In childhood we learn through our successes and failures.  When we try something and get poor results we remember either not to try that again or if we do try it again, to do it differently. Such trial and error learning helps to reinforce good skills while minimizing the poor actions. In 2 Kings 18, Hezekiah takes the bronze serpent which had been used to overcome the fiery serpents in Numbers 21 and smashes it.  This image had been a symbol of success and victory yet it had become an item of worship.  We can easily criticize the Israelites for making idols of such foolish things made of brass and wood or for worshipping that which only had an appearance of life. Yet many times we are no different in the church.

When a healing evangelist prays in a certain manner and many people are healed, we often think that if we use the same words and mannerisms then we will get similar results. We think that “the way or the manner” in which we lay hands on a person brings the power of God, because some other notable person did it the same way.  We feel that a certain style of worship or praise songs brings about a specific type of result because it worked that way before.

There is nothing wrong with using specific songs or styles of worship, praying with certain mannerisms, or even having symbols like candles or crosses within the church building. However, when we think that the way which we respond to these items and styles produces better results, then they can become an article of worship, we start to attribute the power to the wrong source, it becomes an idol.

Lord, You are the source of all power, help us not to misalign our thoughts or actions but rather to focus on You.  We want to walk with You in simple and pure ways.


  1. Thank you Pastor Keith for this explanation of the bronze serpent. I had always wondered about that as I think it a strange analog(from one who doesn’t like snakes). And yes it is only our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Resurrection Power that it is our source of everyhting!

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