Visit of the Queen of Sheba (2 Chr 9:1–28)I Kings 10:1 When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, (fame due to the name of the Lord), she came to test him with hard questions. 2 She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. 4 When the queen of Sheba had observed all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 5 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his valets, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her.
6 So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, 7 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. Not even half had been told me; your wisdom and prosperity far surpass the report that I had heard. 8 Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! 9 Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king to execute justice and righteousness.” 10 Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones; never again did spices come in such quantity as that which the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
11 Moreover, the fleet of Hiram, which carried gold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a great quantity of almug wood and precious stones. 12 From the almug wood the king made supports for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; no such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.
13 Meanwhile King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba every desire that she expressed, as well as what he gave her out of Solomon’s royal bounty. Then she returned to her own land, with her servants.
14 The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold, 15 besides that which came from the traders and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of gold went into each large shield. 17 He made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 The king also made a great ivory throne, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 The throne had six steps. The top of the throne was rounded in the back, and on each side of the seat were arm rests and two lions standing beside the arm rests, 20 while twelve lions were standing, one on each end of a step on the six steps. Nothing like it was ever made in any kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver—it was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
23 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 The whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 25 Every one of them brought a present, objects of silver and gold, garments, weaponry, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.
26 Solomon gathered together chariots and horses; he had fourteen hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars as numerous as the sycamores of the Shephelah. 28 Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price. 29 A chariot could be imported from Egypt for six hundred shekels of silver, and a horse for one hundred fifty; so through the king’s traders they were exported to all the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Aram.
Solomon’s ErrorsI Kings 11:1 King Solomon loved many foreign women along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the Israelites, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you; for they will surely incline your heart to follow their gods”; Solomon clung to these in love. 3 Among his wives were seven hundred princesses and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. 5 For Solomon followed Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not completely follow the Lord, as his father David had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who offered incense and sacrificed to their gods.
9 Then the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this matter, that he should not follow other gods; but he did not observe what the Lord commanded. 11 Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes that I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. 12 Yet for the sake of your father David I will not do it in your lifetime; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. 13 I will not, however, tear away the entire kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”
Adversaries of Solomon14 Then the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal house in Edom. 15 For when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army went up to bury the dead, he killed every male in Edom 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had eliminated every male in Edom); 17 but Hadad fled to Egypt with some Edomites who were servants of his father. He was a young boy at that time. 18 They set out from Midian and came to Paran; they took people with them from Paran and came to Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, assigned him an allowance of food, and gave him land. 19 Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him his sister-in-law for a wife, the sister of Queen Tahpenes. 20 The sister of Tahpenes gave birth by him to his son Genubath, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh’s house; Genubath was in Pharaoh’s house among the children of Pharaoh. 21 When Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his ancestors and that Joab the commander of the army was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, “Let me depart, that I may go to my own country.” 22 But Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack with me that you now seek to go to your own country?” And he said, “No, do let me go.”
23 God raised up another adversary against Solomon, Rezon son of Eliada, who had fled from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 He gathered followers around him and became leader of a marauding band, after the slaughter by David; they went to Damascus, settled there, and made him king in Damascus. 25 He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, making trouble as Hadad did; he despised Israel and reigned over Aram.
Jeroboam’s Rebellion26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother’s name was Zeruah, a widow, rebelled against the king. 27 The following was the reason he rebelled against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the gap in the wall of the city of his father David. 28 The man Jeroboam was very able, and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he gave him charge over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph. 29 About that time, when Jeroboam was leaving Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him on the road. Ahijah had clothed himself with a new garment. The two of them were alone in the open country 30 when Ahijah laid hold of the new garment he was wearing and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 He then said to Jeroboam: Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “See, I am about to tear the kingdom from the hand of Solomon, and will give you ten tribes. 32 One tribe will remain his, for the sake of my servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 This is because he has forsaken me, worshiped Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites, and has not walked in my ways, doing what is right in my sight and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, as his father David did. 34 Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom away from him but will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you—that is, the ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. 37 I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires; you shall be king over Israel. 38 If you will listen to all that I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you, and will build you an enduring house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 For this reason I will punish the descendants of David, but not forever.” 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam promptly fled to Egypt, to King Shishak of Egypt, and remained in Egypt until the death of Solomon.
Death of Solomon (2 Chr 9:29–31)41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, all that he did as well as his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the Acts of Solomon? 42 The time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.
Visit of the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1–13)2 Chronicles 9:1 When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions, having a very great retinue and camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she discussed with him all that was on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. 3 When the queen of Sheba had observed the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 4 the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, his valets, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit left in her.
5 So she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your accomplishments and of your wisdom, 6 but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes saw it. Not even half of the greatness of your wisdom had been told to me; you far surpass the report that I had heard. 7 Happy are your people! Happy are these your servants, who continually attend you and hear your wisdom! 8 Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” 9 Then she gave the king one hundred twenty talents of gold, a very great quantity of spices, and precious stones: there were no spices such as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10 Moreover the servants of Huram and the servants of Solomon who brought gold from Ophir brought algum wood and precious stones. 11 From the algum wood, the king made steps for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers; there never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah.
12 Meanwhile King Solomon granted the queen of Sheba every desire that she expressed, well beyond what she had brought to the king. Then she returned to her own land, with her servants.
Solomon’s Great Wealth (1 Kings 10:14–29; 2 Chr 1:14–17)13 The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred sixty-six talents of gold, 14 besides that which the traders and merchants brought; and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of beaten gold went into each large shield. 16 He made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 17 The king also made a great ivory throne, and overlaid it with pure gold. 18 The throne had six steps and a footstool of gold, which were attached to the throne, and on each side of the seat were arm rests and two lions standing beside the arm rests, 19 while twelve lions were standing, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. 20 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
22 Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 23 All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 24 Every one of them brought a present, objects of silver and gold, garments, weaponry, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. 25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horses, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. 27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah. 28 Horses were imported for Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.
Death of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41–43)29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the history of the prophet Nathan, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of the seer Iddo concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat? 30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31 Solomon slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David; and his son Rehoboam succeeded him.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
by Bill Federer
His legal decisions were so respected they were referenced by in U.S. Supreme Court Cases. For forty years he served on the New York District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals before dying this day, August 18, 1961. His name was Learned Hand. During World War II in New York’s Central Park, Judge Learned Hand stated: “The spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, nearly two thousand years ago, taught mankind the lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten--that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be… side by side with the greatest.”
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
That best portion of a man's life,
his little, nameless,
unremembered acts of kindness and love.
--- William Wordsworth
One great characteristic in the life of a man whose life is hid with Christ in God is that he has received the gift Jesus Christ gives. What gift does Jesus Christ give to those who are identified with him? The gift His Father gave him, The Father gave Him the Cross, and He gives us our cross.
--- Oswald Chambers
Christian Disciplines: Building Strong Christian Character through Divine Guidance, Suffering, Peril, Prayer, Loneliness and Patience (OSWALD CHAMBERS LIBRARY)
Order my footsteps by Thy Word,
And make my heart sincere;
Let sin have no dominion, Lord,
But keep my conscience clear.
Our beliefs are not gospel. They are not universal truths. They are artifacts of specific times, places, and influential people. They may in fact be quite untrue.
--- Adam Burke, Ph.D.
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
26. And thus did Josephus dispose of both his bodies of men; but then for the useless part of the citizens, the women and children, when they saw their city encompassed by a threefold army, [for none of the usual guards that had been fighting before were removed,] when they also saw, not only the walls thrown down, but their enemies with swords in their hands, as also the hilly country above them shining with their weapons, and the darts in the hands of the Arabian archers, they made a final and lamentable outcry of the destruction, as if the misery were not only threatened, but actually come upon them already. But Josephus ordered the women to be shut up in their houses, lest they should render the warlike actions of the men too effeminate, by making them commiserate their condition, and commanded them to hold their peace, and threatened them if they did not, while he came himself before the breach, where his allotment was; for all those who brought ladders to the other places, he took no notice of them, but earnestly waited for the shower of arrows that was coming.
27. And now the trumpeters of the several Roman legions sounded together, and the army made a terrible shout; and the darts, as by order, flew so last, that they intercepted the light. However, Josephus's men remembered the charges he had given them, they stopped their ears at the sounds, and covered their bodies against the darts; and as to the engines that were set ready to go to work, the Jews ran out upon them, before those that should have used them were gotten upon them. And now, on the ascending of the soldiers, there was a great conflict, and many actions of the hands and of the soul were exhibited; while the Jews did earnestly endeavor, in the extreme danger they were in, not to show less courage than those who, without being in danger, fought so stoutly against them; nor did they leave struggling with the Romans till they either fell down dead themselves, or killed their antagonists. But the Jews grew weary with defending themselves continually, and had not enough to come in their places, and succor them; while, on the side of the Romans, fresh men still succeeded those that were tired; and still new men soon got upon the machines for ascent, in the room of those that were thrust down; those encouraging one another, and joining side to side with their shields, which were a protection to them, they became a body of men not to be broken; and as this band thrust away the Jews, as though they were themselves but one body, they began already to get upon the wall.
28. Then did Josephus take necessity for his counselor in this utmost distress, [which necessity is very sagacious in invention when it is irritated by despair,] and gave orders to pour scalding oil upon those whose shields protected them. Whereupon they soon got it ready, being many that brought it, and what they brought being a great quantity also, and poured it on all sides upon the Romans, and threw down upon them their vessels as they were still hissing from the heat of the fire: this so burnt the Romans, that it dispersed that united band, who now tumbled clown from the wall with horrid pains, for the oil did easily run down the whole body from head to foot, under their entire armor, and fed upon their flesh like flame itself, its fat and unctuous nature rendering it soon heated and slowly cooled; and as the men were cooped up in their head-pieces and breastplates, they could no way get free from this burning oil; they could only leap and roll about in their pains, as they fell down from the bridges they had laid. And as they thus were beaten back, and retired to their own party, who still pressed them forward, they were easily wounded by those that were behind them.
29. However, in this ill success of the Romans, their courage did not fail them, nor did the Jews want prudence to oppose them; for the Romans, although they saw their own men thrown down, and in a miserable condition, yet were they vehemently bent against those that poured the oil upon them; while every one reproached the man before him as a coward, and one that hindered him from exerting himself; and while the Jews made use of another stratagem to prevent their ascent, and poured boiling fenugreek upon the boards, in order to make them slip and fall down; by which means neither could those that were coming up, nor those that were going down, stand on their feet; but some of them fell backward upon the machines on which they ascended, and were trodden upon; many of them fell down upon the bank they had raised, and when they were fallen upon it were slain by the Jews; for when the Romans could not keep their feet, the Jews being freed from fighting hand to hand, had leisure to throw their darts at them. So the general called off those soldiers in the Evening that had suffered so sorely, of whom the number of the slain was not a few, while that of the wounded was still greater; but of the people of Jotapata no more than six men were killed, although more than three hundred were carried off wounded. This fight happened on the twentieth day of the month Desius [Sivan]. 30. Hereupon Vespasian comforted his army on occasion of what happened, and as he found them angry indeed, but rather wanting somewhat to do than any further exhortations, he gave orders to raise the banks still higher, and to erect three towers, each fifty feet high, and that they should cover them with plates of iron on every side, that they might be both firm by their weight, and not easily liable to be set on fire. These towers he set upon the banks, and placed upon them such as could shoot darts and arrows, with the lighter engines for throwing stones and darts also; and besides these, he set upon them the stoutest men among the slingers, who not being to be seen by reason of the height they stood upon, and the battlements that protected them, might throw their weapons at those that were upon the wall, and were easily seen by them. Hereupon the Jews, not being easily able to escape those darts that were thrown down upon their heads, nor to avenge themselves on those whom they could not see, and perceiving that the height of the towers was so great, that a dart which they threw with their hand could hardly reach it, and that the iron plates about them made it very hard to come at them by fire, they ran away from the walls, and fled hastily out of the city, and fell upon those that shot at them. And thus did the people of Jotapata resist the Romans, while a great number of them were every day killed, without their being able to retort the evil upon their enemies; nor could they keep them out of the city without danger to themselves.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
don’t be greedy for his delicacies.
7 For he is like someone who keeps accounts—
“Eat! Drink!” he says to you,
but he doesn’t really mean it.
8 The little you eat you will vomit up,
and your compliments will have been wasted.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Have you ever been expressionless with sorrow?
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. --- Luke 18:23.
The rich young ruler went away expressionless with sorrow; he had not a word to say. He had no doubt as to what Jesus said, no debate as to what it meant, and it produced in him a sorrow that had not any words. Have you ever been there? Has God’s word come to you about something you are very rich in—temperament, personal affinity, relationships of heart and mind? Then you have often been expressionless with sorrow. The Lord will not go after you, He will not plead, but every time He meets you on that point He will simply repeat—“If you mean what you say, those are the conditions.’
I can be so rich in poverty, so rich in the consciousness that I am nobody, that I shall never be a disciple of Jesus; and I can be so rich in the consciousness that I am somebody—that I shall never be a disciple. Am I willing to be destitute of the sense that I am destitute? This is where discouragement comes in. Discouragement is disenchanted self-love, and self-love may be love of my devotion to Jesus.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
What made us think
It was yours? Because it was signed
With your blood, God of battles?
It is such a small thing,
Easily overlooked in the multitude
Of the worlds. We are misled
By perspective; the microscope
Is our sin, we tower enormous
Above it the stronger it
Grows. Where have your incarnations
Gone to? The flesh is too heavy
To wear you, God of light
And fire. The machine replaces
The hand that fastened you
To the cross, but cannot absolve us.
Nowadays we say that dog is “man’s best friend.” We ascribe incredible loyalty to the dog. We often hear amazing stories in the news: A dog would not leave its master’s side during a disaster, sacrificing its own life out of a sense of loyalty; or a dog continued barking after its owner had lost consciousness, thus saving the woman’s life. Dogs are legendary for an incredible sensitivity of smell and hearing. After all, they were smart enough to distinguish between Egyptians and Israelites! “When I slew the first-born Egyptians, they were up all night burying their dead, and the dogs barked at them, but at Israel, they didn’t bark.”
But dogs can also be harmful because of their ability to become pack animals. In the wild, they will follow a leader, and often a savage and cruel one. Even tamed dogs have been known to go wild on hearing the howls of other animals. For reasons unknown to us, when one dog—even a house pet—starts barking, others will often join in, oblivious to our need for peace and quiet.
The Rabbis often look to animals for both positive and negative character traits. Thus, the Rabbis would remind us to emulate the loyalty and sensitivity of the dog, while not copying its mindless going along with the crowd. When a loud and crude person starts barking out complaints about a member of our community, we must be sensitive and think before joining in this yelping. When one neighbor begins snarling at another, we would be wise to step back and ponder the situation before joining in the howling. Otherwise, we might be like dogs who gather round and start barking at nothing at all.
“Conventional wisdom” has it that birth order goes a long way toward determining personality. First-borns, it is said, are serious and responsible; they follow the rules and look to please their parents. Youngest children grow up as the “baby” of their families. They are often showered with playful attention and sometimes “spoiled” by their older and more relaxed parents. Middle children struggle for attention, doing whatever it takes to stand out from the serious first-born and the cute baby. At the same time, they have excellent people skills, honed while mediating between their older and younger siblings.
The Midrash focuses on a number of first-borns: First-born children are redeemed from the service of God though the pidyon he-ben ceremony. The first-born of the flocks were dedicated to the Temple and offered as sacrifices. The first portions of the harvest were set aside as terumah for the Kohanim in the Temple. Then the Midrash brings in a brilliant insight of the prophet Jeremiah: the Jewish people are considered by God as “the first fruits of His harvest.” In other words, while other peoples and nations play the roles of youngest child and middle child, Israel has the position of first-born.
Those who are the first-born in their families will tell you that it is both a blessing and a curse. The other children look up enviously to the first-born, complaining that he or she gets all the privileges while they get none. But the oldest child will say that there are liabilities that go along with the position. If something goes wrong, he is held responsible and gets the lion’s share of the blame. She has to meet the very high expectations her parents have for her; ordinary or average accomplishments just won’t do. And finally, the first-borns have no accessible role models. They have to be the trailblazers, figuring out on their own just how to do this or that. Years later they can share their experiences with their younger siblings and offer advice and counsel. No one serves that function for the oldest.
Jeremiah’s metaphor about Israel being God’s first suggests that those same personality dynamics that apply to first-born children also apply to the Jewish people: There is a special affection from the Parent, but there is also a great deal of responsibility as well. While the other children—the nations of the world—may feel resentment and jealousy toward “the Chosen One,” that position brings great burdens as well as benefits.
Dogs, we are reminded, run in packs, blindly following the crowd. Israel, the firstborn, doesn’t have that luxury. It must find its own way, and then it is expected to show that way to the rest of the world.
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
--- John 17:17.
The second petition. (John A. Broadus, “The Saviour Praying for Us,” downloaded from the Blessed Hope Ministries of Shiloh Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga. at members.aol.com/blesshope, accessed Aug. 21, 2001.) You observe Jesus does not merely pray that they may be kept from evil, but that they may be made holy. Piety is not a mere negative thing. The Ten Commandments, I know, are all in negative form, “thou shalt not.” Even so, Christianity reveals that this is but one side and that the nobler and more glorious side of piety is that we must not merely try to keep from doing wrong but try to do right. Jesus prays not simply that they may be kept from evil but that they may be made holy. Do you want to be holy? You should desire to be holy! Anyhow, Jesus wishes that for you, and he prays, “Make them holy—make them holy through your truth; your word is truth.”
It is truth that makes people holy. Earth’s unholiness began with a lie that people believed and so went headlong to ruin. Truth is the lifeblood of piety. Truth is the medicine for the soul’s disease. Nobody is ever made holy except through truth. Blessed be God, it often works its healing work though sadly mingled with error. The truth may still work its healing, saving, sanctifying work. “Your word is truth.” We know that word, and we may use it as the means of becoming holy.
Regard the Bible as that which we are to use as the means of becoming holy. Regard the Bible as the means of making you better, of making you good. Use the Bible for that purpose. I know how it is, many times you do not love to read your Bible. The truth is, you take up your newspaper a second time and go on looking for something else in it when the Bible is lying neglected by your side. Then when you do take the Bible, you feel that it is rather dull reading. Learn to regard the Bible more as the means of making you holy. When you read it in private or hear it read in public, regard it as the great means of making you better, of strengthening you, of correcting your faults, of helping you to know your duty and helping you to do your duty. Fill your heart and mind full of the teachings of God’s Word, hoping it will make you better. You will take more interest in hearing the preacher read it from the pulpit and explain and impress on you its teachings, if you listen with the idea, “How I hope this will help me!” So in private read the Bible with the thought, “How I pray that this may do me good.” Please remember this suggestion and act on it!
--- John A. Broadus
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
One Hundred Hymns August 18
Can you imagine singing 100 hymns in one Evening? One church did, with history-shattering results.
Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, born in 1700, grew up in an atmosphere of Bible reading and hymn-singing. He married a Christian countess, and the two began allowing Protestant refugees to camp on their German estate. A Moravian community named Herrnhut
( “Under the Lord’s Watch”) soon developed.
One day a potter named Leonard Dober arrived to establish artistic pottery as a profitable product for Herrnhut. Not long thereafter, Zinzendorf returned from a trip to Copenhagen with reports of slaves in the West Indies having no one to tell them of Christ. Dober spent a sleepless night. “I could not get free of it,” he said. “I vowed to myself that if one other brother would go with me, I would become a slave.”
He found his brother in David Nitschmann, a carpenter.
On August 18, 1732, in an extraordinary, emotion-packed service, the two were commissioned. One hundred hymns were sung that night as the congregation bade them good-bye and Godspeed.
The two sailed from Copenhagen on October 8, sustained by Numbers 23:19: God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises.
They arrived on St. Thomas in December, and a planter named Lorenzen took them in. Their first Sunday saw them beginning their search for souls, preaching to a small group of slaves, several of whom soon followed Christ. Dober ministered to those suffering from malaria, at one point nearly dying of the fever himself. On another occasion, he almost starved. But reinforcements began arriving from Herrnhut in 1734. Though many died, the Moravian tide of missionaries continued—to Greenland, to Lapland and Georgia, to Surinam, to Guinea, to South Africa, to Algeria, to North American Indians, to Ceylon and Romania and Constantinople. From 1732 to 1742, more than 70 Moravian missionaries were sent from Herrnhut, a community of 600.
It has been called “The Golden Decade.” It was the dawn of Protestant missions.
Tell every nation on earth, “The LORD is wonderful and does marvelous things!”
--- Psalm 96:3.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - August 18
“Strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord’s house.” --- Jeremiah 51:51.
In this account the faces of the Lord’s people were covered with shame, for it was a terrible thing that men should intrude into the Holy Place reserved for the priests alone. Everywhere about us we see like cause for sorrow. How many ungodly men are now educating with the view of entering into the ministry! What a crying sin is that solemn lie by which our whole population is nominally comprehended in a National Church! How fearful it is that ordinances should be pressed upon the unconverted, and that among the more enlightened churches of our land there should be such laxity of discipline. If the thousands who will read this portion shall all take this matter before the Lord Jesus this day, he will interfere and avert the evil which else will come upon his Church. To adulterate the Church is to pollute a well, to pour water upon fire, to sow a fertile field with stones. May we all have grace to maintain in our own proper way the purity of the Church, as being an assembly of believers, and not a nation, an unsaved community of unconverted men.
Our zeal must, however, begin at home. Let us examine ourselves as to our right to eat at the Lord’s table. Let us see to it that we have on our wedding garment, lest we ourselves be intruders in the Lord’s sanctuaries. Many are called, but few are chosen; the way is narrow, and the gate is strait. O for grace to come to Jesus aright, with the faith of God’s elect. He who smote Uzzah for touching the ark is very jealous of his two ordinances; as a true believer I may approach them freely, as an alien I must not touch them lest I die. Heart searching is the duty of all who are baptized or come to the Lord’s table. “Search me, O God, and know my way, try me and know my heart.”
Evening - August 18
“And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.” --- Mark 15:23.
A golden truth is couched in the fact that the Saviour put the myrrhed wine-cup from his lips. On the heights of heaven the Son of God stood of old, and as he looked down upon our globe he measured the long descent to the utmost depths of human misery; he cast up the sum total of all the agonies which expiation would require, and abated not a jot. He solemnly determined that to offer a sufficient atoning sacrifice he must go the whole way, from the highest to the lowest, from the throne of highest glory to the cross of deepest woe. This myrrhed cup, with its soporific influence, would have stayed him within a little of the utmost limit of misery, therefore he refused it. He would not stop short of all he had undertaken to suffer for his people. Ah, how many of us have pined after reliefs to our grief which would have been injurious to us! Reader, did you never pray for a discharge from hard service or suffering with a petulant and wilful eagerness? Providence has taken from you the desire of your eyes with a stroke. Say, Christian, if it had been said, “If you so desire it, that loved one of yours shall live, but God will be dishonoured,” could you have put away the temptation, and said, “Thy will be done”? Oh, it is sweet to be able to say, “My Lord, if for other reasons I need not suffer, yet if I can honour thee more by suffering, and if the loss of my earthly all will bring thee glory, then so let it be. I refuse the comfort, if it comes in the way of thine honour.” O that we thus walked more in the footsteps of our Lord, cheerfully enduring trial for his sake, promptly and willingly putting away the thought of self and comfort when it would interfere with our finishing the work which he has given us to do. Great grace is needed, but great grace is provided.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
MAY THE MIND OF CHRIST, MY SAVIOR
Kate B. Wilkinson, 1859–1928
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5
Each day our prayer life should include the request that the Holy Spirit reveal the mind of Christ to us. As we mature in the Christian faith, our personalities and characters should take on Christ-like qualities. To have a Christ-like mind, it is vitally important that we nourish our minds daily with quality materials—things “that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and praiseworthy” (Philippians 4:8).
Kate Wilkinson was a member of the Church of England and actively involved in the Keswick Deeper Life Movement. The hymn first appeared in the Golden Bells Hymnal, published in 1925.
As a suggestion for your devotional times, take the six prayers of this hymn and use one each day to meditate upon as preparation for your worship on the Lord’s Day. What does it mean to have the “mind of Christ,” the “Word of God,” the “peace of God,” the “love of Jesus,” the strength of Jesus, and the beauty of Jesus in your life? How would these Christ-like virtues affect your daily living? How would they influence your worship of God?
May the mind of Christ, my Savior, live in me from day to day, by His love and pow’r controlling all I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly in my heart from hour to hour, so that all may see I triumph only thru His pow’r.
May the peace of God, my Father, rule my life in ev’rything that I may be calm to comfort sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me, as the waters fill the sea; Him exalting, self-abasing— this is victory.
May I run the race before me strong and brave to face the foe, looking only unto Jesus as I onward go.
May His beauty rest upon me as I seek the lost to win, and may they forget the channel, seeing only Him.
For Today: 1 Corinthians 15:49; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 2:1–16
Try to base every action and decision on the response to this question: What is the Christ-like way for handling this situation? Reflect on this hymn ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Friday, August 18, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 14, Friday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 102
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 107:1–32
Old Testament 2 Samuel 15:19–37
New Testament Acts 21:37–22:16
Gospel Mark 10:46–52
Index of Readings
A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the LORD.
1 Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you.
2 Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress.
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call.
3 For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
4 My heart is stricken and withered like grass;
I am too wasted to eat my bread.
5 Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my skin.
6 I am like an owl of the wilderness,
like a little owl of the waste places.
7 I lie awake;
I am like a lonely bird on the housetop.
8 All day long my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
9 For I eat ashes like bread,
and mingle tears with my drink,
10 because of your indignation and anger;
for you have lifted me up and thrown me aside.
11 My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass.
12 But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
your name endures to all generations.
13 You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favor it;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
15 The nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the LORD will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.
18 Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD:
19 that he looked down from his holy height,
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die;
21 so that the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion,
and his praise in Jerusalem,
22 when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD.
23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
24 “O my God,” I say, “do not take me away
at the midpoint of my life,
you whose years endure
throughout all generations.”
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 They will perish, but you endure;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You change them like clothing, and they pass away;
27 but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall live secure;
their offspring shall be established in your presence.
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to an inhabited town;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress;
7 he led them by a straight way,
until they reached an inhabited town.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty,
and the hungry he fills with good things.
10 Some sat in darkness and in gloom,
prisoners in misery and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor;
they fell down, with no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
14 he brought them out of darkness and gloom,
and broke their bonds asunder.
15 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze,
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
17 Some were sick through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices,
and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
23 Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the mighty waters;
24 they saw the deeds of the LORD,
his wondrous works in the deep.
25 For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
26 They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths;
their courage melted away in their calamity;
27 they reeled and staggered like drunkards,
and were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
29 he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they had quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
31 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wonderful works to humankind.
32 Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
and praise him in the assembly of the elders.
2 Samuel 15:19–37
19 Then the king said to Ittai the Gittite, “Why are you also coming with us? Go back, and stay with the king; for you are a foreigner, and also an exile from your home. 20 You came only yesterday, and shall I today make you wander about with us, while I go wherever I can? Go back, and take your kinsfolk with you; and may the LORD show steadfast love and faithfulness to you.” 21 But Ittai answered the king, “As the LORD lives, and as my lord the king lives, wherever my lord the king may be, whether for death or for life, there also your servant will be.” 22 David said to Ittai, “Go then, march on.” So Ittai the Gittite marched on, with all his men and all the little ones who were with him. 23 The whole country wept aloud as all the people passed by; the king crossed the Wadi Kidron, and all the people moved on toward the wilderness.
24 Abiathar came up, and Zadok also, with all the Levites, carrying the ark of the covenant of God. They set down the ark of God, until the people had all passed out of the city. 25 Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me back and let me see both it and the place where it stays. 26 But if he says, ‘I take no pleasure in you,’ here I am, let him do to me what seems good to him.” 27 The king also said to the priest Zadok, “Look, go back to the city in peace, you and Abiathar, with your two sons, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan son of Abiathar. 28 See, I will wait at the fords of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” 29 So Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem, and they remained there.
30 But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, with his head covered and walking barefoot; and all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went. 31 David was told that Ahithophel was among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, “O LORD, I pray you, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”
32 When David came to the summit, where God was worshiped, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat torn and earth on his head. 33 David said to him, “If you go on with me, you will be a burden to me. 34 But if you return to the city and say to Absalom, ‘I will be your servant, O king; as I have been your father’s servant in time past, so now I will be your servant,’ then you will defeat for me the counsel of Ahithophel. 35 The priests Zadok and Abiathar will be with you there. So whatever you hear from the king’s house, tell it to the priests Zadok and Abiathar. 36 Their two sons are with them there, Zadok’s son Ahimaaz and Abiathar’s son Jonathan; and by them you shall report to me everything you hear.” 37 So Hushai, David’s friend, came into the city, just as Absalom was entering Jerusalem.
37 Just as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” The tribune replied, “Do you know Greek? 38 Then you are not the Egyptian who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?” 39 Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city; I beg you, let me speak to the people.” 40 When he had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people for silence; and when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying:
22 “Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you.”
2 When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then he said:
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.
6 “While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Then he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 I asked, ‘What am I to do, Lord?’ The Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.’ 11 Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.
12 “A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, 13 came to me; and standing beside me, he said, ‘Brother Saul, regain your sight!’ In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; 15 for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’
46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church