Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Bronze Shield That Made Me Sad

A bronze shield. Who would have thought so much discouragement could come from a bronze shield? But when I read 2 Chronicles 12:10, which tells us King Rehoboam of Judah put bronze shields in the royal treasuries, I immediately thought of how discouraging that must have been.

You wouldn't think so, would you? After all, a bronze shield would defend. It would protect. It would do what it was made to do.

And yet...

If you flip back a few chapters, to the description of King Solomon's reign, you read of excessive opulence. We read of vast riches and people living in the lap of luxury. Foreign Queens visit and swoon over the organization, the ritual, Solomon's wisdom and yes, the riches.

For a few chapters we read of all the wealth Solomon had, including a fleet of ships which seemed to have no other purpose than going around getting Solomon more stuff. 2 Chronicles 9 tells us the ships would come back into port every 3 years loaded "with gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks."

Apes? Far be it from me to question the wisdom of Solomon, but apes? Peacocks, sure. When you want a splash of color to offset all the gold everything, bring in some peacocks. Apes? Did they amuse Solomon? I don't mean to monkey around with scripture, but I'm just imagining the mess apes would make.

I digress. We're told that silver was seen as common and everything was gold, including the shields Solomon had made for his army. Gold shields which weighed 15 pounds each. Like I said, silver was common. Everything was made with gold.

But when Rehoboam succeeded his father Solomon, we're told he neglected God and turned away from Him. And God didn't like it. God used the Egyptian army to come and ransack Jerusalem, and they took all the gold and made the Jews servants. So Rehoboam replaced the gold shields with bronze shields.

A bronze shield might get the job done, but when people know they should be using gold shields, your perspective shifts. Some might get the idea that I am promoting upgrading your phone or tablet. But we're thinking much too low. We have been offered treasures in Heaven and still we chase after things in this world.

Perhaps we need to see that all we have down here are a bunch of bronze shields.

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