Summary: A powerful sermon on the dangers of substitution!
BRASS FOR GOLD
II CHRON 12 : 9-10
I think about Jim Bakker. This televangelist of international acclaim and fame whose evangelistic programs were telecasted throughout many countries in the world. And how he was distracted and sidetracked and as a result manipulated the Gospel Ministry to build up his own empire involving millions of dollars and bringing shame to the cause of Christ.
I think about Jimmy Swaggart. This preacher/musician whose melodious tunes brought comfort to many. This televangelist also who was instrumental in exposing the diabolical affairs of Jim Bakker. This televangelist who while preaching against immorality and pornography was himself a slave to this terrible curse and who so often frequented the dingy and dark motels that offered this kind of entertainment.
I think about a fellow Minister who was still in shock. The sin of David had come to the light. He was now cleaning out the draws of his desk , carefully taking down the plaques of the wall. The plaque awarded for outstanding leadership, the plaque awarded for baptisms, and then he takes down the one awarded for Pastor of the year. Lost in his own thoughts, as to how it could have happened to him. What happened to the dedication, what happened to the consecration and commitment. How could it have come to this.
And then I think about JUDAH , and SOLOMON and REHOBOAM. The genius of Solomon was not limited to the building of the Temple of God, but it also included the building of the House of Lebanon.
And Solomon decorated this building with a huge Throne of Ivory and overlaid gold. Rows of cedar posts stretched across the edifice. And suspended from the ceiling , in striking view for all to see, were three hundred shields of gold, purest beaten gold. And those shields were representative symbols of the relationship between God and His people. They were symbols of the prosperity, of the Glory , of the power and the prestige with which God had blessed the obedience of His people. BUT NOW the years had taken their toll. SOLOMON was dead! REHOBOAM intoxicated by prosperity, and with licentious living had led his people into idolatory, and immorality, redefining evil to its highest point.
And the Scripture makes it clear in II Chronicles 12 that as a result of this abominable apostasy , at a time when Judah was physically the strongest, that the judgment of God marched into Judah in the armies of Shishak, ravaging the land and stripping the Temple of the 300 shields of gold. AND THEN IN VERSE nine , tells us : HE CARRIED AWAY THE SHIELDS OF GOLD! A STRIKING PHRASE! A PHRASE THAT HAS CAPTIVATED THE ATTENTION OF PREACHERS AND SCHOLARS ALIKE! For in this phrase…in these view weighted words, there is a warning!
A chilling warning. A solemn warning for all of us today ! For as we think about the best, and the purest , and the noblest in our lives….they are symbolized by these golden shields. Our relationship to God and His Church, symbolized by these golden shields. AND the question that we must pursue is….IS THERE A WARNING IN THIS PASSAGE FOR YOUR HEART AND FOR MINE ? Perhaps we can best find the warning in the recent headlines of a South African Newspaper. Headlines replete with reports that Government officials, leading politicians, judges, and district attorneys, representatives of the Law…all found guilty of breaking the Law. Men for whom there once was a day, when the Temple of their lives were hung with golden shields, of honor and ambition, and purity and commitment and high ideals , BUT SOMEWHERE, SOMEHOW ALONG THE WAY, THE GOLDEN SHIELDS ARE GONE. Is there a warning ?
So many Christians are lost in the jungle of lust, distracted by the highlife of materialism , distorted by the passion of mediocrity and we allow ourselves to be controlled by the evil one like puppets on a string…. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GOLDEN SHIELDS ? Is there a warning ?
Is there a warning in the shadows of your own memory ? Can you think back…..because it was only yesterday when the walls of your soul were hung with shields of gold. It was only yesterday when we promised God that we will be faithful to Him. But now in all honesty, we must confess and admit, that somehow with the passing of time….compromise has set in. The shining light in your heart has dimmed. Our commitment has lessened! In our struggle in life there has been an invasion in your heart and mine. An invasion of sordid self indulgences. Our ideals have deteriorated and God knows that our private lifestyles have become shameful and degraded and THE GOLDEN SHIELDS ARE GONE!
Painfully the truth is : THE TEMPLE HAS BEEN STRIPPED OF THE GOLDEN SHIELDS. There seems to be a higher danger for us as Remnant believers because we are sometimes like the big city day workers who parade up and down the busy streets with signboards draped over their shoulders advertising the best food in the world. We are like them….Bearers of the Word BUT WE OURSELVES ARE STARVING! IS that the way it happens ? Sometimes we go along with the game of life! Is that the way it happens ? Or is it as Ellen White writes : The work of the enemy is not abrupt. It is not at the outset sudden…and startling.. it begins in small ways! The neglect to be true to God. To rely upon Him wholly! Small invasions…little inconsistencies, neglected devotions, flirtatious smalltalk, feeding on trash, impure thoughts, unholy desires that are cherished and the soul is contaminated. Our integrity is compromised AND ANOTHER SHIELD IS GONE! However it happens, God knows it happens. There is a warning here that cries out for unswerving vigilence! A warning about life’s desperate tug-of-war. It is a warning about the ever present danger of losing the GOLDEN SHIELDS!