The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection for the week of July 23-29, 2017, is II Kings 18:1-7. Why is it so important to read and study the history of Israel, including their kings? This history, their stories recorded for us, serve as lessons. By studying them, we can learn actions that are pleasing to the Lord. We learn how the Israelites fell from the Lord. And the goal is to use what we learn and prevent the same thing from happening to us in our lives.
In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began his twenty-nine-year reign in Jerusalem. His mother was Abi daughter of Zechariah. Hezekiah did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his [forefather] had done. He removed the high places, broke the images, cut down the Asherim, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until then the Israelites had burned incense to it; but he called it Nehushtan [a bronze trifle]. Hezekiah trusted in, leaned on, and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. For he clung and held fast to the Lord and ceased not to follow Him, but kept His commandments, as the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with Hezekiah; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and refused to serve him. (II Kings 18:1-7, AMP)
Years earlier, the people of Israel had demanded that the Lord provide them with a king, so that they could be like other nations. After advising them against such actions, He granted their request. Hezekiah was one of the few kings who did right in the sight of the Lord. Listed among his favorable actions was the breaking of the bronze serpent made by Moses. This bronze serpent was created in order to heal those bitten by snakes (Numbers 21:4-9). Following this event, the bronze serpent was kept as a reminder to the Israelites, but they had forgotten its meaning. Instead, they began worshipping the bronze serpent as a god and burning incense to it.
Is there something in your life that once served as reminder, but has become more than it should? We are to worship nothing - not jewelry, not a picture, not a cross - except the Lord God. Items can serve as a reminders - perhaps wearing a cross necklace or a WWJD bracelet can serve as a reminder to keep your temper in check - but we are not worship these items. As you meditate on, pray over, and reflect upon this week’s verse, consider with what you surround yourself during your daily activities. Is there a false god in your midst?