1-8, 2 Chronicles 29-31 and Psalm 48 cover a period of time in the history of God's people when Hezekiah reigned as King in Judah.  We learn that unlike his father Ahaz and kings prior, he was determined to obey the Lord.  He didn't just give lip service to turning his people back to God, he took action by tearing down the "high places" where idol worship was going on, and by purifying the temple. Only 25 years old when his reign began, Hezekiah was called righteous.

In the book of Numbers (chapter 21) you may recall that Moses carved a bronze serpent on a pole that was to be held up whenever someone was bitten by snakes that were plaguing them.  This carving was to be an instrument that when gazed upon brought healing from the venom of the snake's bite. God prescribed this as a remedy during a time when death was sure and there was no other hope.

Having been preserved for 800 years, the bronze serpent was now among the things that were being worshipped in place of God, so in his determination to stop the idolatry, Hezekiah smashed it to bits. This life-saving relic from the past had become bad, so regardless of its value, its former glory, its historicity, its sacredness, Hezekiah got rid of it.

This account made me ask myself what I need to smash. John 3:14-15 teaches that the  bronze serpent that Hezekiah destroyed had once been a representation of a future Savior.  Jesus would also be lifted up high on a pole and when a person believed that He alone could save them, salvation from the punishment of death was theirs. 

Do I gaze upon my Savior intently, recognizing him as my only hope and worshiping him alone?  Like Hezekiah, I want to dispose of anything (even if it was once good, valuable, historical or even sacred) that has taken Christ's rightful place of priority in my life.

Help me Lord--open my eyes to what I idolize so that I, too, may be called righteous.

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