Daily Devotion for June 30, 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.
Prayer for the Armor of Light
The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let me then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Most merciful Father, I beseech you, for your mercy’s sake, continue your grace and favor towards me this day; let the sun of your gospel never go down out of my heart; let your truth abide and be established with me, and among all of us, forever. Help my unbelief, increase my faith, give me a heart to consider the time of my visitation. In faith clothe me with Christ, that he may live in me, and your name may be glorified in me, in the sight of all the world.
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
[I firmly intend to avoid whatever leads me to sin.]
Finally, let me go forth in thanks for the victory I have been given through our Lord Jesus Christ. May I be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, and always remembering that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.
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 14:2 (ESV)
Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord,
but he who is devious in his ways despises him.
1 Kings 3:1-15 (ESV)(edited)
The Story of Solomon (7) — Prayer for Wisdom
Solomon made a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt. He took Pharaoh's daughter and brought her into the city of David until he had finished building his own house and the house of the Lord and the wall around Jerusalem. The people were sacrificing at the high places, however, because no house had yet been built for the name of the Lord.
Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.”
And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, too many to be numbered. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil.”
It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him,
Notes on the Scripture
The story of Solomon asking the Lord for wisdom is well-known and doesn't need much comment. Solomon was indeed wise, so much so that over 50% of what Christians call the “Wisdom Books” of the Old Testament were authored by him: The Song of Solomon, the vast majority of Proverbs, at least one of the Psalms (Psalm 72), and Ecclesiastes.
There are two themes from Proverbs that are especially relevant to Solomon's wisdom. First, the starting point of the book: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge [wisdom]”, which is repeated several times (e.g. Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). The concept is discussed at length and informs the entire book. But “fear”, a rather poor attempt to approximate the meaning of the Hebrew word yirah, does not mean “being scaredThe same word is actually used in Hebrew to denote pure fear, being scared of something; however, it also has other meanings, and these other meanings are the ones intended in Proverbs.”. Although it encompasses a healthy understanding that God punishes the wicked, it more accurately connotes a profound respect and reverence. God does not want us trembling in a corner all our lives; He wants us to live life in confidence and boldness, worshipping Him and following His holy ordinances.
Secondly, Proverbs seeks to prove that wisdom leads to gain. Solomon's life is an object lesson to that very effect. Where he is wise, his reward is great, and since he is the king, his reward blesses his subjects as well. Where his wisdom fails, it causes setbacks and even disaster.
Oddly, this same passage shows a degree of disobedience to God. Notice the word “only” (also translated “except”) in the second paragraph. Sacrificing in high places, that is, worshipping and sacrificing on the tops of hills or structures, is a practice associated with paganism and idolatry. But God apparently — if you will excuse the slang — cuts young Solomon some slack. As we will see in the next chapter, God tolerated such sacrifice because He had not yet designated a permanent location for worship.
Gibeon, the site of the primary action in today's Scripture, was the highest of high places but, unlike most, was apparently a lawful location for an altar. So Solomon’s great sacrifice was righteous. Gibeon was one of the special Levitical citiesSpecific cities were designated for the residence and support of priests, who were from the Tribe of Levi and thus called Levites. and David had located the tabernacle (the tent built by Moses for worship) there, even though he moved the Ark to Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 16:39)
The marriage to Pharaoh's daughter is even more problematic. A commandment, given to Moses and incorporated into the fundamental law of Judaism, forbade marrying foreign women (especially the tribes of Canaan — Exodus 34:11-16.) Here, again, it seems that God forgave Solomon's marriage to the Egyptian princess; for although he will have trouble with foreign wives in the future, she does not appear to be the cause of any of it. Many have speculated that she gave up idolatry and practiced Judaism. And a marriage to an Egyptian or Edomite seems to be less offensive than a marriage to a woman of any other tribe. (Deuteronomy 23:2-8.)