While living under the blessing of the Lord and in God’s favor Solomon made shields for the temple guards out of solid gold. He made 200 large shields and 300 smaller ones. (1 Kings 10:16) Why does Scripture bother to tell us this?
In Scripture, gold represents purity, truth, the Lord Himself. It is a picture showing us that Solomon’s protection, shield, was the Lord Himself. All of Solomon’s blessings were because of the Lord’s favor. Even though Solomon did not serve the Lord with his whole heart as David had, God’s favor continued on him because of David’s faithfulness.
As gold represents the things of God, in Scripture bronze is a symbol of man’s efforts. In 1 Kings 14 we see that Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, turned from the Lord totally. Because Rehoboam did not look to the Lord as his shield the Lord allowed the King of Egypt to attack and overrun Jerusalem.
“(The King of Egypt) carried off the treasures of the temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made. So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them …”
1 Kings 14:26, 27
Bronze can be polished to look like gold but it only makes a good show. Often, when we wander away from the Lord and his blessings, instead of repenting and getting right with God we want to keep up the show, to make sure we look good in the eyes of others.
We play the game hoping no one will notice. We fake the blessing of God by talking a good talk. We replace the gold of God with the bronze of our own efforts. Charisma and charm replace character. A happy face replaces inner joy. We fake the fruit and even the gifts of the Spirit. Our energy replaces the power of God.
But a bronze shield will wear you out. Eventually you will come to the end of your own strength. At that time, the wise turn back to God in repentance. The fools turn away from God claiming there never were real gold shields – “There is no God”, “It didn’t work for me”, “Christians are all hypocrites”, etc.
If you are struggling under the burden of a bronze shield, faking the Christian life in your own strength, give it up, lay it down, turn back to the Lord. Don’t let the King of Egypt – a picture of sin, satan and the evil of this world – steal the reality of Christ from you. Turn back to the Lord. He longs to be your shield, strength and deliverer. It is not too late. You have not gone too far.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.