Daily Devotion for July 5, 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 Kingsmen Quartet sing at Crossroads Church of Turlock, California. This little tune is catchy, and the group seems like four guys from your home town who decided to make a video.
To Remember God During the Day
Lord God, the heavens are telling of your glory and the wonders of your love, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night. Yet, as clouds will cover your sky in gloom, as the ceilings of men's buildings hide the sky from my sight, so the cares of this existence block your majesty from my mind.
I look with hope to the day when my knowledge of your glory will never be hidden by the concerns of the world, and I may know you every moment of time, forever; but until then, forgive me for all the time I spend with my face bent to the things of earth, your Spirit ignored and forgotten; for you are always there, willing to show yourself to me and guide me and comfort me, if I only lift up my head and see the sky above.
Prayer of Trust When We Feel Lost
Lord God, sometimes I feel like a lost child, alone in the woods or on a strange street. I cannot see the road ahead of me. I fear what lies in the shadows.
I have no idea where I am going. I cannot know for certain where it will end. And even though I am trying to follow your will, sometimes I can't be sure whether I am or not. Sometimes, I think, I am fooling myself. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and that you will direct me, even if sometimes I get it wrong.
I hope and pray that I will at least not do anything today that I am certain will displease you, and I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always. Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my troubles alone.
[You will never leave me to face my troubles alone.]
God of mercy, swift to help: as my lips pour forth your praise, fill my heart with the peace you give to those who wait for your salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
1 Kings 5 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (11) — Starting the Temple
Hiram king of Tyre always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him; but now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants.”
Hiram rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people.” And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, “I am ready to do all you desire in the matter of cedar and cypress timber. My servants shall bring it down to the sea from Lebanon, and I will make it into rafts to go by sea to the place you direct. And I will have them broken up there, and you shall receive it. And you shall meet my wishes by providing food for my household.”
So Hiram supplied Solomon with all the timber of cedar and cypress that he desired, while Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat as food for his household, and oil, year by year. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
King Solomon drafted forced labor out of all Israel, and the draft numbered 30,000 men, 10,000 a month in shifts. They would be a month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the draft.
Solomon also had 70,000 burden-bearers and 80,000 stonecutters in the hill country, besides Solomon's 3,300 chief officers who were over the work. At the king's command they quarried out great, costly stones in order to lay the foundation of the house with dressed stones.
Notes on the Scripture
At this point, we need some backstory, which is told in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles. David deeply desired to build the Temple, but the reasons God would not allow him to do it are not perfectly clear. There are indications that two great sins prevented it: his adultery with Bathsheba and his taking of a military census (a sin difficult to understand, but a great wrong in the eyes of the Lord). One can see a practial aspect to it, however; David was preoccupied with the enormous task of conquering and subduing the Promised Land.
“I AM” (Exodus 3:14)
Ironically, David's two great sins were instrumental in building the Temple; for his army supplied the peace and resources to build it — including the friendship with Hiram — and his adultery with Bathsheba begatThe first child of David and Bathsheba died, to punish them for their crime. Apparently it was sufficient atonement, as their later child was obviously much-favored by God. Solomon.
David intended to build the Temple; but Nathan, the prophet, had informed him that God would not allow it; it was a task intended for his son. (2 Samuel 7) In 1 Chronicles, we learn that David actually accomplished much of the preliminary work. He left behind 3,750 tons of gold and 37,500 tons of silver, as well as great quantities of prepared wood and stone. (1 Chron. 22) While we don't see it in Kings or Samuel, David worked with Solomon in his youth, preparing him to be king and allowing him a great deal of authority. In addition to the large amount of preliminary material work done by Solomon and David together, the architectural planning was actually finished while David was alive. (1 Chron. 29)
The sheer scale of the Temple seems to have been forgotten in modern times, but it was a more impressive achievement than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The workforce was, by some estimates, larger than that available to Cheops. The foundation stones of the Temple dwarf the stones used in the pyramids; even the Roman army in 90 A.D., sworn to annihilate all evidence of the Temple, could neither move nor demolish them.
But, returning to the main point, saying that Solomon built the Temple focuses too narrowly on the actual construction phase; it was a work of God accomplished through David and Solomon, beginning with David's killing of the Philistine champion, Goliath; and from another angle, the great tangible work of Judaism, giving glory to God for keeping His promise. We need to keep in mind, despite the epitome of earthly glory and wisdom embodied by Solomon, that David is the most revered king of Jewish history; he is comparable to Moses in fame, although they played very different roles.
Finally, in considering of the heritage of Judaism, one must note that the Temple building was destroyed (an act entwined with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, the “new temple”), while the pyramids of the Egyptians still stand. But it is hard to miss a theological implication: Ancient Egypt lives on in monuments, its gods proven to be lifeless stone statues slowly corroding in the desert wind; while Judaism's physical structures were destroyed, but its God is alive and filled with power, worshipped and glorified throughout the world.