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Saturday, November 16, 2019

Daily Devotion for June 20, 2014

<i>The Toilet of Bathsheba</i> by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1643.
The Toilet of Bathsheba by Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1643. Bathsheba has been a popular subject for artists over the centuries, but this treatment by the great master is probably the best, and certainly the most famous, of them.



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lessons and scripture

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.


Alan Jackson with an acoustic performance of an old favorite.

Prayer for Faith During this Day

Holy God, I am weak, and sometimes the way grows fearsome; for this world is filled with evil, hiding at every corner, ready to steal my precious joy in You, craving to destroy my soul. Help me to keep my faith today, through every trial and doubt I face. Stay close to me; Holy Spirit, abide in me and make your presence known in everything I see and do. Give me strength the whole day through, mighty God, in the name of Christ I pray,


Thanks for the Word of God

I  thank you, loving God, that we have the Scriptures to search and may find in them eternal life; that they are given by your inspiration in total truth, and the profit of salvation we may gain from them. I give thanks for all those who toiled to preserve your Word for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the Bible we may have hope and a light of prophecy and truth, as sure as a bright light shining in the darkness; and that on the most ordinary day, both I and any other person who seeks you may hear in our own tongue the mighty works you have done.



[Remembering all of the people over the past 2,000 years who have worked to preserve the Bible.]


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!


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.

<i>Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor</i> by Marianne Stokes, ca. 1895.
Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor by Marianne Stokes, ca. 1895.

Proverbs 1:5-7 (KJV)

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
to understand a proverb, and the interpretation;
the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge:
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 1:1-9 (ESV)

The Story of Solomon (1)

Now King David was old and advanced in years. And although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm. Therefore his servants said to him, “Let a young woman be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait on the king and be in his service. Let her lie in your arms, that my lord the king may be warm.”

So they sought for a beautiful young woman throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Abishag the Shunammite, and brought her to the king. The young woman was very beautiful, and she was of service to the king and attended to him, but the king knew her not.

Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest. And they followed Adonijah and helped him. But Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and Nathan the prophet and Shimei and Rei and David's mighty men were not with Adonijah.

Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or Solomon his brother.

Notes on the Scripture

Shulamite Bride

The story of Solomon begins with the last days of David, for the events surrounding his accession to the throne are worthy of a miniseries. The vignette about David and “Abishag the Shunammite” — that name does not sound like the most beautiful young woman in an entire country, but we have to take the language barrier into account — is generally self-explanatory. The only thing a modern reader might miss is that David did not “know” her only because he was too old.

As we will see clearly concerning Solomon, the two great Kings of Israel — David and Solomon during the short-lived Hebrew Empire — were Eastern potentates. Their sexual access to young women, and the general opulence of their courts, were the unabashed perquisites of an Eastern monarchy, to a degree that would not be countenanced in the Western world, even in the earliest days of history.

In the coming weeks we will be seeing dozens of obscure and often rather bizarre names, most of which may be forgotten immediately. Abishag and Adonijah, however, are names worth remembering (at least in the short run). Nathan, luckily a bit easier, is a name worth putting into long-term memory, as he was one of the great prophets of Israel; he is not widely recognized, because there is no Bible book named after him. We won't see too much of him, as he is primarily associated with David; he was the only person brave and/or holy enough to lambaste David about his misconduct with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 12) He was surely responsible for some of the actual written record we have of David and Solomon. (See 1 Chron. 29:29-31; 2 Chron. 9:29.)

We also see a vivid picture of young Adonijah, David's oldest living son and thus the heir apparent.

As David approaches death, Adonijah mounts a campaign, for his succession (as we will see) is highly questionable. He becomes a celebrity — and how little has changed in 3,000 years. He was notably handsome. Just like a Hollywood star, he gets a “posse” which follows him around in public, and impressive transportation. Like a politician being filmed coming out of church, he makes a great show of religiosity. He even “announces for office”, as we say today.

The lines have begun to take shape already, for Adonijah does not invite Solomon, Nathan, or others whose support he cannot hope to obtain. He is forming his own faction; and of this, we will see much.

endless knot

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Matthew 7:7-8 (NKJV): Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

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