The Sabbath was Made for Man

Bible:

One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him? Mark 2:23-26 ESV

Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.  Matthew 12:5-7 ESV

And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27-28 ESV 

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. Deuteronomy 5:12-15 ESV

Reflection:

Some years ago in villages in Vietnam, many children were not getting enough food to eat. They were very hungry and not growing well. But there were a few children in the villages whose parents were also very poor, but their children were not going hungry and were growing well. People who were trying to help the hungry children wanted to find out what the difference was. They discovered that the children who had enough to eat had parents who were breaking some rules about what everyone thought was good for children. The villagers thought that the tiny crabs and shrimp that grew in the rice paddies weren’t good for children to eat, and also that the green leaves that grew above sweet potatoes weren’t good. There was also a rule that children should only eat twice a day. But a few parents were breaking all these rules. They were cooking crabs and shrimp and sweet potato greens for their children, and feeding them three or four times a day. Seeing that their children had enough to eat so they would grow strong and healthy was more important to them than following the rules.

God had given the Sabbath to his people as a gift to them, so that everyone could have a rest from the hard work they did every day, especially those who worked for others. But the religious leaders made all kinds of rules about the Sabbath that turned it into a heavy burden instead of a gift. When Jesus and his disciples were walking through a field of grain and the hungry disciples were snacking on the grain, the Pharisees thought they were doing something wrong. But Jesus reminded them of a story of a time when a priest gave David and his hungry men some bread that was only for the priests to eat. Jesus also reminded them that priests worked on the Sabbath to keep up the temple sacrifices. Jesus said that he, more than David or the temple or any priest, is the lord of the Sabbath, and that means he is the one who sets the rules for it. God’s laws are meant to give people life and health, and are there for our benefit. The Sabbath was made for people, and not the other way around.

Even though all of God’s laws are holy and good, we break them all the time. We don’t do the things that bring life and health to ourselves and to other people. Instead, we are often like the religious leaders who misuse God’s laws to hurt and blame others and to shut ourselves away from the Lord’s blessings. But Jesus came to keep God’s laws perfectly for us. He went to the cross to pay for all the times when we break God’s commands. Because of Jesus, we have blessing and forgiveness and life, now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to bring us life and forgiveness. Amen

Source:

https://hbr.org/2000/01/the-power-of-positive-deviancy

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The Favored One

Bible:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:26-33 ESV

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7

Reflection:

Once there was an African king named Cophetua. He didn’t have a wife, but one day he looked out the window and saw a beggar woman named Penelophon. He fell in love with her and decided that she would become his wife and his queen, so he went out with some coins and gave them to all the beggars in the street. When Penelophon came up to him he took her by the hand and told her that he loved her and that he would marry her and make her the queen. So Penelophon went from being a beggar to being a queen, and she and the king lived happily together until they died.

This is only a story, but it’s a little bit like what happened to Mary. She was a humble young woman who lived in a little village called Nazareth, but one day the Angel Gabriel appeared to her with some amazing news. He told her that she was highly favored by the Lord. Mary was afraid and worried about what all of this meant, so the angel explained it to her. God had chosen Mary to be the mother of the Messiah. Her Son would be the one God’s people had been waiting for for centuries, the one from David’s line who would be the king forever. The Lord was giving Mary an amazing, incredible honor.

God has given us his favor, too, through Jesus the Son of Mary. We haven’t been chosen to be the mother of God’s Son, but we have been chosen to be God’s people. We were as weak and helpless as beggars, but God has taken us from the sin and death that had us in their power and brought us into his kingdom. Jesus came to defeat sin and death by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead, and because of Jesus, we have all of God’s love and favor, now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us your love and favor through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/boeb/boeb04.htm

The King Stops the Work

Bible:

The king sent an answer: “To Rehum the commander and Shimshai the scribe and the rest of their associates who live in Samaria and in the rest of the province Beyond the River, greeting. And now the letter that you sent to us has been plainly read before me. And I made a decree, and search has been made, and it has been found that this city from of old has risen against kings, and that rebellion and sedition have been made in it. And mighty kings have been over Jerusalem, who ruled over the whole province Beyond the River, to whom tribute, custom, and toll were paid. Therefore make a decree that these men be made to cease, and that this city be not rebuilt, until a decree is made by me. And take care not to be slack in this matter. Why should damage grow to the hurt of the king?”

Then, when the copy of King Artaxerxes’ letter was read before Rehum and Shimshai the scribe and their associates, they went in haste to the Jews at Jerusalem and by force and power made them cease. Then the work on the house of God that is in Jerusalem stopped, and it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia. Ezra 4:17-24 ESV

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30 ESV

Reflection:

In the United States, the Interstate 90 expressway runs from the city of Boston to the city of Seattle, all the way across the country. In the city of Seattle, there were many ramps leading on and off I-90 planned to be built to connect it with another interstate freeway as well as to other roads. But for almost three decades, these ramps weren’t finished. If you drove by, you saw a number of freeway ramps leading to nowhere, just ending, many of them pointing up and then suddenly ending in midair. What happened was that there were legal challenges to the work, as well as environmental issues, and so what was begun in the 1960s didn’t get completed till the 1990s. For many years, the unfinished project simply sat, with its ramps leading to nowhere.

The same kind of thing happened in Jerusalem. When the people started to rebuild their temple, and the city and its walls, their enemies started to give them trouble. They wrote a letter to the king of the Persian empire accusing the Jews of planning a rebellion, and when the king got the letter he wrote back saying that he agreed that rebuilding Jerusalem meant trouble for him. He had found in his historical records that Jerusalem had once been the capital of a powerful country with kings that had received tribute from surrounding nations, and also that there had been rebellions against powerful empires coming from Jerusalem. He would have read about the glory days of the kings David and Solomon, and also about the way Jerusalem had stood firm when the Assyrian empire had taken the northern kingdom captive. So the king of Persia decreed that the Jews had to stop their building project. For many years the city stood only partly finished.

Sometimes we have things in life that we want to get done, and then something gets in the way and we can’t finish our projects.  It can be very frustrating when this happens, but it’s a reminder that there are many things in life that we can’t control. The most important thing to remember is that if we try to earn our way into God’s favor, we will never even come close to finishing what we need to do! We sin against God every day, and there’s nothing we could ever do to make up for the ways we’ve rebelled against him. But Jesus came to help us with this. He obeyed God’s law perfectly for us from the beginning to the end of his life, and then he laid his life down on the cross for us. The moment he died he said, “It is finished.” That means that Jesus did everything he needed to do to save us and bring us back to our Heavenly Father. As long as we live, we will be unfinished in becoming like Jesus, but we can always be sure that Jesus completely finished our salvation for us.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for your perfect life, and for finishing our salvation by dying on the cross for us. Amen.

Source:

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19900212&slug=1055692

God Preserves David’s Line

Bible:

And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison. And he spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat above the seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table, and for his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, according to his daily needs, until the day of his death, as long as he lived. Jeremiah 52:31-34 ESV

Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. . . . When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. . . . And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” II Samuel 7 8-9, 12-13, 16 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago a king named Alfonso XIII was the king of Spain. While he was the king, there was a war in Spain, and a man named Franco became the military dictator of the country. While the war was going on, King Alfonso fled from Spain and lived in exile for the rest of his life. The king proclaimed that his grandson, Juan Carlos, would be the heir to the Spanish throne, but it seemed at the time that it would be impossible for Juan Carlos to ever rule in Spain. However, a few years later Franco allowed him to come into Spain and be educated there. The heir to the Spanish throne was kept safe, and while he was still the dictator Franco designated Juan Carlos as the future king of Spain. When Franco died, Juan Carlos claimed his throne and became the king.

When the people of Israel were in exile and Jehoiachin, the heir to David’s line, was a prisoner in Babylon, the hope that David’s line would always continue seemed to die. But after Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, the next king of Babylon took Jehoiachin out of prison and gave him special favor at the king’s court. He didn’t have to wear prison clothes anymore, and had a place of honor at the king’s table. He was given an allowance to provide for his needs until the day he died. Why did Jehoiachin get such special treatment? The Bible doesn’t say, but we know that God was working through the king of Babylon to keep David’s line safe. The Lord had promised that David’s dynasty would last forever, and so God gave special care to the rightful king in exile, Jehoiachin.

God continued to preserve David’s line through history until the time when Jesus, the promised Savior, was born into David’s dynasty. Jesus came to bring everyone who believed in him back to God, our Heavenly Father, and because of his death and resurrection we are God’s people and will live forever in his heavenly kingdom. God’s promise to David has come true through our Savior. Jesus is the King above all kings, and his kingdom will last forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise to David and giving us Jesus, our Savior and King. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Juan-Carlos

Little Bethlehem

Bible:

Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel. Micah 5:1-3 ESV

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-7 ESV

Reflection:

Cambridge, Ohio, is a small town with a population of about 13,000 people. Cambridge is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and the closest large city is 50 miles away. Sometimes people visit Cambridge because there are two beautiful lakes nearby, but there are no large museums, big sports teams, or major theaters. Many people would say that Cambridge is not a very important place, and they wouldn’t think of it as a place they would want to visit, but there is one thing that the city can be very proud of. An astronaut named John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth, was born there. This makes the city of Cambridge a very special and important place.

The prophet Micah lived around the same time as the prophet Isaiah, and he gave the same messages of comfort and hope to the southern kingdom of Judah when they were being threatened by the Assyrians. Micah looked far into the future, to a time when God would send someone to help and save his people. The prophet talked about the promised Savior as someone who would rule God’s people, but who would at the same time have been there from ancient times. God himself would be the promised Savior, coming as a human baby to live among his people. Micah even told where the promised Savior would be born–in the little town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem was the town where King David had been born, but it was a small town and no one thought it was very important. But this was the place where God promised that the Savior would be born. God’s people would know hard times, but they could look forward to a Savior who would bring his people home.

Jesus is the promised Savior. He was born in Bethlehem, just as Micah said, and he brought many people back to their Heavenly Father. Jesus came to live among us as one of us, and he understands our feelings and our needs because he went through the same kinds of things we do. He died on the cross to save us and bring us back to God. He loves us and watches over us, whether we are from a big city or a small town, and will someday gather all his people together into his heavenly kingdom.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to save us and for bringing us back to our Heavenly Father. Amen.

Source:

http://www.cambridgeoh.org/

A Shoot from a Stump

Bible:

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins. Isaiah 11:1-5 ESV

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:26-33 ESV

Reflection:

In some parts of the United States such as the Pacific Northwest, there can be a real problem with some kinds of wild blackberries. Their vines produce delicious fruit in the late summer, but the problem is that these vines cover everything. Gardeners and park managers try to cut back the blackberry vines to their stumps, but they grow right back again. If the roots stay alive, new shoots will grow out of the stump of a blackberry vine, and the life of the plant will continue. People who are trying to get rid of wild blackberry vines often struggle for years without much luck!

The prophet Isaiah talked about a stump out of which a new shoot would grow, and he called it the stump of Jesse. Jesse had been the father of King David. The northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to Assyria, and the southern kingdom was weak. Isaiah knew what the people were afraid of, that the southern kingdom would also fall at some time in the future, leaving only a stump when David’s dynasty would be cut off. What would happen to God’s promise that there would always be a king on David’s throne? Isaiah gave the people God’s promise that a shoot would grow out of the stump of Jesse. God wouldn’t let the roots of David’s dynasty die. Someday a new king would come who would be full of the Holy Spirit. He would rule forever with power and justice and righteousness.

Jesus is that king. He was born in the line of King David, and he was the promised Savior who fulfilled all of God’s prophecies. Jesus wasn’t the kind of king his people were expecting. He didn’t raise an army or get rid of the Romans who were occupying the promised land. When he was arrested and condemned to death, it seemed as if God’s plan had failed. But Jesus came back to life again, just like new life comes out of a stump. Death couldn’t hold him, and he conquered death for our sake. Jesus has made us part of his heavenly kingdom, and he is our king now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our wonderful and powerful king and for conquering sin and death for us. Amen.

Source:

http://www.kingcounty.gov/services/environment/animals-and-plants/noxious-weeds/weed-identification/blackberry.aspx

A Very Good King

Bible:

Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem.

He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabians who lived in Gurbaal and against the Meunites. The Ammonites paid tribute to Uzziah, and his fame spread even to the border of Egypt, for he became very strong. Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them. And he built towers in the wilderness and cut out many cisterns, for he had large herds, both in the Shephelah and in the plain, and he had farmers and vinedressers in the hills and in the fertile lands, for he loved the soil. Moreover, Uzziah had an army of soldiers, fit for war, in divisions according to the numbers in the muster made by Jeiel the secretary and Maaseiah the officer, under the direction of Hananiah, one of the king’s commanders. The whole number of the heads of fathers’ houses of mighty men of valor was 2,600. Under their command was an army of 307,500, who could make war with mighty power, to help the king against the enemy. And Uzziah prepared for all the army shields, spears, helmets, coats of mail, bows, and stones for slinging. In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. II Chronicles 26:3a, 6-15 ESV

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor!

May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish,
and peace abound, till the moon be no more! Psalm 72:1-7 ESV

Reflection:

Many, many years ago a man named Alfred ruled in Wessex, which is part of today’s England. It was a time of war with Viking raiders, who were plundering the coasts of England and building their own settlements there. Alfred built a fortified base against Vikings that had settled in his area of England, then he defeated them in battle. Alfred became a great king. He made peace with the other Viking settlements, built more fortresses and strengthened his armies, and gained territory for his kingdom. He also promoted education and learning among his people. Today people call this king Alfred the Great.

Long before King Alfred, Uzziah was the king of the southern kingdom of Judah. He was from David’s line, and he was a great king like his ancestor David. He strengthened his armies and won battles against the Philistines and other nations. His kingdom was so strong that some nations paid tribute to him, and even the nation of Egypt heard about his fame. Uzziah built fortresses to strengthen and defend his country, and he even invented some war machinery to shoot arrows and sling huge stones at the enemy. But Uzziah wasn’t only a man of war. He also loved his land, and he did a lot to strengthen farming in his kingdom. He built cisterns to supply water for his herds of animals and he had fields of grain and vineyards of grapes. Times of peace gave him a chance to make his country strong and prosperous.

Great kings in David’s line were a gift of God to his people, and they also pointed ahead to the one great King who was coming. God had said that the promised Savior would come from David’s line and would be the greatest king of all. Jesus is our promised Savior, but when he came he didn’t have an army or fields of grain. He went to battle by himself against the biggest enemies of his people, sin and death. He defeated all the forces of evil by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead. Everyone who believes in Jesus is part of his kingdom, and he rules us with his love. One day he will come back and take us to his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that will last forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our great and good king. Amen.

Source:

https://www.royal.uk/alfred-great-r-871-899

 

The Best Deal

Bible:

“Nevertheless, I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of David my servant whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes. But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand and will give it to you, ten tribes. Yet to his son I will give one tribe, that David my servant may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name. And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. And I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever.’” Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam. But Jeroboam arose and fled into Egypt, to Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. I Kings 11:34-40 ESV

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. Psalm 16:1-6 ESV

Reflection:

Many years ago a star baseball player named Babe Ruth played for the Boston Red Sox. He was a pitcher and also a really good hitter, but the Red Sox owners needed money and didn’t see what a star Babe Ruth would become. So the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $100,000, which was a lot of money in those days. They might have thought that they were getting the best part of the deal when they got all that money, but Babe Ruth went on to lead the New York Yankees to victory and fame and gave them the ability to build Yankee Stadium, which many people called “The House that Ruth Built.” Today no one doubts that the Yankees got a much better deal.

When God promised Jeroboam most of the tribes of Israel to rule over, Jeroboam might have thought he was getting the best part of the deal. All that Solomon’s dynasty would have left would be the one big tribe of Judah (and the little tribe of Benjamin.) But God also promised to continue to love and bless Solomon’s dynasty for David’s sake. They would have the temple in Jerusalem where God’s presence was in a special way. And someday it would be from the tribe of Judah that the promised Savior would be born. God was disciplining Solomon’s dynasty, but he hadn’t taken his promises away from them. The people of the tribe of Judah had the much better deal, but sadly, very few people understood that at the time. All anyone could see was the wealth of the tribes that were promised to Jeroboam, and Solomon even tried to have him killed!

We are thankful that God kept his promises to David even though Solomon turned away from God. This shows that God’s promises never fail his people. God sent Jesus to be our promised Savior, and Jesus took our sins away at the cross. We have his love and forgiveness every day, and no one can take the love of Jesus away from us. Whatever wealth or other good things other people might have, if we have Jesus, we have the best deal of all!

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your love and forgiveness through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/new-york-yankees-announce-purchase-of-babe-ruth

The Blessing of Peace

Bible:

Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.” I Kings 5:1-6 ESV

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. I Timothy 2:1-4 ESV

Reflection:

When the United States entered World War II, the people that stayed home and didn’t fight in the war had to make some sacrifices to their country so that the war effort would be strong. Houses and cars, and also appliances like refrigerators weren’t being made so that factories could concentrate on making planes and tanks and other materials to fight the war. There was a shortage of things like gasoline, butter, sugar, meat, canned food, rubber, and shoes. People couldn’t always buy these things, and when they did they could only buy a certain amount, not all they wanted. When there is a war there are things at home that can’t happen until there is peace. When World War II was over there were many houses and cars and appliances for everyone to buy. Life changed from sacrifice to wealth and comfort for many people.

The same was true in King Solomon’s time. When his father David had been king, there had been many wars. David wasn’t able to make his dream of building a beautiful temple for God come true. But when Solomon became king, God gave him the gift of peace. He didn’t have to put all his efforts into gathering soldiers and fighting battles. He was able to get started with the project of building the temple his father had dreamed of building.

Peace is a wonderful gift of God, and he wants his people to pray for peace. God can work and do good things in times of war, but one of the greatest works of God happens more easily in times of peace. God wants his people to share the good news of Jesus with people all over the world, and times of peace make that easier to do. Missionaries often have to leave the country where they are working when there is a war. We pray for peace and we pray for the leaders of countries around the world, that they would rule their people in a way that pleases God.

Often God’s people have to live with war in this sin-sick world. We can be happy to know that God will work good things for his people even in war. Nothing will ever separate us from God’s love. We once were at war with God, his enemies who fought against him in every way. God sent his Son Jesus to make peace with us. Jesus took all our sins to the cross and paid for them there, and because of Jesus, we have peace with God now and always, no matter how terrible the wars of this world might seem.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to make peace with us. Please help and bless leaders all over the world and send us peace in your best way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.ushistory.org/us/51b.asp

 

The Royal Son

Bible:

And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and they anointed him as prince for the Lord, and Zadok as priest.

Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. All the leaders and the mighty men, and also all the sons of King David, pledged their allegiance to King Solomon. And the Lord made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor. And Solomon his son reigned in his place. I Chronicles 22b-28 ESV

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:1-3, 6-9 ESV

Reflection:

When King Henry VIII was the king of England, he became very worried about something. He had two daughters, but he didn’t have any royal sons. Henry wanted there to be a son to become the king after he died. He ended up getting a divorce from his first wife, beheading his second wife, and marrying a third wife before he had a son, Edward. Edward was very important to his father, because Henry thought that his kingly dynasty would continue through Edward. Edward VI became the king of England after Henry died, when he was only 9 years old! He didn’t live very long, however. Edward died of tuberculosis when he was 15. Both of Henry’s daughters ruled as queens after that, first Mary and then Elizabeth, but neither of them had children, and Henry’s dynasty died out.

God blessed David with many sons, and his son Solomon became king when he was an old man. After David died Solomon became a rich and powerful king, and David’s dynasty continued through him. All of David’s officials and all of his other sons pledged their loyalty to Solomon. God had promised to establish David’s dynasty, and the promised Savior would be born in this kingly line. God protected this dynasty through many years and many troubles, and God’s people waited for the royal Son of David who would be their promised king and Savior.

Solomon was rich and powerful and full of glory and honor, but when Jesus came to earth he was a very different kind of king. Jesus came into Jerusalem, not with an army and an honor guard, but humbly riding on a donkey. Some of his people recognized who he was, and they waved palm branches and called him the Son of David. But this promised Savior and king went on to die before that week was over. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins and to make us his people. He rose again and is alive forever to rule his kingdom. Through Jesus, David’s dynasty will never end, and we will be his people forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being our loving and humble king, and for winning power and glory now and forever. Amen.

Source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/edward_vi_king.shtml