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Daily Devotion for June 27, 2014

Worthy is the Lamb (detail), ceiling painting in the Union Church (Unionskirche), Idstein, Germany. Unknown artists after the style of Rubens, ca. 1670. This scene shows the Lamb, God the Father, and the four Evangelists as symbolic animals, together with other details from Revelation 5. (Full-size)



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lessons and scripture

Lord's Prayer

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.


For a Steady Mind While at Prayer

O  Lord, take from me idleness of spirit, which destroys time; and vanity of thought, which hinders Your presence and distracts my attention to prayer. And if, while in prayer, I turn away from You in my thoughts, help me to return to my purpose; so that I might not avert my heart from You, during the few precious moments I dedicate to talking with You.

And grant me this day, dear Lord, that You may never be completely out of my thoughts. Let me carry you as a voice to guide my every step as I slip down the path of this precious day, that I might always remember Your will, and lighten the world around me. Help me to make every moment of my day, every word from my mouth, a prayer, that I might live in Your presence.


Prayer of Thanks

O  Thou whose bounty fills my cup with every blessing meet! I give Thee thanks for every drop, the bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road, and for the riverside; for all Thy goodness hath bestowed, and all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown, and for the gain and loss; I praise Thee for the future crown and for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love which stirred my worldly nest; and for the stormy clouds which drove me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase, and for the waning joy; and for this strange, this settled peace which nothing can destroy.

by Jane Crewdson (1860)


[Let me carry God as a voice to guide me.]


Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.


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.

<i>The Heavenly Choir</i> by Gustav Klimt, ca. 1902.
The Heavenly Choir by Gustav Klimt, ca. 1902. The radical stylization of the “Vienna Secession” movement dominates Klimt’s vision of the welcoming angels of heaven.

Truth Be Told

It is perilous to separate thinking rightly, from acting rightly. He is already half false who speculates on truth and does not do it. The penalty paid by him who speculates on truth without doing it, is, that by degrees the very truth he holds becomes a falsehood.

~ Frederick W. Robertson

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 2:26-35 (New Century V.)

The Story of Solomon (5)

King Solomon said to Abiathar the priest, “I should kill you too, but I will allow you to go back to your fields. I will not kill you at this time, because you helped carry the Ark of the Lord God while marching with my father David. And I know you shared in all the hard times with him.” Then Solomon removed Abiathar from being the Lord’s priest. This happened as the Lord had said it would, when he was speaking in Shiloh about the priest Eli and his descendants.

When Joab heard about what had happened, he was afraid. He had supported Adonijah but not Absalom. So Joab ran to the Tent of the Lord and took hold of the corners of the altar.

Solomon ordered Benaiah to go and kill him, [saying], “Then my family and I will be free of the guilt of Joab, who has killed innocent people. Without my father knowing it, he killed two men who were much better than he was — Abner, the commander of Israel’s army, and Amasa, the commander of Judah’s army. So the Lord will pay him back for those deaths.”

So Benaiah killed Joab, and he was buried near his home in the desert. The king then made Benaiah commander of the army in Joab’s place. He also made Zadok the new high priest in Abiathar’s place.

Notes on the Scripture

Solomon continues to take care of his first order of business, which is the first business of any clever king: insuring that his enemies are neutralized. In Solomon’s case, however, we must see that his actions were righteous and according to the will of God. A cynic might see typically ruthless political motivation, but Solomon is acting well within God's law. One could make a case that his actions were compelled by God.

Even in the political arena, he would be justified in killing those who conspired to deprive him of his crown. The Jewish king was truly anointed by God himself, for the Hebrews were his holy people. Scores of kings all over the world would later claim divine right to a throne, without any actual merit, but the King of Israel had the unique status of actually serving at God's will. This becomes important to Christ's acceptance by the Jews a thousand years later; Matthew’s Gospel, remember, begins with a genealogy proving Jesus’ lineage back to David.

Aside from their plotting against Solomon, though, both Abiathar and Joab must be punished for other, earlier offences. Joab is the easier to see; on his death bed, David commanded Solomon to “arrange a bloody death for him.” (1 Kings 2:9) Joab's dealings with Abner and David were complex, and it is not totally clear that he was wrong to kill Abner. But David, acting as king, had found Joab guilty of murder and Solomon was bound by David’s verdict.

If it would take a page to fully explore Joab’s guilt, it would take two to flesh out Abiathar's odd position. In a nutshell: He was the last in the line of Eli, a great high priest whose two sons were corrupt. Because of the sons, God himself had ordained that Eli's line would lose the right to become high priests; and thus, Solomon is correct to remove him. Sparing Abiathar's life is an act of righteous mercy.

Note that Joab grabs the horns of the altar, and most likely died while holding onto them. How this reminds us of Christ's rampage against hypocrisy and the necessity of reforming one's heart to righteousness, rather than relying upon laws and rituals. Just as Joab cannot save himself by the outward act of grabbing a holy object, we cannot be saved from sin by taking a sacrament, or by regular attendance at Sunday school, or by baptism or any other outward act, unless our faith is sincere and we are truly reborn in the Spirit. In the words of Christ, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

endless knot

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1 Peter 2:9: [Y]ou are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

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