May 24, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: God’s Standard of Excellence

Brother-Aaron-236x300There were three hundred of them. Each was large enough for a man to stand behind without being seen. Each was covered with three pounds of solid gold.

In today’s dollars their value would be approximately: $16,038,119.80! What were they? They were the ceremonial shields associated with the temple that God allowed King Solomon to build.

According to OS Hawkins, those extravagant ceremonial shields “… were only brought out of their vault when the king was going to the temple to worship.

The guards would form a double line, holding those shields for the king to walk through … it would be as if the temple itself were holding out its open arms to welcome those who came to worship.” Imagine the glorious sight this must have been!

As The King of God’s Chosen People was going into the Temple of God to worship, the guards would form a double line approximately the length of a football field with one hundred and fifty shields per side.

As those golden shields glistened in the sunlight, the king would pass through them as he went to worship God. What a glorious standard of excellence God set. Those shields, only one small portion of the splendor of the temple, served as a visual and tangible manifestation of God’s standard of excellence.

But sadly, those shields would soon be removed. When King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king.

The Bible teaches us in 2 Chronicles 12:1 that, … “when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him.”

One of the first things the young king did was to forsake the law of the Lord, and as is usually the case, the people played: Follow the Leader! And as judgment for his actions, God allowed King Shishak of Egypt to come against him and steal the shields of gold.

When King Shishak stole those magnificent shields, King Rehoboam hatched a plan to replace them. However, the only metal at his disposal was brass – a cheap substitute!

Unlike gold, brass has little to no value. And left alone, it will tarnish and become ugly. Constant polishing is required to imitate the gold.

As New Testament Christians and Churches, we too have been given God’s Standard of Excellence. It is His Son, Jesus Christ! We are to acknowledge Him in all our ways and hold high His Standard of Excellence. But just as King Shishak could invade Israel from the “outside” because of the sin on the “inside,” so it is with us today.

Our sins have allowed the evil one to invade and steal our shields of gold, our glory, and our testimony, while we have substituted shields of brass, visual deceptions and cheap imitations that require our constant polishing, for shields of gold.

But there’s good news! When we allow the Standard of God to be compromised – comebacks are allowed! King Rehoboam repented and God spared both him and all Israel from the full fury of King Shishak.

Jonah is another good example. When he was in full rebellion to God he discovered comebacks are allowed!  Jonah 2:6-7, “I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.”

Yes!  God has a Standard of Excellence for us – but it doesn’t involve polishing brass!

Brother Aaron

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