The bronze serpent had a purpose, which it fulfilled. When the children of Israel grumbled, the Lord sent snakes into the camp of the Israelites. Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Those that looked at the snake would live.1 However, the children of Israel turned that which was a blessing into something that was profane.2 The Israelites had begun to worship the bronze serpent and turned the object that had been a blessing into object of disgrace. In much the same way, a similar thing has happened to letters and documents that were written to help people. The different epistles (letters) that were written to help straighten our the improper beliefs and living immoral lifestyles that some Christians were involved in. At the time that they were written, those letters had a noble and just purpose. However, many years later (just like the children of Israel) the modern day Christians have taken those letters to early Christians and have made them into an idol (object of worship).
One may ask, how have we made the holy into something profane? Because we focus on the words of the message rather than the message itself. We are (seemingly) very careful to make sure that the words of the bible are carefully translated into each language. However, we have lost track of the message of those words. Those words are about learning to live life as children of the Most High God. The words tell of a life that is to be lived sinlessly and beyond reproach. Those words tell of how to love one another. True love, which is what God is, will draw all men to him. Our endless stream of words3 does very little to win anyone. Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him." We think that we can draw people to God with our endless preaching. However, what did Jesus say
- 1. "And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, for there is no bread or water, and we detest this worthless food.” So the LORD sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD that he would take away the snakes from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Num The LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will live.” Numbers 21:5-8
- 2. In the third year of the reign of Israel’s King Hoshea son of Elah, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah became king over Judah. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi, the daughter of Zechariah. He did what the LORD approved, just as his ancestor David had done. He eliminated the high places, smashed the sacred pillars to bits, and cut down the Asherah pole. He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan." 2Kings 18:1-4
- 3. Evangelizing and preaching the gospel (in churches, on radio and TV), giving out the Bible to as many as possible)