21/7/11 2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32, James 5
S: 2 Kings 18:4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.
O: Back when the Israelites were on their exodus from Egypt to the land of Canaan, at one point, they again grumbled against Moses, and God sent fiery serpents among them to punish them. When they repented, God told Moses to make a bronze fiery serpent and put it on a pole, and everyone who was bitten by a fiery serpent could look at it and be healed. (Numbers 21:4-9).
But then centuries later, this real, genuine, and true relic became an object of idolatry. The Jews had started worshipping it instead of God! So Hezekiah, in his reforms to lead the people back to the One True God, destroyed it.
A: What in our churches, in our lives, is in danger of becoming like that? Is there anything that we're so set in our ways that when things should be changed, we resist the change, to the detriment of the Gospel?
For example, for a long time, many churches had a rule, "All women must wear dresses to church." In recent years, most churches have dropped this rule because the original purpose was lost and now it became a hindrance to welcoming modern women to the church.
I was trying to think, are there any such things in my life right now? Didn't come up with anything right this moment, but if there are, will have to ask the Lord to show me.
P: Father, are there any such "Nehushtans" in my life right now? If so, please show me and then give me the courage and wisdom to deal with them. In Jesus' name, amen.
I listen to the Focus on the Family daily podcasts, but am several months behind. So as a result, I just listened to the 7 April and 8 April podcasts last night and this morning during my commute.
These podcasts featured an interview with Rev. Timothy Keller on the topic of Examining Our Faith and it turned out to be really relevant to the above meditation, and really touched me.
In the first podcast, he talked about things that become idols in our lives as people who seek to follow Christ today -- precisely the question about Nehushtan. In the second podcast, he talked about balancing not making an idol out of our political action, and the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son parable.
Wow, talk about relevant! Both regarding yesterday's LifeJournal as well as regarding what we face today with BERSIH etc. American Christians are also facing a government that they largely disagree with today, with Obama's promotion of homosexuality and abortion. So although Tim Keller is speaking in an American context, it's highly relevant to us as Malaysian Christians.
So I highly recommend these two podcasts:
Part 1 [Listen online][Download MP3]
Part 2 [Listen online][Download MP3]