When God asked Solomon to make a wish, Solomon answered, “Lord, You helped my father David while he was king. He trusted in You. Now You have made me king in his place. I’m so very young, Lord. I don’t know how to be a good king like my father David was. I only ask for this one thing. Give me a heart full of wisdom. Help me to see what is right and wrong. I want to rule over Your people as You want. Help me to judge Your people with wisdom. Help me to know the difference between good and bad.”
This answer pleased God very much. He said to Solomon, “Because you have asked for this and not to live a long life or become rich, I will make your wish come true. Now I have given you a wise heart. There will never be a king as wise or as great as you.”
King Solomon indeed became so wise a king that to this day he is remembered for his unmatched wisdom. During his reign he built the magnificent temple of Jerusalem, adorned with Gold and the most expensive materials and crafts available during those days. He even made two hundred large shields of hammered gold and kept them inside the temple.
Solomon’s son – like all the Kings, and all of us – started with nothing but possibilities before him. Rehoboam failed - spectacularly. He learned nothing from his father’s mistakes. He cared little for his father’s God. At first, it looked like he might start out his reign making good decisions. He called his father’s advisors and counselors together and asked them how he should rule. Their advice - “If you will be a servant to these people this day, and serve them, then they will be your servants forever.” In other words, serve like Jesus did, and people will be more than willing to help you shoulder the work of the Kingdom. (1 Kings 12:1-11)
But, Rehoboam ignored their counsel. Instead he asked his childhood buddies what they thought. They told him to tell the people, “My father put a heavy burden on you. I’m going to add to it!” His arrogance split the kingdom into pieces.
But Shishak, king of Egypt, attacked Judah and robbed the temple. He took the gold shields Solomon had made. Rehoboam could only replace them with bronze ones! So when the king came to the temple, instead of the glorious gold shields being brought out to attest to the king’s glory, they brought out cheap brass ones. (1 Kings 14:25-28) … Same form, different value.
I see in this a cautionary tale for our modern church. The very scary thing about churches and ministries is that you follow certain worldly success formulas, you CAN have a successful church. The scarier part is that you can do all of that, and the Spirit of God may not even be present anymore.
Same form – different value.
Yes, we still have the shields. We still raise them as a show of power, prosperity and “purpose.” But they are a cheap imitation of the Gold Shields of Glory God wanted for us. We have a FORM of godliness but deny the power thereof. He seeks those who will return to His will, remember how He works, and rebuilt HIS house – one not of hands, but of heart, Spirit and truth. God give us that heart. May He return to us the Gold Shields that proclaim His glory and destroy from us the bronze shields that seek only to proclaim ours.
God has a “gold standard.” He has it for truth, for His church, for ministry and for His children.