Daily Devotion for June 28, 2014
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.
The Dixieaires advise, “Don‘t let him catch you at the barroom door!” A treat from 1949.
Prayer for Guidance
Lord, teach me to number my days aright, that I may gain wisdom of heart. Help me do today the things that matter, not to waste the time I have.
The moments I have are precious, Lord, see that I count them dear. Teach me to number my days aright. Fill me this day with your kindness, that I may be glad and rejoice all the days of my life. Through Christ I pray,
O blessed Christ, my teacher, my savior, my God: You have commanded me to love others as myself. Yet it is so easy to find the faults in others, for I see their outside and compare it against what is inside me. I have inflated my goodness and importance in my own mind, but have judged others for the smallest shortcoming, and I am filled by foolish pride.
I vow by this prayer that I will strive to follow your Word, to forgive all who have injured me, to turn loose the petty resentments and grudges that poison the world with hatred, and to overlook the faults of others; and I ask to be pardoned wherever I have done injury to my brothers and sisters, who are your beloved children even though they, like me, are sinners. And I vow, when I fall short of your commandment, to seek out and confess my wrongdoing. Forgive me, Holy Christ, and help me to ever amend my life; this I pray, with faith in the grace you have promised to the penitent sinner.
[Give me wisdom of heart.]
And now, as a little child, let me abide in you all this day, oh Christ, so that when you appear I may have confidence and not shrink from you in shame at your coming. For I know that you are righteous, and I am sure that I will be made righteous only by my life in you.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 25:2-3 (ESV)
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
1 Kings 2:36-46 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (6)
Then the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. For on the day you go out and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die. Your blood shall be on your own head.” And Shimei said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.
But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei's servants ran away to Gath. Shimei arose and saddled a donkey and went to Gath to seek his servants.
And when Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and solemnly warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die?’”
The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your own heart all the harm that you did to David my father. So the Lord will bring back your harm on your own head. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord forever.” Then the king commanded Benaiah, and he went out and struck him down, and he died.
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Notes on the Scripture
Shimei is the last of the people David commanded Solomon to bring to justice, in order to settle David’s personal scores. If you read the story of David and Shimei, it seems rather fantastic that David allowed him to live. (2 Samuel 16:5-14, 19:16-23) David had taken an oath not to kill Shimei, but the oath did not bind Solomon, and as his father commanded, he devised a scheme that effectively gave Shimei enough rope to hang himself.
This passage ends with the line, “So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon,” which seems to imply that he was obligated to take care of these matters before his kingship was established. Perhaps Joab and Adonijah had to be killed in order to stabilize his political situation, as they were a threat to overthow him. But Shimei had notably not sided with Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:8) So why does Solomon have to kill him before he is accorded the notation, that his kingdom was established?
It reminds us that Solomon's kingship was special and was not established by political power, but by God. There is no record of Solomon taking an oath to carry out David's wishes, but apparently, David's words — whether as Solomon's father or as the King — were binding before God. So before Solomon could be established as the divinely anointed king, he was obligated to effectuate them.
There is another indication to the same effect; the lines about Solomon being blessed by killing Shimei, and the throne of David being established by Shimei's execution, indicate divine will that Shimei die.
General Note on Kings and Chronicles
We are following the book Christians call 1 and 2 Kings, but the story of Solomon and his successors is actually told twice in the Bible, the other book being 2 Chronicles. (1 Chronicles begins with 11 chapters of genealogy; the rest is a milder and less detailed account of David’s kingship.)
2 Chronicles covers a period of time roughly identical to 1 and 2 Kings. We will look in on 2 Chronicles from time to time, as its viewpoint is quite different from 1 and 2 Kings. Kings is a general political history, with interesting non-historical inclusions; its thematic emphasis is, first, the degree to which the Jews obeyed God's will and kept the law of Moses; and second, the effect that obedience and disobedience to God had upon the success and failure of the Hebrew nation. It is by far the superior account.
Chronicles, placed immediately after Kings in our Bible, is out of order: it was the last book written in the Old Testament. It is a retrospective look at the events with an eye to improving morale among the Hebrew people. It accordingly leaves out a lot of detail that Jewish leaders of 500 B.C. were not anxious to remember. But it has a different theological focus that more directly feeds into the New Testament, and a few details that Kings omits, so we will probably visit it on occasion.