January 26th – Guarding Bogus Treasure

Today, just for a change, instead of ending with a Bible reading, we will begin with one. Here it is from 1 Kings, Chapter 14 v. 25-28. In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. He 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 and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace. Whenever the king went to the Lord’s temple, the guards bore the shields, and afterwards they returned them to the guardroom. King Rehoboam was son of King Solomon.When he became king, the kingdom was united. His Grandfather, David, had made the rebellious tribes of Israel into one nation, ruled from Jerusalem. Solomon, his son, ruled over Israel united under a powerful, prosperous but dictatorial administration. Rehoboam had the opportunity of keeping the nation united.He blew it. The nation split into two;
Judah, centred on Jerusalem, and Israel centred on Samaria. This incident in today’s reading provides a brilliant insight into a mentality all too common, even now. The nation’s gold was stolen and he replaced it with brass, but he had it guarded as if it were still gold. As the royal guard went on and off duty they were guarding bogus treasures. The true treasure had gone but the guarding rigmarole continued. The ritual continued even after the treasure had disappeared. How expert we are at carrying on regardless, when the gold of spiritual meaning and real conviction has long since departed.We keep on going through the motions as a cover up. When love has died we go through the motion, instead of putting all our efforts into renewing the love which once made everything else real. When we know our sins have separated and are separating us from God, instead of confessing and being broken and renewed, we ‘carry on religion as usual’ hiding the emptiness. When a church has become set in its maintenance mentality and has no time nor desire to evangelise and grow and glow – it hides in empty rituals. ‘We’ve always done it this way’. ‘Don’t touch our traditions’, even if they are as meaningless as those soldiers guarding bogus treasure.
A Prayer: Today, Lord, move your people to stop playing at church and instead become your living church.
Now read Acts 17: 16-34

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Thought 4 The Day

Do not with hold discipline from a child. Your punishment will not kill him, but without it he may kill himself.

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