Daily Devotion for July 17, 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 path rugged and steep?
Are there briars and thorns on the way?
Do sharp stones cut your feet
As you struggle to rise
To the heights thru the heat of the day?
2. Is your heart faint and sad,
Your soul weary within,
As you toil ’neath your burden of care?
Does the load heavy seem
You are forced now to lift?
Is there no one your burden to share?
3. Let your heart be not faint
Now the journey’s begun;
There is One who still beckons to you.
So look upward in joy
And take hold of his hand;
He will lead you to heights that are new —
4. A land holy and pure,
Where all trouble doth end,
And your life shall be free from all sin,
Where no tears shall be shed,
For no sorrows remain.
Take his hand and with him enter in.
Music by George D. Pyper
Lyrics by Joseph Fielding Smith
Prayer for the Morning
Blessed are you, O Lord my God, King of the universe, who removes sleep from my eyes, that I may see the returning light of the your day. I thank you for all that you have done while I was asleep, watching over me and all your children while we slept unaware, and I pray that my thoughts and acts this day may show forth my love and thanks for you and all you have done for me.
Help me through your Holy Spirit, that I may remember what you have taught me in the Bible and it may show forth in my every deed. Let me not wander into the hands of sin, nor into the hands of pride or perversity, nor into the hands of temptation, nor into the hands of shame, but steer my inclinations towards goodness and charity this morning and all the day. In the name of Christ I pray.
A Prayer by Anne Bronte
My God (oh, let me call Thee mine,
Weak, wretched sinner though I be),
My trembling soul would fain be Thine;
My feeble faith still clings to Thee.
Not only for the Past I grieve,
The Future fills me with dismay;
Unless Thou hasten to relieve,
Thy suppliant is a castaway.
I cannot say my faith is strong,
I dare not hope my love is great;
But strength and love to Thee belong;
Oh, do not leave me desolate!
I know I owe my all to Thee;
Oh, TAKE the heart I cannot give!
Do Thou my strength — my Saviour be,
And MAKE me to Thy glory live.
[My feeble faith clings to thee.]
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
Proverbs 11:28 (ESV)
but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
1 Kings 10:14-29 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (18) — Solomon‘s Wealth
Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield.
The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom.
All King Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
And Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah.
And Solomon's import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king's traders received them from Kue at a price. A chariot could be imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver and a horse for 150, and so through the king's traders they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Syria.
Notes on the Scripture
A talent was a measure of weight, believed to be about 75 pounds. The 666 talents of gold Solomon received in a year was thus, at current rates, worth about one billion dollars (U.S.).
Anyone who has read Revelation or seen enough cheesy horror movies will immediately lift an eyebrow at Solomon’s income, 666 talents of gold. This number is the mark of the beast, a sign of Satanic influence, in Revelation. The correlation could easily be an accident, and it could just as easily intend to show a connection; some people relish finding hidden meaning in Biblical numbers.
Are we meant to see evil in Solomon's wealth? The idea that “love of money is the root of all evil” will not become prominent until the New Testament, although even in the Old Testament, especially in later books, we see criticism of the self-satisfied rich. Solomon himself wrote, “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye.” (Prov. 28:22)
But we must remember that attitude towards worldly goods is a primary difference between New and Old Testament theology. The Hebrews did not have the promise of eternal life. When Israel put its faith in Yahweh, worshipping Him in obedience and piety, He rewarded them with material goods. And also, we must remember how much of Solomon's wealth was dedicated to God, in building the Temple.
Solomon's love of wealth may have turned his eye from God and, thus, have contributed to his undoing, but we are reading the Old Testament. Within four corners of Old Testament theology, we will find other causes for the eventual decline of both Solomon and his kingdom.
The student of Revelation will see another connection between evil and Solomon’s income. With his strong ties to the Phoenicians — Hiram (the Phoenician king), as we have seen, treads a careful diplomatic line with Israel — Solomon’s source of his great wealth is trade. He controls major routes both by land and sea. In Revelation 13:17, no person is allowed to “buy or sell” unless he carries the mark of the beast (666), just as no person could carry on trade without Solomon’s approval.
There is also a more generic evil in Solomon's trade. In the last paragraph, we learn that his agents grow rich as arms dealers, buying chariots and horses from Egypt and selling them to the great kings of the north. It is a by-product of ruling the entirety of Canaan: it gave Solomon control of every land route between Egypt and the Middle EastTechnically, every land route between Africa and anywhere in Europe or Asia transverses Palestine; but significant land trade did not extend beyond Persia to the east and Anatolia/Turkey to the west in that day.. (See map.)
The “hidden mystery” speculation of a connection between Revelation and Solomon is interesting, but it borders on misreading Scripture. No doubt, Israel will have reason to regret selling such powerful armaments to kingdoms on her northern borders; but the Bible will give us explicit reasons underlying Israel's future decline, rather than leaving us to find esoteric meaning in numbers.