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Daily Devotion for July 14, 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.
Here’s something to get us going for the new week.
There is a mountain I’ll cross over;
I cannot see the other side.
Will it be home or just another
Mountain to climb? I can’t decide.
Fortunately I’ll climb with a friend,
One who will carry me to the end.
There is a mountain I'll cross over,
Fortunately I’ll cross with a friend.
There is an ocean I’ll sail over,
I cannot greet the coming tide
Will it be still or stormy weather
When will I reach the other side?
Fortunately I’ll sail with a friend.
One who will sail with me on to the end.
There is an ocean I'll sail over —
Fortunately I’ll sail with a friend.
There is a road that I must travel,
Blinded by headlights in the night.
I look for a map or a sign that will guide me
I just want to make it home tonight.
Fortunately I’ll ride with a friend,
One that will ride with me all . . . .
There is a road that I must travel,
Fortunately I will ride with a friend.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Father, this morning I pray for those who are beginning to know Christ: may You strengthen them on their journey. I pray for all children, and for those who take care of them, especially those who awaken them to faith. I pray for the ill and those who are ending their lives in loneliness: Oh Lord, give them the strength they need. I pray for those who are condemned to prison or exile: Lord, sustain their hope. I pray that the fire of your Spirit may renew the energies of all your saints and enable us to welcome those who do not know you. And finally, Lord, may your Church be constantly renewed, in prayer, in your Word and in your worship; in Christ's name, this I ask,
To Witness Boldly
Dear Heavenly Father, I lower my head before you and confess that I have too often forgotten that I am your child. Too often, I carry on my life as if you do not exist, falling far short of being a bold witness to You.
For this, I ask your forgiveness, and I pray that you will give me strength, courage, a clear mind and an open heart when you call upon me to witness to your mighty love. Remind me always to strive to be who You would have me be, no matter where I am, or what I am doing, or who I am with. Make me into your lantern, precious Lord, and let your light shine through me so bright that all can see it.
[Being a bold witness.]
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord.
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.
1 Kings 8:37 (Living Bible)
The Story of Solomon (16) — Solomon‘s Prayer (2)
(This passage is editedTo eliminate repetition and padding, the passage has been heavily redacted without ellipses or other marks of omission. . Click here and here to read the full passage.)
[And Solomon continued his prayer before the assembled nation, to celebrate the building of the Temple.]
“If theyThat is, the people of Israel and Judah. sin against you — for there is no one who does not sin — and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy; if they repent with all their heart and soul, forgive your people and grant them compassion in the sight of their captors. For you have separated them from among all the peoples of the earth, to be your heritage, just as you promised through Moses, your servant, when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, O Lord God.”
Now when Solomon finished offering all this prayer, he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice.
Then the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord, twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep. So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt, seven days. On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king.
The Lord appeared to Solomon a second time and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me; I have consecrated this house that you have built, and put my name there forever; if you will walk before me, keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised your father David.
“If you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes, then I will cut Israel off from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a taunt among all peoples.”
Three times a year Solomon used to offer up burnt offerings and sacrifices of well-being on the altar that he built for the Lord, offering incense before the Lord.
Notes on the Scripture
There is something remarkable about this passage. It begins with Solomon presiding over the dedication of the Temple. This was not an ordinary function of a king; it was the function of a high priest. Even Moses did not perform priestly functions, but reserved them (by God's command) for Aaron and his descendants. But here, Solomon and only Solomon is credited, both offering the great prayer making the ritual sacrifices. No Levite is mentionedThis is not to say Levitical priests did not perform the sacrificial rituals, only that Solomon is credited. .
Nor is this the only role that he took upon himself; considering the enormous body of wisdom literature and poetry attributed to him, Solomon also sat at the head of the learned men, the scribes who slowly evolved into scholars of the law and, ultimately, the rabbis of today.
And finally, the long conversation (abridged here), where Solomon seeks to intercede for his people in advance, in case they might ever be defeated and transported, prophesies the Babylonian Captivity. He does not take the harsh admonishing tone of the formal prophets like Amos and Jeremiah; rather, he asks that God will forgive the sins of Israel. If this sounds Christlike, the line, “for there is no one who does not sin,” sounds positively Pauline. It could come right out of the Epistle to the Romans.
When we consider the attitudes of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the New Testament, we see a marked difference. The Pharisees were full of pride at their righteousness, by obedience to an ever-expanding rule book of outward religious minutiae; one would not credit them with putting universal sinfulness and a need for forgiveness at the center of their worship. And the Sadducees' jealous protection of their priestly role would drive them to terrible hypocrisy, even (in the case of Christ) secret collaboration with the Roman conquerors. Theologically, Solomon was closer to Christ than the holy men of Judaism a millennium later in this respect.
His reign was a high point, not only in terms of wealth, territory and power, but also in the advanced religious, poetic, and philosophical culture it supported. Like Rome a thousand years later, Solomon's Empire was an apex, and his death began a period comparable to the Dark Ages in Europe.
One wouldn't want to take comparisons to Christ too far; Solomon's inclination to extremes included concupiscence, with his 700 wives, and greed, for his wealth was legendary. Also, despite the prophetic nature of his prayer, at no point does he hint at prophecy of a messiah, as David had doneDavid actually wrote (or had written) one of the greatest of all messianic prophecies, Psalm 22..
The theology and court of Solomon, like the king himself, were one-of-a-kind.