2 Chronicles 8:11-10:19 ~ Romans 8:9-25~ Psalm 18:16-36 ~ Proverbs 19:26
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Old Testament - Today in Second Chronicles chapter 8 we learn that Solomon married the Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter, which was not pleasing to God and was contrary to God's Law of not marrying foreigners (in large part because they worshiped foreign gods) as you'll recall from Deuteronomy 7:3-4. The Chronicler overall paints a very rosy portrait of both David and Solomon, ignoring many aspects of their sins that we read about in Samuel and Kings. But, it's interesting the Chronicler mentioned this marriage. Solomon married likely for a military alliance with Egypt. Solomon's marrying of foreign wives ultimately led to his turning his heart away from God, as we read in 1 Kings 11:1-11. Interestingly, we see that Solomon won't allow his Egyptian wife to live in David's palace in verse 11: "Solomon moved his wife, Pharaoh's daughter, from the City of David to the new palace he had built for her. He said, "My wife must not live in King David's palace, for the Ark of the LORD has been there, and it is holy ground."" And so he builds her a brand new palace! Think Solomon knew something was amiss with this situation before God if he wouldn't let his Egyptian wife live in David's palace? What about us in our lives today - when we sin, do we try to "cover it up" or "build a pretty palace" to maybe try to distract ourselves or God from our sin? Should we instead just simply confess our sin to God and repent?
At the very end of Second Chronicles chapter 8 today we read these interesting verses 17-18: "Later Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Elath, ports in the land of Edom, along the shore of the Red Sea. Hiram sent him ships commanded by his own officers and manned by experienced crews of sailors. These ships sailed to the land of Ophir with Solomon's men and brought back to Solomon almost seventeen tons of gold." You will see the port of Elath in the 2nd map below. Then, the big question I had today was where is Ophir? Well, it turns out that Ophir was likely in the land of "Sheba" from whence Queen Sheba comes to visit Solomon! So, it is interesting to see how these last 2 verses in chapter 8 lead us to Second Chronicles chapter 9 today where we read about the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon. Below is about the best map I could find with the land of Sheba, and Ophir, in comparison to Israel. The Queen obviously traveled quite a distance in those days to visit Solomon! And I think we can now understand how she learned of Solomon - he built a fleet of ships and sailed them to her land!
In Second Chronicles chapter 9 we read about Solomon's wealth and splendor. I think it is interesting for us to remember that Solomon likely writes the book of Ecclesiastes, which we will read later this year. Ecclesiastes wisely teaches us that living life for one's own pleasure and for riches is meaningless - but only living for God makes life worthwhile. I thought about Ecclesiastes when reading about all of Solomon's wealth today - and realizing that it would later all by destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and his army from Babylon. Solomon's wealth was yes, impressive. But Solomon's sins and the sins of his descendants eventually took all of it away. Let us never forget that sin kills... Let us never forget that the wages of sin are death. (remember where we read that recently? You've got this memorized from Romans 6:23 correct? :) Today in Verses 22 through 24 we read - "So King Solomon became richer and wiser than any other king in all the earth. Kings from every nation came to visit him and to hear the wisdom God had given him. Year after year, everyone who came to visit brought him gifts of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules." Below is a painting of Solomon in all of his splendor in "The Queen of Sheba before Solomon" by Nicolas Knupfer, c. 1640:
I do think map's can often give us a great overview / understanding of what we're reading about in the Bible. I think now is a good time to show a good map of Solomon's Kingdom compared to modern day Israel, below. Take a few minutes to really study this map and reflect upon places you recognize from today's readings and previous day's readings:
King Rehoboam's bad decision making in Second Chronicles chapter 10 is an excellent example of why we should respect our elders... Rehoboam blew off the advice of his elders and instead heeded the foolish advice of the young men around him. And then the kingdom was divided. Of course, this turn of events was the will of God. But, still, a good example I think of why we should listen to and respect our elders...
New Testament - Wow... I love Paul's writings today in Romans 8 verses 12 through 14! "So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you keep on following it, you will perish. But if through the power of the Holy Spirit you turn from it and its evil deeds, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God." How do these verses speak to you? Can you imagine that these words were written for you and your life today? Do you believe that you have no obligation whatsoever to do what sin urges you to do? Are you led in your life today by the Spirit of God?
Psalms - There are so many great verses today for us to meditate upon in Psalm 18! I love verses 25 through 27: "To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile. You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud." Are you showing yourself to be faithful to God? Are you living with integrity? Are you showing yourself to be pure? Is God showing you these things as well?
I really love verse 28: "LORD, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness." Has Jesus brought light into your life? Does God light up your darkness?
Proverbs - Proverbs 19 verse 26 is a great reminder of the commandment to honor thy father and mother: "Children who mistreat their father or chase away their mother are a public disgrace and an embarrassment." So.... have you called your Mom lately?? :) Of course I'm being facetious here with this question as it might (doesn't) relate to this Proverb, but hey, I'll let it stand...
Worship God: Based on Psalm 18 today I think Michael W. Smith's "You are Holy" is a great song to worship God to today. Enjoy!
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Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!