Daily Devotion for July 11, 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.
You can follow the lyrics to Mendelssohn’s lovely setting of Psalm 42 in today’s Scripture section.
Prayer to Dedicate This Day to God
Holy God, as I face another day, I know I am going to face many challenges: to my faith, to my patience, to my love for others. I am going to have constant temptations to lapse into sin. Come to me now, Lord, and stay with me all day. Let your Spirit encompass my mind. Let me know your presence. Steer my hand, direct my words, guide my thoughts in everything I think and say and do. I resolve to live this day as a beacon of your glory, the best I can, with your help. I commit myself to give this day to you. In the name of Christ, be with me and help me.
Prayer for Eternal Life
Almighty God, with whom abide the spirits of those who depart hence in the love of Christ, and with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; I give you hearty thanks for the good examples of all your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now rest from their labors. And I pray to you that I, with all those who are departed in the true faith of your holy Name, may have my own perfect consummation and bliss, both in body and soul, in your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
[The lives and dedication of the saints who have gone before.]
Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)
May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.
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.
Psalm 42:1-3 (NKJV)
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?”
1 Kings 8:1-21 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (15) — The Ark of the Covenant
(This passage is editedTo eliminate repetition and padding, the passage has been heavily redacted without ellipses or other marks of omission. . Click here to read the full passage.)
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. And they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb.
And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” Then he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father,‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’ Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made.
For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. And there I have provided a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
Notes on the Scripture
Solomon, having built the Temple and furnished it, now finalizes the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham and Moses. God's work in the blessing of His holy people is complete: the Promised Land has been inhabited, the Temple built, the Ark installed in its intended repository, and the people live in the fear of Yahweh, under the hand of a righteous king. It is the greatest moment in the history of Judaism.
How long had the Ark been in the tabernacle? The dates of Biblical events become increasingly accurate with the passage of time, so the date when the Ark was moved, conventionally established as 959 B.C., must be considered more accurate than the date of building of the tabernacle. Christian and Rabbinical scholars generally calculate Moses' life to have fallen somewhere in the range 1450 B.C. to 1320 B.C. Thus, the Ark had been in tabernacle for something on the order of 400 years. God moves at his own pace!
Note that there is no record of the history of Israel outside the Bible, either written or archaeological, until about 750 B.C. (and little after that, especially before the Roman conquest). But we can see a rather poetic correspondence between how the history has been transmitted, and the content of the transmission.
The lifeless and powerless gods of Egypt, Greece, etc., still exist as the did 3000 years ago: inanimate stone or metal statues, living in stone houses, tangible but mute, created by the hand and will of human beings. The true Living God, however, presented Himself as existing in a physical structure only as a stage. His history is dynamic; it is a history of gradually educating humanity, so that they may return to Him. But He continues to live in truth and power. This is no manmade statue, but a God who speaks and acts. His existence reveals itself in His Word and in our hearts and souls; and it is there that His history may be found.
Inside the Ark, accordingly, are nothing but the Word and the Spirit: The law (engraved on stone tablets) and a living spiritual presence, which will reveal Himself as and when He chooses.
Notice that there are two things missing from the Ark that might have been there earlier: a bowl of manna and Aaron's staff. (See Num. 17:10; Exodus 16:32-33; Heb. 9:4.) Today's passage is quite clear and credible, that the Ark contained nothing except the stone tablets.
What happened to the manna and staffIt is also possible, depending on one's general outlook of the Bible, that Hebrews incorrectly places these items in the Ark. The contents of the Ark are not the point being made in Hebrews — remember our discussion of genre and context. Exodus and Numbers are not at all clear whether these items were put inside the Ark, as opposed to being set in front of it, inside the inner sanctum of the Tabernacle.? Nobody knows. But there is a credible hypothesis: During one of Israel's low points in the days of the Judges, the Philistines captured the Ark and kept it for seven months. (1 Samuel 5 and 6) It is hard to believe they didn't look inside, and completely plausible that they took out the contents to use as magic fetishesFetish: an object (as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner.. (Without much success, for the Ark brought them great distress, similar to the plagues of Egypt, and they returned it with a guilt offering to make a plague of tumors cease.)