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2 Kings 18:4

The Brazen Serpent

The footnote in the New International Version at II Kings 18:4 is most interesting. When Hezekiah found the brazen serpent made by Moses in the wilderness still being worshipped, he destroyed it. The NIV says, “...he called it Nehushtan.” The footnotes explain the meaning—”a serpent made of brass.”

One is made to wonder how such an idol could have existed so long. It would seem that in the reformation movements of one of the judges or kings, it would have been destroyed. My opinion is that it was not recognized as an idol and hence was preserved. Perhaps they justified it by not calling it an idol. Hezekiah, however, came and called it what it really was—a brass image of a snake.

How often we justify sin by calling it a different name! Some call adultery, “a meaningful relationship.” We excuse covetousness by calling it “prudence” or “economy.” A life of sensual pleasure is “living with gusto.”

In answer to a critic, Abraham Lincoln asked, “How many legs does a cow have?” “Four,” was the reply. “If you call her tail a leg, how many does she have? asked Lincoln. “Five,” was the answer. “No,” Lincoln said, “Just calling a tail a leg, doesn’t make it a leg.”

Have we made a similar mistake? Do we think that sin is not sin, just because we do not call it by its right name'

Ancil Jenkins

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