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Daily Devotion for August 7, 2014

<i>Elijah’s Sacrifice</i> by Joseph Moore, ca. 1864.
Elijah’s Sacrifice by Joseph Moore, ca. 1864. Moore presents Elijah with less spectacle and more piety than we usually see him.



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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 Belong to Christ

Oh loving Lord Christ, so eager to die that I might live,
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
Put me to doing; put me to suffering;
Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you;
Exalted for you, or brought low for you;
Let me be full, let me be empty;
Let me have all things; let me have nothing.
I freely and with my whole heart yield all things to your will and direction.
And now, oh glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. Let this be for eternity, I pray.


Prayer of St. Jerome

Lord, thou hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path; grant us so to meditate on that Word, and to follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.



[Let me walk in the light.]


Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord 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>Woman Reading a Bible</i> by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1880.
Woman Reading a Bible by John Singer Sargent, ca. 1880.

John 5:25-25 (NLT)

And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son.

Blue Latin Cross

1 Kings 20-22 (NLT) (excerpts)

Israel after Solomon (8): “Dogs Will Drink Your Blood”

The Lord said to Elijah, “Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’”

         *         *         *

“So, my enemy, you have found me!” Ahab exclaimed to Elijah.

“Yes,” Elijah answered, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord’s sight. So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you. I will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel! I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’

“And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel.’”

         *         *         *

So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against [Assyria]. The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.

But an Aramean soldier randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor.

So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the Lord had promised.

Notes on the Scripture

We are reading a synopsis of 1 and 2 Kings, to get a picture of Israel's history in the period from Solomon to the destruction of Jerusalem; and today, it might be better called a “whirlwind tour”. 1 Kings 20-22, the last chapters of the book, are an involved account of Ahab's wars against Assyria, with the Southern Kingdom (Judah) first opposing, then helping him. Jehosaphat (who never actually “jumps” in the Biblical account) was the King of Judah at this time.

Feel free to read all three chapters. Ultimately, little is gain or lost in the wars. But we do see, in the midst of it all, Elijah prophesying that Ahab will pay dearly for a sin he has committed; he wanted a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth, who would not sell, so Ahab had him stoned to death and then took it, leaving the poor man's blood on the ground for the dogs to lick up. Ultimately, Ahab does die in battle, despite his cowardice in refusing to dress like a king during the battle; he is killed by a random arrow. And dogs drink his blood, as Elijah predicted.

The even-more-wicked Jezebel is, according to Elijah, to be actually eaten by dogs. But she remains alive at the end of 1 Kings.

The second moral of Ahab's story is one that is repeated time and time again in 1 and 2 Kings (and 2 Chronicles, which parallels them): When the Jews turned from worship of God to worship of idols, they were punished with increasing severity by defeat in battle. The Northern Kingdom (Israel), being cut off from the Temple in Jerusalem by politicsJerusalem was the capital of the smaller Kingdom of Judah, the Southern Kingdom and the remnant of David and Solomon’s empire. When the ten tribes northern tribes rebelled against Solomon’s son and formed their own kingdom, the new kings did not want their subjects traveling to Jerusalem; and so they were cut off from Hebrew worship, which was centered on the Temple in Jerusalem. and pride, was by far the worse offender of the two kingdoms; and its punishment is accordingly both swifter and more severe.

endless knot

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Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

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