Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 4 July 21:
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 $1,796 dollars per ounce, while bronze is worth about 36₵ 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, instead of holiness and genuine worth, unsuited for noble purposes. What shields do we carry before the world? Will we display shiny but cheap shields of compromise and impurity, or will be carry precious gold (which by the way is much heavier than bronze) shields of wholehearted commitment to the Lord? “For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalm 89:18)
- 1 Peter 1:3-7 — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Ephesians 4:1 — I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called….
- Philippians 1:27 — Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel….
- Colossians 1:10 — …so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:12 — …we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:11 — To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
- 2 Timothy 2:15 — Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
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.” (Psalm 78:72) 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) – 4 July 21: 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.