Imitations of lost glory
Faith & Inspiration
by Andrée Seu Peterson
Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at 10:29 am
“… Shishak king of Egypt … took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made, and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze …” (1 Kings 14:25-27).
Gold is the best, but bronze is not bad.
Or you can look at it another way: Bronze, when one is used to having gold, is a downgrade.
Rehoboam, son of King Solomon and grandson of King David, had everything going for him. That is to say, he had the God of Israel as his Lord. But the southern kingdom of Judah over which he presided strayed from the Lord on his watch. They made statues and shrines to other gods “on every high hill and under every green tree.” In the course of time they were attacked by Egypt to the south:
“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made. …”
If you had only the 1 Kings version you would think the attack was unrelated. “Just one of those things,” as they say. The text draws no cause-and-effect correlation between Judah’s spiritual corruption and Egypt’s military escapade. You have to go to the 2 Chronicles 12 account to learn that the one resulted from the other as God’s providential chastisement:
“In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem …” (2 Chronicles 12:2).
From that time on in history, the kingdom of Judah started to diminish:
“In those days, the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel …” (2 Kings 10:32).
And to cut off parts of her glory too. When gold shields are replaced for bronze ones, you can take one of two attitudes. You can say, “Well, bronze is still beautiful and not chopped liver,” and keep going on your merry profligate way. Or you can say, “What is happening to us! Are we starting to go downhill because of some sin in us?” and you can repent.
Ever note, brothers and sisters, when a person departs from the Lord, be it by big or small compromises, there will predictably be a gradual diminution of the quality of life that the person himself will scarcely be aware of as it is going on, or will rationalize at first as not so very serious. Hosea puts it this way:
“Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not” (Hosea 7:9).
If he had a good wife, he will now have a series of one-nighters. If he experienced freedom in the thought life, he will now have to get his fix of porn on the computer, or his fix of dope just to stay “off sick.” For a while he will believe he is enjoying his new lifestyle, for Satan’s counterfeits are at first appealing.
People my age or older can remember when our country was prosperous and healthy. You could feel it in the air as much as know it in your wallet, in employment figures, and in domestic manufacturing output. Many today do not notice what was lost, but are acclimated to this poor “new normal.” When anything or anybody goes downhill, it is not obvious right away. Like C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed:
“Like the warming of a room or the coming of daylight. When you first notice them they have already been going on for some time.”
It is best to go back to the Lord if you have strayed. All other riches are a poor man’s counterfeit and will not satisfy at last.
Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.