Saturday, 4 April 2009


The word comes from the story of Hezekiah one of the best kings of Judah. He launched far-reaching reforms to remove idolatry from the land. Some, no doubt, thought them 'too far-reaching'.

He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. 2Kings 18:4 NKJV

The old bronze snake which was such a thrilling relic of God's provision had become a snare and people offered incense to it in worship. Hezekiah broke in it pieces and called it Nehushtan; that bronze thing! That is the equivalent of saying 'that lump of bronze'.

I was talking to a friend today about the snares that often entrap the people of God. The history of a work of God may include some wonderful evidences of God's special provisions; real miracles. It may be in the provision of a building, or in a vision, or even a doctrine. It was achieved by prayer and sacrifice and tears and it stands as a symbol of God's approval. What do we do when the blessing becomes a snare?

It takes enormous courage to take the kind of action that Hezekiah took. The asset had become a liability and the man had the vision to see it and the courage to do something about it. He took this precious memory of the 'old days' and destroyed it, calling it a lump of bronze. This is true radicalism. A willingness to get the root of the thing (radical means 'from the root) and remove the distraction so that we can get back to the original task in hand.

Sometimes these old miracles are really part of the way that God facilitates his purposes, but later they become a burden which can only be carried at great cost. Sometimes the cost for the maintenance of last year's miracle is just too high and we need to find the courage to break it in pieces and put it all back into the 'melting pot'. After all, the real miracle was the way that God was at work... not that Nehushtan!

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