Daily Devotion for November 15, 2013
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.
Prayer of Submission
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Thanks
For the gladness here where the sun is shining at evening on the weeds at the river,
Our prayer of thanks.
For the laughter of children who tumble barefooted and bareheaded in the summer grass,
Our prayer of thanks.
For the sunset and the stars, the women and the white arms that hold us,
Our prayer of thanks.
God, the game is all your way, the secrets and the signals and the system; and so for the break of the game and the first play and the last.
Our prayer of thanks.
from Our Prayer of Thanks by Carl Sandburg
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Proverbs 13:3 (ESV)
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Matthew 12:42 (ESV)
The Queen of Sheba
The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now something greater than Solomon is here.
1 Kings 10:1-13 (ESV)
Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.
And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.
And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. . . . Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! . . .Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. . . .
And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.
Notes on the Scripture
The Queen of the South is a second example or illustration of a point Christ is making, the first example being the people of Nineveh in the preceding verses, who heard Jonah's prophesy and repented of their sin. Like them, she was (by implication) filled with sinfulness, and as with all people at least some of this sin continued even after they repented of it: “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23) In other words, Christ is not implying that she is fully righteous before God.
Nevertheless, there were throughout the Old Testament people whose ears were open and who lived with hearts open to God, loving Him and yearning for his righteousness. It is these people, one might speculate, whom Christ sought to redeem in the three days after his death, prior to his resurrection.
But even though she is not truly righteous, she compares favorably to the scribes and Pharisees who have become Christ's attackers. Her attempts to find God with an open heart compare so favorably to the attitude of the Jews that she will rise, at the Second Coming, to condemn them.
[NOTE: The terms “the Jews” is used in two very different ways. It may, of course, refer categorically to all Jews. However, the New Testament frequently uses the term “the Jews” to mean specifically the religious/political leadership of Israel at the time of Christ (priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, etc.) who would accuse and execute Jesus, e.g., “the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you’?” (John 1:19). Almost all commentators follow the New Testament practice. Readers must understand which usage is intended from context, but the limited and pejorativePejorative: a word or phrase that has negative connotations or that is intended to disparage or belittle, especially such a word that also has or formerly had a neutral or positive connotation. For example, “Nimrod” originally meant a mighty hunter, but the pejorative of it today is used as an insult meaning a weakling or fool. meaning is more common.]
Queen of Sheba in African
regal attire of the period.
We have included the entire passage concerning Sheba, because so much fascinating legend has grown up about her that it is sometimes difficult to remember that the Bible is not its source. Some of it may well be true, but it is not part of the Word of God.
The legends about Sheba are numerous, detailed, and filled with colorful details. Two primary sources are the Koran and an Ethiopian book called Kebra Negast ('the Glory of Kings'). The most important, perhaps, is that she was the Queen of Ethiopia, also know as Queen Makeda. She slept with Solomon and bore a son by him and, upon her return to Ethiopia, founded a dynasty that lasted unbroken until the death of Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, in 1974.
Selassie, like his predecessors, had among his titles “The Lion of Judah”; one cannot overstate the glory of this title, for Judah was the tribe of Jacob and Jesus himself, and the lion is the symbol of Jerusalem. Selassie was (and is) worshipped as the son of God by the Rastafarian cult in Jamaica.
Both Christian and Jewish legend has it that there were also immigrants of the Tribes of Dan and Judah that accompanied Makeda back from her visit to Solomon. And in fact, this might be true. There was a very odd Jewish enclave in Ethiopia called Beta Israel, which was suppressed in the 20th century and encouraged to emigrate to Israel.