Numbers 21 New Living Translation
The Bronze Snake
4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, [c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"
6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 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.
8 The LORD said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived.
2Kings 18 New Living Translation
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,[a] 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 cut down the Asherah poles. He broke up the bronze serpent that Moses had made, because the people of Israel had been offering sacrifices to it. The bronze serpent was called Nehushtan.[b]
Two separate episodes about the bronze snake are reported in the Old Testament. In Moses' time, a person bitten by the snake lived just by looking at the bronze snake on a pole. The latter is a prophetic type about Jesus on the cross who died for us so that we who are dead in sin can live.
Over time, during Hezekiah's reign, this same bronze snake was smashed because it became an idol Nehustan. What happened along the way? God, which is the divine power behind the bronze snake on the pole that brought life has been forgotten, people have turned into worshipping the form – the bronze snake instead of believing God that is behind it.
Our contemporary time is no different – christians can sometimes subconsciously drift into worshipping the songs instead of God of the songs, worship prayer/prayer time/methods or forms instead of God behind prayers, worship methods/programs instead of lifting Jesus high, worship ministries instead of God of ministries, worship "church or body of Christ" instead of God of the "church" when we overemphasize on body ministry instead of God, exalt "ministers" instead of God behind the person, worship the blogs instead of God behind the blogs, worship books/tapes/dvds instead of God behind the messages..... + exalt law/efforts/philosophies instead of Jesus ...and endless list
Jesus' wisdom is displayed in the last Supper by exhorting us to have Him in focus as in Luke 22 v 19 ..."This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." We tend to have short memory and get distracted easily along the way.
Hence, truth revealed can over time degenerate into form of godliness (religion) unless we abide in Him ....which implies :
we live in His presence unceasingly, have fresh manna/revelation instead of camping on past revelations, we flow in His Spirit/walk in the Spirit/hear His voice... otherwise even our 'Holy communion' time of His finished work for us or christian functions can degrade into forms of godliness with no life (religion).