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Thursday, July 31, 2014

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Daily Devotion for July 31, 2014

<i>Jezebel</i> by Henry John Stock, ca. 1882.
Jezebel by Henry John Stock, ca. 1882. The famous “bad girl” pictured as a Victorian woman wearing (of course) a red dress, surrounded by evil influences.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


We almost always have vocal music, but this organ solo of Go Tell It on the Mountain will make your jaw drop. Look Ma, no hands!

To Walk in the Spirit Today

Holy God, in the daily journey from sunrise to sunset, remind me always of your holy presence hovering near, both within me to guide me, and surrounding me to protect me. Free me from shame and self-doubt; and help me, and all of my fellow believers, to see the myriad opportunities to walk our path in the courage, honesty, and wisdom inspired by your Holy Spirit.


For Those with Disabilities

Dear heavenly Father, my thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost the use of their body or mind, in some important way: those of us who cannot move, those who cannot walk, who cannot see or hear, whose minds are not clear: for all of us who have lost some function that others of us take for granted. And I count myself among them, for who among us will not face such tribulations as we grow older?

I pray that those of us so afflicted may know you, Lord Christ, and that your Holy Spirit may be strong in us, to give us comfort in the inconvenience, the frustration, and often the embarrassment we might suffer. Heal us, where it is your will, Lord; and for those of us who cannot be healed, let us know with complete confidence that we are truly whole. Bring to all of your children full comprehension of the freedom and joy that await us, after the short trial of this life is ended, and we all come to perfection together.



[Let me be confident that I am whole before God, no matter what I suffer in my body and mind on earth.]

Benediction (from Colossians 3)

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within me all this day; and whatever I do in word or deed, may I do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.

The Worship of Mammon by Evelyn de Morgan, ca. 1909. A Pre-Raphaelite depiction of Mammon as a pagan idol, to whom a barefoot (and thus innocent) woman seems ready to give her body, in return for a bag of money.

Psalm 14:3-4 (ESV)

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the Lord?

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 14, 15, 16 (selections)

Israel after Solomon (3): Ahab and Jezebel

(This passage is editedTo eliminate repetition and padding, the passage has been heavily redacted without ellipses or other marks of omission. . Click here to read the full passage.)

At that time Jeroboam’s son became very sick. So Jeroboam told his wife, “Go to the prophet Ahijah and ask him what will happen to the boy.”

[She visits Ahijah, who gives her a message from God for her husband.]

“You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made other gods for yourself and have made me furious with your gold calves. And since you have turned your back on me, I will bring disaster on your dynasty and will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will burn up your royal dynasty as one burns up trash until it is all gone. The members of Jeroboam’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

Then Ahijah said to Jeroboam’s wife, “Go on home, and when you enter the city, the child will die. In addition, the Lord will raise up a king over Israel who will destroy the family of Jeroboam. Then the Lord will shake Israel like a reed whipped about in a stream. He will uproot the people of Israel from this good land that he gave their ancestors and will scatter them beyond the Euphrates River, for they have angered the Lord with the Asherah poles they have set up for worship.”

         *         *         *

Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel. Ahab did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam, but he also married Jezebel of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.

Notes on the Scripture

God was angry with Solomon and divided the kingdom as punishment, giving the northern kingdom (Israel) to Jeroboam. But His anger towards Solomon cannot compare to His divine wrath against Jeroboam and the Hebrews who follow his example, worshipping the idol-gods of Canaan: El (the golden calf), Asherah, and the Ba'al gods.

Ahijah was clearly a great and true prophet of God. We do not hear much of him, perhaps because he lived so early, or perhaps because little of his prophecy was recorded. But he unloads both barrels on Jeroboam's wife: 1) Jeroboam and all of his line will be obliterated, and 2) the entire bulk of the Hebrew nations, the ten northern tribes, will be removed forcibly from the Promised land and scattered beyond its borders.

We skipped over a number of kings. Nadab, Jeroboam's evil son, succeeded him but was killed by a revolt led by the next king, Baasha (who killed Nadab's entire family). Baasha's son Elah reigned for two years and was murdered by one of his officials, Zimri. King Zimri committed suicide when another official, Omri, raised an army against him. Omri engaged in a civil war with another would-be king, defeated him, and won the crown. Ahab was Omri's son. There were several intervening kings in Judah, as well, but they succeeded peacefully and the line of David was kept intact.

We pick the story up again with King Ahab in Israel. First, Ahab and Jezebel are both famous names and it is good to know the source. Second, it was during Ahab's reign that perhaps the second-greatest prophet of all Jewish history — Elijah — comes into prominence for his vehement prophecies against Ahab. Elijah does not have a book — this is where his story is told.

Note: We have decided that the best way to follow the events of the period is to, first, follow the story of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) from the division to the end. Then we will come back and pick up the history of the Southern Kingdom (Judah). There is little overlap between the two stories; there is constant warfare between them, and the history of the Kingdom of Israel is fairly quickly told. As one might expect from the prophecy of Abijah, they are toast.

We have prepared a table showing the prophets (who have O.T. books) of both Israel and Judah, to try to help people through the long and disorganized mass of writings hereafter.

endless knot

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Update — July 12, 2014

We hope we have fixed a small problem that has been bugging us for a long time: how to center both the top picture and the headling (Daily Devotion for . . .) across a wide variety of screen sizes and platforms. We have also added a subtle grey line to separate the advertising column from the content, which we hope will make the page just a tiny bit more attractive, and the ads a tiny bit less distracting.

Update — July 4, 2014

If you look at Page Two, you will notice that we have begun to transition from informational or editorial comment to a more inspirational message. The name of the link has been changed to “Daily Inspiration”. It's hard to tell how long it will take us to put this into a different format and, eventually, an email; but it will take a while, at least several months. This will be a Monday-Friday deal, probably.

By Mason Barge