Thursday, September 10, 2009
Just a Piece of Brass
2 Kings 18:
1 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother's name was Abijah [a] daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)
How had this come to pass? The brass serpent on a pole had been the focus of a great victory for Moses and the children of Israel. Plagued by venomous snakes and dying in large numbers, the people had turned to their deliverer for rescue and he had heard of a strange remedy from God. Forge a brass serpent like the ones causing all the trouble. Raise it on a pole. Have the people look upon it and trust God for miraculous salvation and healing. And they had been saved.
But here generations later righteous King Hezekiah removed the item from the public eye, saying that it was Nehushtan, "a piece of brass". You recall that the mercy seat, symbolic of the presence of God, was overlaid with gold. The King observed an aid to devotion becoming an idol in itself. He ordered it destroyed.
Now, consider our means of grace in the Church. They are meant to be means of growing in intimacy with Jesus. He is our means of access to God. Remember his statement in John 10:
7Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Believers, do not let your destination become fellowship, prayer, worship, Holy Communion, Bible study, missions, evangelism, exercise of ministry gifts. It has been said that Reformed enthusiasts worship their Bible, charismatics the Holy Ghost, Renewal enthusiasts the Father's love and liturgists the Communion elements. Please, let none of these exercises stop you short of an intimate relationship with Jesus.
If you are reading this and doubting whether such intimacy is possible, cry out to Jesus to save you, to reveal Himself to you and baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
(This message will be developed in a subsequent post.)