Daily Devotion for July 15, 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 Gotta’ Serve Somebody was written by Bob Dylan after he found Christ, performed here by Aaron Neville.
You might like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You might be a socialite with a long string of pearls,
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, serve somebody,
Serve somebody, serve somebody
It might be the devil or it might be the Lord;
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
You might be a rock 'n' roll man, prancing on the stage,
Plenty of drugs at your command and women in a cage,
You might be a businessman or some high degree thief,
They may call you 'Doctor', they may call you 'Chief',
Now, you may be a State Trooper, you might be a young Turk,
You may even be the head of some great big TV network.
You may be rich or poor and you may be blind or chained,
You might be living in another country under another name,
Maybe a construction worker working on a home,
Might be living in a mansion, you might live in a dome;
You may own guns, you may even own tanks,
You may be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks,
Now you can call me Terry or you might call me Moore,
You may call me David or you might call me Coe,
You can call me RJ or you can call me Ray,
You can call me anything, I don't care what you say,
Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan
For the Day's Work
O God, who orders all things in heaven and earth: Help me to go about the tasks and duties of this day with the remembrance that I am your servant therein. Make me honest, painstaking, and cheerful, and grant that all I do and say may bring good to others and glory to your Holy Name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Prayer for Those with Harmful Obsessions
Heavenly Father, I remember today all the many people who damage or destroy their lives with one of the thousand obsessions that can plague the human mind: The alcoholic and addict; those with eating disorders; those with sexual compulsions; those who are driven to obsessive gambling; the superstitious; those who hoard obsessively and live in squalor; those whose only concern is their appearance, or wealth; or any of the myriad, baffling, and often bizarre behavioral disorders that may affect and burden the lives of your people.
Help me first to remember, when I am shocked by their behavior or critical of them, that they are your beautiful children whom you love. Give them the strength to seek help, guide them to people who can help them, and flood them with the power of your Holy Spirit, that they may control their disorders and find peace and contentment on this earth, and the eternal joy that awaits the faithful. I pray this in the name of Christ, who loved beyond all love and was always pleased to heal those who came to Him in faith.
[Let me not judge those afflicted with terrible addictions.]
And now let me go forth praising you, O Lord, with all my heart, telling of all your wonders, with my words and in my actions. I will be glad and rejoice in you this day. I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
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.
The Greatest Achievement
The greatest thing is to be found at one's post as a child of God, living each day as though it were our last, but planning as though our world might last a hundred years.
~ C. S. Lewis
2 Chronicles 9:1-10 (Auth. KJV)
The Story of Solomon (17) — The Queen of Sheba
And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.
And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
And she said to the king, “It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom: howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.
Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.”
And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.
Notes on the Scripture
The Bible gives us comparatively little about this legendary Queen. She appears to have come both to investigate Solomon and to pay him homage. When she arrives, she tests him with difficult questions; but Solomon is up for the challenge. Both his wisdom and the splendor of his court impress her beyond her greatest expectation. She is, in a word, cowed. She blesses the Lord and gives Solomon great treasure, including spices that exceeded any that Israel would see again.
The accounts of Sheba outside the Bible are more colorful and detailed. We might guess she came from the south, both from her use of camels and her possession of spices; and indeed, all outsideWithin the Bible, however, one might conclude she was from the east. See the final paragraph (below) about Isaiah 60, which would credibly place Sheba in the homeland of the Magi. sources agree on that one detail.
In the Koran, the kingdom of Sheba is in southern Arabia, in the vicinity of modern-day Yemen. She worships a sun god. When she hears of Solomon (Suleiman in Arabic), she fears conquest; her journey is more clearly one of homage and diplomacy. She explicitly adopts Abrahamic monotheism in the Koran account; while the Bible tells us only that she praised and blessed the Lord. Whether or not this implies conversion is debatable.
African legends are much more fun. In the Ethiopian version, “Makeda”, a black African woman, is the Queen in Sheba, now Ethiopia. She travels to Jerusalem in search of God. Solomon seduces her and she bears a son by him, Menelik I, the founder of the Ethiopian imperial dynasty. Haile Selassie, an Orthodox Christian who was deposed in 1974 by Marxists, was accepted in Ethiopia as a direct descendant of Menelik I and thus Solomon. (He is still worshipped today as a divine incarnation by Rastafarians).
The Yoruban people of Africa also claim Makeda/Sheba as their dynastic source. They have identified an impressive ruins of walls and canals as her capital city.
There are two implications about the Queen and her nation that might be drawn from the Bible. First, Christological theologians (who view practically the entire Old Testament as a prophecy of Christ) see today's passage as a harbinger of Christ's mission to the Gentiles. Secondly, and with more tangible support, she is connected to the Magi who brought similar gifts — gold and spices — to the infant Jesus. One may fairly find prophetic support in Isaiah 60, which is undoubtedly a messianic prophecy:
the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;
all they from Sheba shall come:
they shall bring gold and incense;
and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. (Isaiah 60:6)