Thursday, February 14, 2013

Trading Gold for Bronze...

I think I may have written about this story before but I am always drawn to it every time I read it. It is the story of Judah's King Rehoboam and how during his fifth year of reign, the king of Egypt comes to war against Jerusalem, defeats them and takes everything including the treasuries of the Lord's temple. One particular set of items that Shishak takes are the golden shields which Solomon, Rehoboam's father, had made.

King Rehoboam, in an effort to save face, has bronze shields made to replace the gold ones which were lost. He committed them to the care of the royal escorts who guarded the temple. And whenever the King entered the Lord's temple, the royal escorts would bring the shields out, stand at attention and on guard, and then take them back to the armory after the King's visit.

If people didn't know better, they could have sworn that the gold shields of Solomon were still in Judah's possession. For bronze shields at a distance could easily be mistaken for golden ones. If the sun was just right and the guards far enough away, anyone in Jerusalem would have exclaimed upon seeing the royal escorts, "Look! The golden shields of Solomon!"

But the truth is plain to see: bronze shields are not gold shields. They are in no way even close to comparable worth. They may be stronger for battle, but they are not as valuable.

Why would Rehoboam see the need to replace the shields? And why was it so necessary to keep up the appearance of having shields of gold (even though all he could muster was bronze)?

I guess if we were truthful, all of us have some bronze shields in our lives. All of us have things that we have made to appear to be something but in reality are of less worth. For many of us, it might be our reputations. Isn't it human nature to deep down think more highly of ourselves than we really are? We of course may never show that on the outside to others, but deep inside, in the recesses of our souls, there is some pretty prideful stuff.

For those of us who know Jesus Christ as our personal Lord, we have the greatest, most precious shield of gold. We have His presence with us and within us. We don't need to manufacture bronze shields of personas, false acclamations, or anything else that would tend to elevate us in the eyes of others. We simply need only to let the golden light of His presence in our hearts shine out before men.

In a life of a panting, ever-tiring rush of trying to keep all the plates spinning, it is comforting to note that we do not need to worry with manufacturing bronze shields. We have the golden ones that are deep within our hearts already.


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