During the reign of King Rehoboam in Judah, God’s judgment fell on the land. Because of their sin against Him, God allowed Shishak, the king of Egypt, to plunder Jerusalem. Shishak carried off all of the valuable furnishings of the temple in Jerusalem.
To replace what had been plundered Rehoboam commissioned the casting of shields made of bronze (1 Kings 14:27). Whenever the king went to the temple, all the guards would carry these shiny shields with them, but then immediately after the king left the temple the guards returned their shields to the armory.
It looked good, but it was all a cheat … an imitation … a cheap trade-off.
Looking back a few chapters we read that not only did Rehoboam’s father, King Solomon, make the original shields out of gold, but he made almost everything out of gold. In fact, the Bible says, “Nothing was made of silver, because silver was considered of little value in Solomon’s days.” If silver was of little value, can you imagine how cheap bronze was?!
The temple is plundered. The gold shields—along with anything else of value—are gone, but there is no outcry from Rehoboam or the people, no repentance for their crimes against God, no anger at their sin that allowed Shishak’s raid.
Instead, Rehoboam wanted to try to keep up appearances.
He made bronze shields to look like the stolen gold shields.
He made his trip to the temple a spectacle of pomp and circumstance.
He hid the bronze shields away after he left the temple.
Isn’t this how many people deal with the plundering of their lives? I know I have at times. It seemed so much easier to try to cover up what was lost because of my sin, than to simply admit I sinned, repent of that sin, and ask for God’s merciful forgiveness.
Sure, Rehoboam still looked like he had his act together. But he knew—every time he was on this way to the temple and saw those bronze shields—that he was living a lie. He accepted a cheap trade-off for the real deal.
I am so grateful that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
I’m not going to settle for cheap trade-offs anymore. How about you?