Brass For Gold, 1 Ki 14:21-28

Brass For Gold

The sermon text is 1 Ki 14:21-28.  Our particular interest is in v.25-28, where Rehoboam exchanged brass for gold when he replaced the shields Shishak, king of Egypt, took.

When Solomon reigned, he built high places for the gods of the nations around Israel.  When his son, Rehoboam, succeeded him, “Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done”, 1 Ki 14:22.  They built high places, made images and groves, and did the abominations of the nations that God had cast out before them, including sodomy, 1 Ki 14:23-24.

As a result, God allowed Shishak, king of Egypt, to attack Jerusalem, 1 Ki 14:25-26.  He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house.  He took away all the shields of gold.  After they were taken, Rehoboam made shields of brass to replace them and committed them to the chief of the guard.  There is something in this passage that is very instructive for us today.

Don’t Go To Egypt For Help

God told Moses to warn the kings of Israel not to return to Egypt to multiply horses, Deut 17:16.  They were not to return that way again.  Yet, when Solomon reigned, he made affinity with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and married his daughter, 1 Ki 3:1.  Moreover, he had horses, linen yard, and chariots brought out of Egypt, 1 Ki 10:28-29.  According to 1 Ki 4:26, Solomon had 40,000 stalls of horses.  He absolutely defied the commandment God gave to Moses about going to Egypt for help.

Egypt was called the house of bondage because they had enslaved the Jews before Moses delivered them, Ex 13:3.  God didn’t want Israel to ever go back there for help or horses.  Solomon’s marriage to Pharaoh’s daughter and his purchase of all those horses began to turn his heart away from the Lord.  His marriages to strange women sealed his apostasy, 1 Ki 11:1-3.

Throughout its history, Israel continued to have trouble breaking away from Egypt.  Israel looked to Egypt for help when Assyria attacked and eventually took them captive, 2 Ki 17:4.  Johanan took the remnant of Judah to Egypt after Gedaliah was assassinated, Jer 43:4-7.  And Jerusalem is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt in Rev 11:8, at the very end of the Tribulation.  When all the nations of the world drink of the wine cup of the Lord’s fury, Sheshach is the last king in the list to drink, Jer 25:15-26.  Egypt is trouble from the beginning of the nation of Israel all the way to the end.

Yet, Israel went to Egypt for help and Egypt turned on them.  That’s because Egypt is an enemy. And this enemy is never anything but an enemy, even when there is affinity between the nations.

Egypt Is A Type Of The World

Egypt is a type of the world.  And in the same way that God told Israel to not return to Egypt for help, so we should never look to the world for help.  The world is an enemy of God, Jas 4:4.  We are not to love the world, 1 Jn 2:15; we are to separate, 2 Cor 6:17-18.  Nevertheless, the world has creeped into our churches and homes and now there is more abominable sin in the church than ever before.

We are to always keep distance between ourselves and our enemies.  The devil is our enemy.  Paul said, “Neither give place to the devil”, Eph 4:27.  James wrote, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you”.  The flesh is our enemy.  Pau said, “Make not provision for the flesh”, Rom 13:14.  The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.

When you look to the world for help, like Christians and churches have done today, you have worldly Christians and worldly churches.  The world will turn on you like Shishak turned on Judah.  And the world will steal your treasures and your golden shields, just like Shishak stole the treasures and shields in Jerusalem.

The World Will Steal Your Treasures and Your Golden Shields

The house of the Lord in our text is a type of a church.  The king’s house is a type of Christians, since we are to be kings with the Lord in his reign.  Because of sin these days, the world has robbed the church and the saints of their treasures and their shields of gold.  Our treasures are to be laid up in heaven, not in the earth, Matt 6:19-21.  Yet, Christians and churches have been laying up their treasures on earth, in the world.  

We Need Our Golden Shield of Faith

Shishak took the shields of gold.  Our shield is faith, and faith is likened to gold in 1 Pet 1:7 and Rev 3:17.  Today, Christians aren’t living by faith.  They are living by worldly strategies, methods, and programs these days.  And using the world’s means robs faith.

Brass For Gold On Shields Won’t Do

When Shishak stole the shields of gold, Rehoboam replaced them with shields of brass.  Brass looks shiny, but it’s not gold.  Gold was used for all the precious furniture inside the tabernacle, where God met with the priests.  Brass was used on the brazen altar and the brazen laver outside the tabernacle of the congregation.  Moses serpent was made of brass in Num 21.  

In these times of apostasy in churches and Christians’ homes, you can still get saved and you can still get forgiven from your sin.  There’s the brazen altar of sacrifice for our salvation and the brazen laver for our cleansing.  But you don’t have that rich, golden faith, that golden shield against the fiery darts of the devil, Eph 6:16. 

In 1 Sam 17:5-6, Goliath’s helmet, coat of mail, greaves, and target were all made of brass.  Those were not good enough against the golden faith of David in the living God of the Hebrews.  In apostasy, according to Deut 28:23, the heaven that is over thee shall be brass.  This is an indication that they are cut off from access to God.

We are never to trade brass for gold.  Like the Lord said in Ezek 22:18, “Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass…”. 

If You Have Brass for Gold, Get Your Golden Shield Back

In Is 60:17, the Lord said, “for brass I will bring gold”.  Get the sin out of your life now.  Get away from the world now.  Don’t look to the world for help.  If you go to the world for help, if we turn to the world’s means in this church, the world will rob us and steal our faith.  This is why we won’t compromise with the world here.  

You must act now.  When you have become so reliant upon the world, it may be hard to go back to the golden shields of faith.  Nevertheless, you must not continue to impress people with your shiny shield of brass.  You need the shield of gold.