Daily Devotion for July 10, 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 Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
Prayer to Look Beyond Appearances
Heavenly Father, I confess that in my life, I have been more attentive to someone who was beautiful and ignored another who was not. I have judged people by the way they look, by how old they are, by how they are dressed; and yet I know, in my heart, that all souls are beautiful to you and that you have commanded us to love one another, not through the sinful eye of our body and our emotions, but through the perfect eye of your Spirit.
Help me, I pray, to see other people as you see them. as fellow souls struggling to find you. Let me not be deceived by appearance; let me not be misled by my prejudice. Let me not compare the outside of other people to the inside of myself, nor believe that the circumstances of my birth define a standard that others are supposed to meet. Let me see my own imperfection, and not that of my fellow man, this I pray,
[Let me see into the heart of every person.]
May the God of hope fill me and all of us with the joy and peace that comes from believing, so that we may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Proverbs 10:15 (ESV)
A rich man's wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
1 Kings 7:1-12 (The Message)
The Story of Solomon (14) — Solomon’s Palace
It took Solomon another thirteen years to finish building his own palace complex. He built the Palace a hundred and fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. There were four rows of cedar columns supporting forty-five cedar beams, fifteen in each row, and then roofed with cedar. Windows in groupings of three were set high in the walls on either side.
He built a colonnaded courtyard seventy-five feet long and forty-five wide. It had a roofed porch at the front with ample eaves.
He built a court room, the Hall of Justice, where he would decide judicial matters, and paneled it with cedar.
He built his personal residence behind the Hall on a similar plan. Solomon also built another one just like it for Pharaoh’s daughter, whom he had married.
No expense was spared—everything here, inside and out, from foundation to roof was constructed using high-quality stone, accurately cut and shaped and polished. The foundation stones were huge, ranging in size from twelve to fifteen feet, and of the very best quality. The finest stone was used above the foundation, shaped to size and trimmed with cedar. The courtyard was enclosed with a wall made of three layers of stone and topped with cedar timbers, just like the one in the porch of The Temple of God.
Notes on the Scripture
What did Jerusalem look like 3000 years ago? If you want to get a feeling for what it was like to approach the Temple or Palace of Solomon, make it a point to go to the basement of the British Museum someday. You can stand before two colossal winged human-headed lions, which guarded the gates of the Assyrian Palace from 150 years later (in the city of Nimrud), and the great lion that stood before the Temple of Ishtar. (These weigh 30 tons; it took 300 men to haul each one, when they were brought to the museum.) One sees a lot of people standing with their mouths hanging open. It is awe-inspiring and knee-weakening.
We must always remember how much even godly rulers are products of their times, and Solomon ruled in the days of the Eastern potentate. His lifestyle will increasingly resemble that of Xerxes or Kubla Khan more than Moses or Joshua. A great palace was a sign of power to other kings, enormously important as an intimidation factor, at a time when gauging the strength of a potential foe was difficult.
But even if the splendor of his palace was a political necessity, the Old Testament time and again relates the punishment of anyone who relies on a power other than Yahweh. From a political standpoint, it made perfect sense for Solomon to act like a grand emperor; he was taken seriously as one of the great powers, as shown by his marriage to the Pharaoh's daughter, the cooperation of King Hiram of Tyre, etc. But we must, reading the Bible as a whole, see some fault in his grandeur. David was punished, after all, for worrying about the size of his army rather than simply trusting in God to provide a victory.
It is sad to think of what great monuments human beings have built, and how most of them have been destroyed. It will never end; consider the World Trade Center in New York. The Parthenon in Athens barely managed to survive WW1; it was gutted and almost toppled, because the Ottoman Turks decided to use it as a gunpowder magazine and it was hit by a shell. Carthage was torn to the ground by the Romans, the pieces hauled off, and the earth salted. Dresden, the most beautiful city in Germany, was practically wiped from the map by Allied bombers.
It is sad, but it brings us back around to the vanity of life. The awe we feel before a great edifice is emotional; they may be beautiful, we may enjoy seeing them, but they are illusory to the eye of eternity. Those who put their faith in men will always, ultimately, be disappointed; for we are filled with sin and will always war with one another, and we will destroy one another's idols, no matter how great or magnificent. There is one eternity and one place we may surely put our hope, and that is in Christ.