Solomon Receives the Queen of Sheba, by Peter Paul Rubens, ca. 1620.
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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 This Day
Holy God, I pray in the name of Christ that you will this day increase my faith in the sweet promises of the Gospel. Give me repentance from dead works. Pardon my wanderings, & direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation. Teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments.
Make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber. But daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life.
Bless my family, friends & kindred; unite us all in praising & glorifying thee in all our works begun, continued, and ended, when we shall come to make our last account before thee blessed Saviour, who hath taught us thus to pray, our Father.
~ from a prayer of George Washington
Prayer to Use Our Gifts Wisely
Lord, give me each day the wisdom to see which things are important, and which things are not. Show me how best to use the time and talents you have given me. Help me to use all my opportunities wisely, that I may share, through service to others, the good gifts I have received from you.
Good shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to your fold again. Deal favourably with me according to your good pleasure, until I may dwell in your house all the days of my life, and praise you forever and ever with them that are there.
from a prayer of St. Jerome, 408 A.D.
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.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
Where does God tell us that His power is “made perfect in weakness”?
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
1 Kings 4:20-34 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (11) — Solomon’s Wealth and Wisdom
udah and Israel were as many as the sand by the sea. They ate and drank and were happy. Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. They brought tribute and served Solomon all the days of his life.
Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty pasture-fed cattle, a hundred sheep, besides deer, gazelles, roebucks, and fattened fowl. For he had dominion over all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him. And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon. Solomon also had 40,000 stalls of horses for his chariots, and 12,000 horsemen. And those officers supplied provisions for King Solomon, and for all who came to King Solomon’s table, each one in his month. They let nothing be lacking.
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.
Notes on the Scripture
What happens when a wise man becomes the leader of a nation? That is easy enough to see; even a cursory examination of world history shows the correspondence of wise rule with political gain.
But what is wisdom, and how can we discern it? For we, who elect our leaders, have been fooled as often as not. Wisdom does not seem to carry very much weight with the electorate; truthfully, a wise leader is a lucky accident. Solomon’s proverb, “the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart”, is more in the nature of advice than inevitability.
Solomon himself gives us one way to discern the wise from the foolish: “The fear of the Lord”, he writes repeatedly, “is the beginning of wisdom.” (e.g. Proverbs 9:10) Surely Solomon is history’s great object lesson. Israel’s shining moment of power and prestige came only when the anarchic period of the Judges ended and God’s anointed King, David the shepherd, a man who (at least in his early days) walked before God in reverence and obedience, came to power. Fear of the Lord begat wisdom, and wisdom begat 40,000 horse stalls and a fig tree in every garden.
Here, for once, a ruler of great wisdom sitting on the throne reflects not chance, but divine purpose. The people’s choice, Adonijah, was overruled solely by the will of David. It was God, acting through his servant David, who thrust Solomon into office.
It is fun to consider how rich, powerful, and wise Solomon became; and how a rather poor little nation like Israel came to a position of such prominence. But we must remember, God is telling us a story, with Canaan as His stage and the Jews as His troupe, and we are only to the end of Act II. Glorification of worldly success is not, ultimately, the point at all; for much later in the story, the One who brings true salvation will inform us that we cannot serve both God and Mammon (or “money”).
So what is the point of Solomon’s earthy glory? Just this: God keeps his promises. He promised the Hebrews, a tribe of slaves in Egypt, that He would bring them into a land of milk and honey and that their dominion would stretch from Egypt to the Euphrates River. Wisdom, also, will become ambiguous in the sense of knowing how to live successfully; for as Paul will teach:
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.” (1 Cor. 1:26-27)
We are getting a little ahead of the story, obviously; but we see that Solomon himself, in true wisdom, understood exactly the point that God was making when He blessed Israel with this implausible prosperity. Ecclesiastes, Solomon’s theological exposition on the “vanity” (or folly) of human activity, concludes: “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”. (Eccl. 12:13)
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Today in Daily Prayer
Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Top score(s) on the Daily Quiz for Feb 21, 2020 were:
Norman Daniels (12) HM Latchmenarine (11) Margaret Entwistle (11) Tom Kraft (11) Gary Merriman (11) randall martin (11) Christy Ballard (11) Theo Jackson (11)
Top score(s) on Match-a-Verse:
Keith Langley (9 out of 9) Pam Carpenter (9 out of 9) Kathryn Halfman (9 out of 9) Greg Flippin (9 out of 9) Norman Daniels (9 out of 9) randall martin (9 out of 9)