Numbers 21:7-9 – The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a serpent and put it up on a pole.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. Judges 8:24 & 27 – And he [Gideon] said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder. (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear earrings.) Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family. 2 Kings 18:3-4 – Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it.
Are there any bronze serpents or golden ephods in your life? “No way!” you would probably say. Well, we’re going to take a closer look at these Old Testaments items, because the bronze serpent and the golden ephod became spiritual obstructions for God’s people. We need to be sure that no “bronze serpents” or “golden ephods” are obstructing our spiritual growth. Interestingly, the bronze serpent and the golden ephod were never intended to trip up God’s people. They were not made by Israel’s enemies to trick them or mislead them. The bronze serpent was made at the direction to the Lord Himself, and the golden ephod was probably made with good intentions, as a memorial to the miraculous victory accomplished by God for His people Israel. But the long-term effects were disastrous, and these items actually resulted in deviation and departure from true worship of the Lord. Similar problems can occur in our lives if we don’t learn the lessons of the bronze serpent and the golden ephod.