Cunning Idolatry

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[King Hezekiah] broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.
— 2 Kings 18:4

King Hezekiah came into power with the purpose to drive out idolatry from the midst of God’s people. The story of the bronze snake is in Numbers 21:4-9. When the Israelites spoke out against God, venomous snakes were sent out and killed many of them. God told Moses to make a snake and anyone who looked upon it would be healed. John 3:14-15 tells us that this snake was a type and shadow of Jesus.

This snake, however, became a cunning idol. This snake, which was once a symbol to Israel of God’s grace to God’s people, became an object of focus in place of God. That which once pointed to God became a deterrent to true worship because people were looking to the symbol, rather than to the Lord. I am convinced that we, in today’s church, have allowed many things which were designed to point to God, take God’s place in our lives. Buildings, programs, sermons, outreaches, seminars, classes and conferences… Many people are looking to these things rather than looking to the one for whom they were originally created. Many have left the prayer closet to go to prayer conventions. Many have left the pursuit of personal revival in order to visit the “revival” being held at the local church building. Cunning idolatry is the kind of idolatry that can easily deceive because the object in focus was meant to point to the truth.

Ask yourself questions like the following:
• Do you read more books about God and the bible than you read the bible itself?
• Do you listen to more messages and sermons about prayer than actually getting alone with God on your knees in prayer?
• Do you attend more conferences and seminars to hear about other people doing the work of the kingdom than actually doing the work of the kingdom yourself?
• Do you trust more in the laying on of hands from an anointed speaker rather than trusting in God alone for your needs?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is very likely that you have been taken away by a cunning idol. Test all things in your life, especially your normal spiritual activities, by this question: “is this bringing me closer to the person of God, or the symbol of God?”

Heavenly Father, help me stay clear from cunning idols. Reveal to me areas in my life where I spend more time around you, yet without you. Help me to not do things for you, but do things with you. Let your presence be the thing that compels me, rather than that which points to your presence. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN!

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