Death on a Pale Horse by William Turner, ca. 1825. The great British master depicts the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse not as a triumphant, upright figure astride his horse, but as a phantom emerging from a turbulent mist: his skeletal form, arms outstretched, and draped submissively over the horse’s pale back. (Revelation 6:8)
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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 the Day Ahead (from an old Prayer Book)
Almighty God, my heavenly Father, who declares your glory and shows forth your creation in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in whatever work my hand may find today, from the service of mammon; and assist me, that I may do the work which you have given me to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us, humbling himself to serve all who came to him and received him, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
My Lord God, creator of all that is, king of all who live, mighty in power and abundant in love beyond human imagination; I enter your presence in the sorrow of my sins against you, confessing all that I have done against your holy Word. I have offended you; I have harmed my neighbor; I have harmed myself. My attempts to hide my sin from others and to rationalize it to myself are futile: For you know all things.
I admit the sin I have tried to hide. And where I still cannot admit it, I ask your Holy Spirit to show it to me. I confess and deeply repent the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused to you, to others, to myself.
Forgive me for all of my sin, merciful God, through the mystery of salvation, by your grace that came through your only Son, Jesus Christ. From the bottom of my heart, I swear my love for Him. He is my Lord and my Savior, and I cast myself utterly upon your mercy in His name.
Mason Barge 8/22/2015
Prayer for Christ to be with Us
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us,
wherever He may send us.
May He guide us through the wilderness,
protect us through the storm.
May He bring us home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown us.
May He bring us home rejoicing
once again into our doors.
unk Mason Barge 10/2019
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
What Bible verse assures us that all of the suffering in this life will be, in effect, “worth it”?
Law demands—grace gives.
Law says “do”—grace says “believe.”
Law exacts—grace bestows.
Law says “work”—grace says “rest.”
Law threatens, pronouncing a curse—grace entreats, pronouncing a blessing.
Law says “Do, and thou shalt live”—grace says, “Live, and thou shalt do.”
Law condemns the best man—grace saves the worst man.
1 Kings 2:36-46 (ESV)
The Story of Solomon (7) — Shimei
hen the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there to any place whatever. For on the day you go out and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die. Your blood shall be on your own head.” And Shimei said to the king, “What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do.” So Shimei lived in Jerusalem many days.
But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shimei’s servants ran away to Gath. Shimei arose and saddled a donkey and went to Gath to seek his servants.
And when Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned, the king sent and summoned Shimei and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord and solemnly warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and go to any place whatever, you shall die?’”
The king also said to Shimei, “You know in your own heart all the harm that you did to David my father. So the Lord will bring back your harm on your own head. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the Lord forever.” Then the king commanded Benaiah, and he went out and struck him down, and he died.
So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Notes on the Scripture
Shimei is the last of the people David commanded Solomon to bring to justice, in order to settle David’s personal scores. If you read the story of David and Shimei, it seems rather fantastic that David allowed him to live. (2 Samuel 16:5-14, 19:16-23.) David had taken an oath not to kill Shimei, but the oath did not bind Solomon, and as his father commanded, he devised a scheme that effectively gave Shimei enough rope to hang himself.
This passage ends with the line, “So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon,” which seems to imply that he was obligated to take care of these matters before his kingship was established. Perhaps Joab and Adonijah had to be killed in order to stabilize his political situation, as they were a threat to overthow him. But Shimei had notably not sided with Adonijah (1 Kings 1:8). So why does Solomon have to kill him before he is accorded the notation that his kingdom was established?
It reminds us that Solomon’s kingship was special and was not established by political power, but by God. There is no record of Solomon taking an oath to carry out David’s wishes, but apparently, David’s words — whether as Solomon’s father or as the King — were binding before God. So before Solomon could be established as the divinely anointed king, he was obligated to effectuate them.
There is another indication to the same effect; the lines about Solomon being blessed by killing Shimei, and the throne of David being established by Shimei’s execution, indicate divine will that Shimei die.
General Note on Kings and Chronicles
We are following the book Christians call 1 and 2 Kings, but the story of Solomon and his successors is actually told twice in the Bible, the other book being 2 Chronicles. (1 Chronicles begins with 11 chapters of genealogy; the rest is a milder and less detailed account of David’s kingship.)
2 Chronicles covers a period of time roughly identical to 1 and 2 Kings. We will look in on 2 Chronicles from time to time, as its viewpoint is quite different from 1 and 2 Kings. Kings is a general political history, with interesting non-historical inclusions; its thematic emphasis is, first, the degree to which the Jews obeyed God’s will and kept the law of Moses; and second, the effect that obedience and disobedience to God had upon the success and failure of the Hebrew nation. It is by far the superior account.
Chronicles, placed immediately after Kings in our Bible, is out of order: it was the last book written in the Old Testament. It is a retrospective look at the events with an eye to improving morale among the Hebrew people. It accordingly leaves out a lot of detail that Jewish leaders of 500 B.C. were not anxious to remember. But it has a different theological focus that more directly feeds into the New Testament, and a few details that Kings omits, so we will visit it on occasion.
Church on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia. This magnificent ornate Orthodox cathedral was built on the site of the assassination of Tsar Alexander II.
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Today in Daily Prayer
Deuteronomy 10:17-19: The Lord your God . . . loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
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