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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for July 3, 2014

<i>Ancient Jerusalem with Solomon’s Temple</i> by Charles O
Ancient Jerusalem with Solomon’s Temple by Charles O'Donnell, ca. 1871. (See Full-size) This fantasy of Jerusalem, with its outlandish blend of Victorian, Romanesque, Levantine and others architectural styles, is rather wonderful. Solomon's Temple looks like a tourist resort in Brighton. Buildings and events from disparate eras co-exist. I spent a good ten minutes looking at the full-size print.



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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.


To Spread Cheer

Holy God, as I stumble through this life, help me to create more laughter than tears, dispense more cheer than gloom, spread more joy than despair. Let me remind those I meet that our final existence will be total joy, and that we may taste this joy through the Spirit even today. Never let me become so indifferent that I will fail to see the wonder in the eyes of a child, or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged. Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people, make them happy, and forget momentarily all the temporary unpleasantness in their lives. And in my final moment, may I hear You whisper, “When you made My people smile, you made Me smile.”


For God’s Protection

O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, I beseech you to direct, sanctify, and govern both my heart and body, in the ways of your laws, and in the works of your commandments; that, through your most mighty protection, both here and ever, I may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.



[The Lord sanctifies us.]


Oh Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being, I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of this day I may never forget you, but remember that I am ever walking in your sight. In Christ's name, I pray,


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>Creation of Adam and Eve</i> style of Giulio  Carpioni, ca. 1660.
Creation of Adam and Eve, after Giulio Carpioni, ca. 1660.

Exodus 21:23 (NIV)

I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give into your hands the people who live in the land, and you will drive them out before you.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 4:1-19 (ESV)

The Story of Solomon (9) — Solomon’s Officials

King Solomon was king over all Israel, and these were his high officials: Azariah the son of Zadok was the priest; Elihoreph and Ahijah the sons of Shisha were secretaries; Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder; Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was in command of the army; Zadok and Abiathar were priests; Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan was priest and king's friend; Ahishar was in charge of the palace; and Adoniram the son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.

Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each man had to make provision for one month in the year. These were their names: Ben-hur, in the hill country of Ephraim; . . . Geber the son of Uri, in the land of Gilead, the country of Sihon king of the Amorites and of Og king of Bashan. And there was one governor who was over the land.

Notes on the Scripture

The passage redactsRedact: to obscure or remove (text) from a document prior to publication or release. descriptions of ten of the twelve regional governors appointed by Solomon; it is a long list of mind-numbing Hebrew names. It is easy to see, though, that the Hebrews used the name of a person's father the way we use last names. And this practice was widely followed. It was often used in England until about 1400; by 1530, Henry VIII had required that all births be recorded using the father's surname. Which is why we have last names like Smithson, Davidson, etc.

Solomon's system of organization and taxation was clever in its simplicity. Israel was divided into twelve regions; there were twelve months in the Hebrew calendar. So, instead of a complex tax system, he simply ordained that each region would supply Jerusalem for one month per year. The twelve regions were based on the lands of the twelve tribes, but the correspondence was loose, as the tribes were disparate in size and wealth.

The first paragraph describes a rudimentary cabinet or court. We see two rather odd job descriptions. Zabud (son of the great prophet Nathan) was the “king’s friend”, which sounds like a rather good idea. Today, one might suppose, a spouse would fill that position, although it brings to mind a 1967 movie called The President’s Analyst.

The second office we might find odd was the man “in charge of the forced labor”, but in ancient days every court of a sizable empire had such an official. He oversaw two groups: 1) Citizens forced to give some portion of their annual time to the king, and 2) slaves, who were generally people captured in foreign wars. Some nations indigenous to Canaan had a permanent obligation of supplying labor. When God ordered Moses to subdue and inhabit all of Canaan, He instructed that, “If [a Canaanite city] accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor.” (Deuteronomy 20:11)

Solomon did a huge amount of construction; we will see some fairly impressive numbers about forced labor in later chapters.

The most interesting theological feature of this passage is the description of the lands Solomon ruled. God had told the patriarchs, at several point (with minor differences) that He would give them “this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates . . . .” Moreover, their conquest of the land was obligatory. God commanded them to subdue and occupy it. (E.g. Numbers 33:51-53)

It was David, primarily, who after 300 or 400 years finally honored God by completing the conquest and occupation of the Promised Land. Looking at a map, we can see that Solomon indeed ruled from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates. He failed, however, to occupy much of the coastland, including Philistia and Phoenicia. (Partly due to their strength and partly because the Hebrews feared and despised the water; they were high-country herdsmen and shepherds at heart, not sailors.)

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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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