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Substitutes

Substitutes

12 June 2011

Reading: 1 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 12; Philippians 3

Scripture:

9 So King Shishak of Egypt came up and attacked Jerusalem. He ransacked the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace; he stole everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. 10 King Rehoboam later replaced them with bronze shields as substitutes, and he entrusted them to the care of the commanders of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 11 Whenever the king went to the Temple of the Lord, the guards would also take the shields and then return them to the guardroom. (2 Chronicles 12:9-11 NLT)

Because of Rehoboam’s sin, his idolatry, and his failure to seek the Lord as his grandfather David had done, God allowed the Egyptians to conquer and plunder Judah and Jerusalem. After King Shishak of Egypt plundered Rehoboam’s wealth and stole Solomon’s gold shields, shields used by the king in ceremonies of worship in God’s Temple, Rehoboam made ceremonial shields of bronze and treated them with the same care previously given to the gold shields. When he went to the Temple of the Lord, his guards carried the bronze shields in the worship ceremonies.

Incredibly valuable and beautiful shields of gold lost. Cheap substitutes of bronze put in their place. And life goes on as if nothing had happened!

I don’t know if I’m making too much of this, but this story has always struck me as sad. Rehoboam lost the pure gold given him as a gift, then substituted cheap bronze in its place and just kept going as if nothing had even happened! Gold is pure, precious, and beautiful. Bronze is an alloy, common, and dull. How often do I lose the purity and beauty of my precious relationship with Jesus and substitute an alloy of mixture – self-effort mixed with prayer, selfish desires mixed with sacrifice?

3 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. (Psalm 24:3-4 NLT)

Prayer:

Father, Please forgive me for the times my sin has cost me the gold of pure relationship and I’ve substituted cheap bronze in my worship. Help me not to be content to just go along with ceremony and ritual as if nothing had happened. May my worship flow out of a relationship that is pure and precious and a gift of your grace. Amen.

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