The Scripture reading this morning covered 2 Kings 7 – 19. There was mention of many kings. Still none of the kings of the Northern kingdom “pleased the LORD”; only one got close yet not sufficient and that was Jehu. There were some of the kings of the Southern kingdom who “pleased the LORD”, but not like David their father and example.
I want us to look at one king of the Southern kingdom whose name is Hezekiah, and one of the exploits he did in Judah; named in 18:4,
“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” 2 Kings 18:1-4 (KJV)
The brasen serpent is first mentioned in the book of Numbers. The people had grown to complaining, and GOD sent poisonous serpents into the camp, biting the people, then they were dying; and began to cry out to Moses, and Moses called out to the LORD,
“And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.’ And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.” Numbers 21:8-9
In the days of Hezekiah the people had began to worship the serpent on the brazen pole, bowing down to it evidently, even burning incense to it – “That thing of brass”. It had lost its real significance, and had become an idol. Originally when those bitten had looked upon it they would live. It is a symbol of the cross of Christ; even a shadow of the cross; where all our sins were placed on the perfect sacrifice for sin – the sinless, perfect, holy Son of God – and the wrath of God was poured out on Him and His blood was shed for our redemption, and He bodily arose from the grave giving all who will believe in Him eternal life in glory. Jesus Christ became sin four us that we might be the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What is the problem with “Nehushtan”? Worshiping a good thing is not proper worship; and God despises our worship of anything except Him. Jesus said, “They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). To worship God in spirit is to have a redeemed spirit through the shed blood of Jesus the Christ. Any other worship is not a “Good thing”. Jesus Christ is not just the good thing, but the very Best.