Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The bottom line is: humble yourself, think before charging ahead and always exalt your neighbor--not yourself!
Monday, August 30, 2010
He offered sacrifices as he was supposed to and kept all of the holy festivals.
All in all, Solomon is doing a stand-up job as king :)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
God's power is outlined and then all of creation is incited to rise up and praise. How can we not praise as a simple response to all that He has done for us? So many Psalms talk about inanimate objects praising and worshiping--rocks, trees, mountains. Obviously they are not literally shouting out loud, but just the simple sway of tree branches, the soft sound of a creek flowing over the rocks below, the snowfall on top of a mountain... they are all working the way God created them to. Can you imagine what a world this would be if WE worked the way we were created to?
As a kid, I learned my "purpose" in life from the Catechisms... my job is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This is what I was created to do. I definitely don't do it perfectly, or even well on most days,. But am freed by the simple fact that I don't have to do it perfectly, God doesn't expect that of me and loves me for who I am. This is not something that is attained, but should be a daily struggle...in the meantime, I will focus on not letting a rock outdo me :)
Saturday, August 28, 2010
7:15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
The Psalm closes with a hymn of praise as God's many accolades are laid out, with each sentence ending with "His love endures forever...".
23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
24 and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
25 and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Solomon then blesses the Temple with a prayer and asks God to help those who seek refuge there, whether they are aliens, being oppressed, experiencing a drought, etc. His prayer is actually pretty amazing... you can tell that he truly loves and cares for the people he has been appointed to lead.
An offering was made and then they partied for 14 days... what I wouldn't give to be a part of the celebration! All of the hard work and labor has finally come to fruition, God has put His blessing on it and they can finally rest and rejoice in the fruits of their labor...
Thursday, August 26, 2010
He also built himself a palace and made sure his wife had her own little portion :)
I wish there was more to report today!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Solomon joins up with another king named Hiram to build the Temple of his father's dreams. Hiram's men are better at felling timber and have skilled men that are just what Solomon needs. God promises that if Solomon builds the Temple to spec, He will fulfill all of the promises He made to David. He builds everything exactly how it was supposed to be built--all in all it takes 7 years to complete. Think about how fast that could have been done with modern construction equipment and techniques....
It must have been so exciting to actually see this come to fruition. The Temple had been talked about and planned for years and now it is finally a reality!
Just listening to the description of this place is breathtaking... it was all stone, cedar and gold with cherubim everywhere. Since I don't know what a cubit (or any other ancient measurement) is, here is a picture to give you an idea of what it looked like.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The LORD is the Maker of them all.
What an amazing verse to start my morning out with! Such a simple, yet poignant reminder that we really are brought into this world the same. While circumstances and choices lead us in all different directions, at the end of the day we belong to Him and are part of His wonderful creation.
Keeping this in mind helps to keep me in check. It also puts a few of the other Proverbs into perspective. If we view the world in this way, then how can we not show compassion to the needy, give what we have to others that are struggling, forgive without abandon, etc. In the same light, we shouldn't kill ourselves to increase our wealth. If we are given blessings, then awesome! We should use them for God's glory and be good stewards, but we should never seek to amass wealth. This mentality can be a slippery slope. Not saying that everyone who has money is a bad person, just saying that spending all of your energies to simply gain wealth/fame/etc. is a lost cause.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
A verse that immediately stuck out to me was that we should not be zealous without knowledge. I cannot count how many times I have seen someone (myself included) get excited about something they really don't know anything about. It's easy to get caught up in "mob rule" or take someone else's opinion as fact, but how can we really get pumped about something that we don't know much about??
It also talks about how so often the rich and powerful are inundated with people trying to be their "friends" and the poor and powerless are left alone. But we are charged to love everyone, befriend the homeless and the rulers. You never know what life you could touch or what seed you could plant. This is always easier said than done, but definitely a goal to reach for!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
We are taught to hold wisdom in the highest esteem. To value it and seek it at all time. This means keeping your eyes on the prize and not stepping to the left or right. We should love wisdom over earthly treasures; chances are we will be rewarded much greater, whether in this life for in Heaven.
We are to rejoice in our husbands and wives and not give into adultery. It goes into great detail about the treacherous and destructive nature of affairs...scary stuff. How can you play with fire and not get burned?? "9:27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death." I know I am young, but I have seen friends and family members fall into this snare and it is a tough pit to dig out of... I pray that Travis and I never experience it.
Laziness is also warned against. We are told to watch how the ants work--they have no leader, but stay busy and work feverishly all the time. I have witnessed this personally as my office has an intense ant problem that I seem to be constantly battling. Trust me, those little buggers don't give up!
Ultimately, wisdom is the key to better understanding God and to keeping our lives in perspective.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I never really took the time to see this book for what it is. Basically, a woman is coming to Solomon and trying to entice him to think about taking her as a lover. She is not dirty or slutty about it, she is reverent and honors the king and wants him to see her as more than just a field hand. The book goes back and forth from the woman and Solomon in a sort of dialogue. They are obviously love sick and completely infatuated. It shows movement from initial interest and courtship to marriage (later talks about wedding day and bride).
As weird and awkward as some of the language may be, it really is a beautiful book. Men, there are some seriously awesome verses in here to woo your lady!!! Take note :)
8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
The last thing that really caught my eye was a verse about keeping foxes out of the vineyard in chapter 2: "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom." If you think of your marriage like a vineyard that must constantly be tended and kept safe from attack, it really makes sense! Foxes are sly creatures that sneak into vineyards and pillage and plunder it to ruins. Things like this are always assailing marriages--idolatry, pornography, lust, boredom, resentment, etc....these are the "foxes" we must keep watch for. I've only been married 6 months, so we are still in the throes of marital bliss, but I know the days of hardship will come. Its important that we help each other stay focused on God and each other and keep our lines of communication completely open. There is never a surefire way to "foxproof" your relationship, but with God's help, you can sure try!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth...
Keyword here: willing. This entire Psalm screams of his willingness and desire to follow and praise God. There is no feeling of forced wills or hesitation. The author is excited and eager to follow what God has laid before him. If only I was that eager...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Solomon takes a wife. God really likes him and tells him to ask for whatever he wants and it will be granted--Solomon, in all humbleness, knows that he is young and naive and asks for wisdom and discernment. Because he did not ask for riches or victory over his enemies, God not only gives him wisdom, but the riches and fame as well-what a great deal!
Solomon gets his first chance to awe the land with his wisdom when approached by two prostitutes. Both women had sons--one woman rolled over on hers in the middle of the night and killed hers so she swapped babies to make the other woman think she killed her son. The two bring their case to Solomon and his solution is simple--cut the baby in two and give each woman half. One woman cried for mercy and that the live baby be given to the other woman--she was granted the baby because only the mother would react this way.
We end with a final Psalm from David asking mercy and justice to be bestowed upon his son and new king. What a great final blessing and way to close out his life--asking God that Solomon receive nothing but goodness from life and that he rule with wisdom and fairness.
Solomon's wisdom is described as unmatched throughout history. There was never a man as wise as him to that day, and no man will ever be as wise as him. People came from all over just to hear him speak...what an amazing blessing! I thought David was my favorite, but Solomon just might take his place :)
Thursday, August 5, 2010
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
preserve my life according to your word.
Lately I have found myself being consumed with myself and my issues. Every now and then I will be made aware of this and be consumed with guilt and shame. I've even done this to my own husband! On the day he was finished with 2 of the last finals he ever took in his college career, I was completely wrapped up in my own stresses and problems and completely forgot what a big deal that day was for him.
59 I have considered my ways
and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay
to obey your commands.
I may eventually make the move towards obeying what God has laid before me, but I don't always "hasten" to obey. Obedience is not something that comes easy for me and definitely something I could work on! I know that even now God is testing my patience and obedience towards Him and I struggle everyday with this. Sometimes I am stubborn and restless, but He always gets me one way or the other ;)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
David gives Solomon a few last words of wisdom before he dies and Solomon takes his place as king. Solomon cleans house and kills all of the men who brought guilt and shame on David's household. He appoints a new head priest and army leader.
We end with a Psalm from David that almost seems like a closing statement for his life. He reiterates his beliefs that God will always uphold the righteous and that the wicked will eventually get theirs. I like to imagine that this is geared towards Solomon as a "pep talk" before his reign begins...
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
For me, the Psalms gives hope of a new future. While on earth we endure trials and hardships, there is a promise for the saints who persevere. That is what keeps me going--the promise of things to come. I think to put the Psalms into full context, you must think beyond the here and now and focus on what is to come--God will not let the righteous fall on the day of judgment.
116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
Monday, August 2, 2010
David then gives a moving speech to his son Solomon about the work at hand and gives him all of the plans for the Temple so that he may move forward with implementing them. "1 Chron. 28:20 David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished." People came forward and freely gave of their materials for the building to be complete. It says that the willingness of the people to give was overwhelming. I can't remember the last time I went to a church whose members giving was "overwhelming"...something to think about.
Samuel is formally anointed as king and succeeds David after his death... well done David, well done :)
It's a fun and exciting time for the people. There is a time of rest and everyone is coming together to make this Temple possible. A new, young king is put into place and it seems that the land is getting a fresh, new start!
The reading ends with a Psalm from Solomon...he basically says that if the labor they do is not got God, then it is all done in vain.. the boy may be young, but he's on the right track!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
Psalm 139 is a pretty famous Psalm...talks about how God formed us from the inside out and knows every little detail about us. We cannot escape Him because He knows everything about us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
In response to this, David also says in chapter 145:
8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
9 The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
David loves God... truly and deeply. He longs to deepen his relationship with Him and longs for other to feel the same need for God. Being a leader is never an easy thing, but David seems to constantly be examining his own heart in order to stay faithful and lead with justice and mercy...hands down my favorite king so far. Yes, better than Moses, better than Noah... Something about David speaks to my human heart and helps me realize that even strong men fall and stumble, but David's heart was in the right place and he never lost sight for too long. Something just about anyone can relate to!