Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 7 July 19:
2 Chronicles 11:17 — They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.
2 Chronicles 12:1 — When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.
2 Chronicles 12:9-10 – He [Shishak king of Egypt] also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house.
2 Chronicles 12:14 — And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
Rehoboam was a highly skilled leader who lived a compromised life before the Lord, so he failed to live up to his full potential, missed out on the blessings he could have received from the Lord, suffered under God’s discipline needlessly, led many people astray, and lived a relatively comfortable, marginal life until he died. Beginning his reign with such great promise, his ‘epitaph’ ultimately reads – “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”
Rehoboam replaced the gold shields with bronze shields, a great public symbol of the life he led. Gold is a symbol of rare, highly valued purity, suitable for noble purposes – “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3) “I will make people more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir.” (Isaiah 13:12) “Instead of bronze I will bring gold….” (Isaiah 60:17) “…the city was pure gold….” (Revelation 21:18) While gold is a precious metal, bronze is an alloy metal, a mixture of copper, tin, other metals and even non-metals. For perspective, in today’s market, gold is worth around $1,400 dollars per ounce, while bronze is worth about $2.00 per ounce. Both gold and bronze are shiny, but there is no comparing bronze with gold. The symbol of Rehoboam’s life, which he displayed to the world, was bronze instead of gold, compromise instead of purity and holiness. What shield do we carry before the world? “For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalm 89:18)
Today’s readings in Psalms speak to the consequences of compromise, but they end with a powerful statement concerning David (not that he was without compromise) – “With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.” Both Rehoboam and David were skilled, but a ‘bronze’ heart is no comparison to a ‘gold’ heart which is fully dedicated to the Lord – “Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart…. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!” (Psalm 119:2, 10)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 7 July 19: Seek the Lord and serve the Lord today wholeheartedly and let your shield of gold be a testimony before the world that brings glory to God.