Friday, May 17, 2013

Healing and the bronze serpent

The Old Testament had many types and shadows of the New Covenant We are not to worship shadows but we are to worship the true God of Israel and his Son Jesus Christ. This lesson about King Hezekiah shows how a good follower of God removed the stuff, the junk idols that got in the way of worshipping God. We are to get beyond the useless "stuff" of life and worship our God in Spirit and in truth.

2 Kings 18:1 Hezekiah son of Ahaz began to rule over Judah in the third year of King Hoshea's reign in Israel.
2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah.
3 He did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, just as his ancestor David had done.
4 He removed the pagan shrines, smashed the sacred pillars, and knocked down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had begun to worship it by burning incense to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.
5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was never another king like him in the land of Judah, either before or after his time.
6 He remained faithful to the LORD in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the LORD had given Moses.
7 So the LORD was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did. He revolted against the king of Assyria and refused to pay him tribute. (NLT)

I wish to focus on the bronze serpent, a type of healing and a type of Jesus on the cross. The symbol of a physician healer is the serpent on the pole. Jesus was lifted up on the pole or cross to heal our soul and body.

Isa_53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Nehustan, a thing of brass. It was also called a fiery serpent in Numbers 21.

Num 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.
Num 21:7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Num 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Num 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The problem was that the brazen serpent became an object of worship, instead of God who is our healer. The people would come to the serpent to be healed; it became an idol and people were burning incense to it. So when king Hezekiah was cleansing the land by removing the idols, he cut up the brazen serpent. The serpent was mentioned by Jesus as a symbol of his own death to bring healing of the soul and body.

Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

There is no greater healing than to have our sins forgiven and to be translated into the kingdom of God. His death was also for the healing of our bodies. Sure, we all must die someday, but until the appointed time, God will heal us. God may also use a physician in our healing, but all healing comes from God.

Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Follow God's word, obey him and he will respond and bless you. Last night I heard that a dear missionary teacher and friend, sister Wilma, was taken to the hospital. We were asked to pray for her. The effectual prayer of faith is a prayer to the true God, not an idol and through the name of Jesus. A fervent prayer is a prayer focused and with passion, not with a double mind. We pray knowing that God hears our prayer. The prayer of a righteous person, is a prayer of one who trusts God with all their heart, praying on the authority of his word.

Hezekiah cleared the nation of idols and trusted the promises of God. This was counted to him for righteousness. We who have our hearts cleansed by the blood shed on the cross by Jesus, may come to God by faith, removing the junk from our hearts and he will hear our prayers. Pray with me for those you know who need prayer this very hour and pray for sister Wilma to be healed and filled with God's spirit. In Jesus name, amen.

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