Standing on a Platform of Wood

Nehemiah 8:4 – And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose.

We had an awesome study on Zoom last night with the people from our camp. Sadly, like many things, our camp was cancelled this year. Thankfully, our camp leaders are working to keep us all connected, even with the disappointment of not having camp.

Ryan Cummings led the study last night and talked about dealing with disappointments. He spoke of the people of Israel and Judah returning home from Babylonian captivity. They dealt with disappointment after disappointment. One of the things he brought up is something I never noticed before.

During the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, they set up a time where Ezra would read the Law of Moses to the people all day, and the priests would all teach and explain the Scriptures. It was a time of renewal and revival. But it was also a reminder of disappointments.

Ezra stood on a platform of wood. I’d never really thought about it, but Ryan pointed out that the previous platform upon which King Solomon prayed was a platform of Bronze.

Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court, and he stood on it. Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven, (2 Chronicles 6:13).

From bronze to wood. From millions of people to tens of thousands. From a giant magnificent temple to a more modest structure. From being owners of the land to being servants in the land. Disappointment after disappointment.

Yet, what do the people do? They worship! They praise! They sing! They read from the word! They repent and make commitments to follow God again! Even if the preaching and teaching of the word came from a wooden platform instead of a bronze one, the most important thing was that the word was still preached.

Life is full of disappointments. We can make our own lists of things that went wrong in life. It just didn’t go how we planned. But even when we stand on a platform of wood, we must praise God and worship Him. Make the best of what you have and the situation in which you find yourself. Nehemiah and Ezra didn’t have the ideal situation, but they still ensured that the people were taught and encouraged.

Trading Gold for Bronze

So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s palace. He took everything; he even took the golden shields which Solomon had made. Then King Rehoboam made shields of bronze in their place and committed them to the care of the commanders of the guard who guarded the door of the king’s house. As often as the king entered the house of the LORD, the guards came and carried them and then brought them back into the guards’ room (2 Chronicles 12:9-11).

Gold shields replaced with bronze shields. Gold in the Bible, and throughout history, is known for its great value and preciousness. Bronze is shiny and pretty, too, but it isn’t gold. Because Rehoboam had left God, God gave him over to Egypt, and things that were gold were now bronze. King Rehoboam traded God’s sacred things for lesser things. He gave up the holy things, the precious things, for things of much lesser value.

The Olympics are going on right now, and we can clearly appreciate this principle. Can you imagine Michael Phelps trading his 23 gold medals for 23 bronze medals? Would we be making such a big deal if he won 23 bronze medals? Nope. Interesting fact, he has won more Olympic gold medals in his lifetime than 62 other countries have won in the Olympics!

Fathers, this is a principle we can be teaching our children. Use the Olympics and this passage from 2 Chronicles 12 to show how Rehoboam traded gold for bronze.

Trading Gold for Bronze

This is a sermon I preached last Sunday, and here are the things I found in the Scripture about Rehoboam trading gold for bronze.

  1. He traded God’s ways for his own ways (2 Chronicles 12:1,14).
  2. He traded God’s strength for his own strength (2 Chronicles 12:1).
  3. He traded the wisdom of the elders for the wisdom of his peers (see 2 Chronicles 10:8,13). Those wise men had grey hairs for a reason, and he chose not to listen to them. His peers gave him the advice he really wanted to hear anyway, and he went with it.
  4. He traded the holy things for lesser things (2 Chronicles 12:9-11). He put bronze shields in the place of the gold shields. Think of how we do that in our lives today! Our minds are to be holy, fill them with gold. Our bodies are to be holy, they belong to God, treat them like they’ve been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Don’t trade down…don’t settle for things of lesser value.
  5. He traded serving God for serving man. God let him experience the “difference” between serving God and serving the masters of men (2 Chronicles 12:8). Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light. We often do not learn that until we see how cruel the masters of this world are to us.

Don’t trade gold for bronze. Just like Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of stew, we can give up very special things for things that in the end are of no value at all. Go for gold!