“Nehushtan – a brazen thing, a mere piece of brass.” biblestudytools.com/dictionary/nehushtan
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2 Kings 18:4, “He removed the high places, broke down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and crushed the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the children of Israel had made offerings to it. They called it Nehushtan.” Modern English Version
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“The preservation of this remarkable relic of antiquity (Numbers 21:4-9), might, like the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod, have remained an interesting and instructive monument of the Divine goodness and mercy to the Israelites in the wilderness; and it must have required the exercise of no small courage and resolution to destroy it. But in the progress of degeneracy it had become an idol of idolatrous worship. . .” Critical and Explanatory Commentary, Vol. I
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“The name Nehushtan is an extended version of either the noun . . . meaning copper or bronze, or the noun . . . meaning harlotries. . . . When the good king Hezekiah stepped up to the throne, his first order of business was to remove all pagan centers of worship, and the Asherah and Nehushtan (2 Kings 18:4). But he couldn’t destroy the fatal human tendency to glorify tools and vehicles.”
Anyone bitten by a poisonous snake could look upon the bronze serpent and live. By king Hezekiah’s time, they were worshipping the bronze serpent. They stopped seeking the Healer and worshipped the tool He used.
Do I have a “Nehushtan?”
Am I seeking the gift, not the Giver?
Is this why the churches with pews, stained glass, and hymns are struggling? Are the parishioners worshipping God or reveling in the beauty of the building God provided for them?
We recently attended a mass in honor of a friend we loved. The church is fairly new and gorgeous. I admit I spent too much time gawking at the beauty of the architecture instead of being in awe of the words of comfort read from God’s Holy Word.
I knew almost all the attendees. (It’s a small town.) I know they love Jesus because they do the things He cared about when He was on earth. They were not looking around. They were looking to Jesus and examining their own hearts.
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Our satellite church is held in the Civic Center. We rent it for church on Sunday morning and it is a venue for everything else the rest of the week. We play contemporary worship songs. We had a guitar player who could play the guitar parts on every song, even the instrumentals. Everyone loved him.
Not only could he play any song, he could transpose it into any key – without a capo! I’ll never forget the look on his face when I told him a leader needed to sing the new song in Bb. (Guitar players everywhere are groaning.) He transposed it and practiced until he could play it in Bb – without a capo.
I don’t know how many times I heard, “I come to church to hear Joe play.” God heard it, too. God released Joe from playing during the services. Joe still attends church and is extremely active in a supporting role at the main church.
Some may have made Joe into their “Nehushtan.” They worshipped the tool God used. Not me! Joe and I were like two pieces of iron. We were hard on each other and sharpened each other. I made him play in Bb and he made me play in styles I had never heard of before. He made me memorize. All. The. Music.
Now we have Steve. He can play a keyboard like Joe plays guitar. And he plays guitar . . . and bass . . . and drums. Steve is a diamond and I’m toast! He is teaching me to play new instruments – an organ and pads. (What is a pad? I’ve never seen one.)
Steve is not a “Nehushta” to me either. But, I want to remove anything that will turn my focus from God. The only way to recognize it is by looking to Jesus and examining my heart.
(The thing with a long post is many will not read it to the end. Knowing that, I shared more than I normally would. To quote my friend Sarah S., “If you read this far, I owe you a cookie!”)
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