He [Hezekiah] removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. – 2 Kings 18:4
As the Israelites were leaving Egypt and the Lord led them around in difficult places, most of the people clamored against Moses and the Lord God. The Lord punished them for their rebellion with poisonous snakes, and then He relented and made a way out: Moses was to make a bronze serpent and anyone who looked up to the serpent would be saved from the snakes. (Numbers 21:4-9) That serpent on that pole was only meant to be a temporary solution to a one-time event, and it was only there in the first place because of Israel’s rebellion, but as we read in the story of Hezekiah, FIVE HUNDRED YEARS LATER the people were still worshipping that inert idol! Instead of worshipping the Lord God who had done the greater thing—you know, the whole freedom from slavery in Egypt thing—the people had taken the simple thing God had made as a one-time solution to their temporary rebellion, and they turned it into a permanent idol.
Today, too many people worship the messengers rather than the One who sends the messengers. They come to churches across the world to hear one speaker rather than to hear the One speak. They focus on a particular style of preaching or teaching, looking at the bronze serpent so raised up, worshipping the idol that briefly led them away from their rebellion. They forget about the Savior who brings so much more if they will continue to gaze at Him rather than at the famous preacher.
As we saw in Hezekiah’s day, true revival starts by tearing down ALL of the idols, even the ones sent by God! Revival means we need to break all the images people have created—the false prophets, the prosperity, the famous teachers, the great writers—and turn people back to the One who is the true source. Jesus never said people can come to the Father through well-known churches, teachers, books, or programs. He said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). As we cry out for revival, let this one word be our message: JESUS. Raise HIM up, and revival will break out!