Spiritual Rants: June 12 “Pray For Pay” Readings to read through the Bible in a year: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29 Acts 8:14-40 Psalm 130:1-8 Proverbs 17:2-3

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Old Testament: 1 Kings 9:1-10:29

Solomon showed off and loved that all his possessions could been seen especially to the leader of Sheba, the Queen.

Read this passage on BibleGateway.com

1 Kings 9:1-9  Why Don’t You Do Right?

Yahweh appeared to Solomon a second time and promised to keep a descendant of his on the throne forever if he’d walk in His statutes as his father had.  If Solomon broke the covenant by following other gods, Yahweh will dishonor him by making Israel a mockery in the eyes of other nations.

1 Kings 9:10-27  What A Waste!

After twenty years when the Temple and his palace had been built, Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the region of Galilee.  Hiram came to view the cities.  His response:  “What the heck?”  He didn’t like them.  He said they looked like a “wasteland.”  He had given Solomon $95,578,560 in gold!  Apparently, Solomon perhaps paid Hiram back with gold received by the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:10).  But Solomon had no right to pay the king back with cities that belonged to Yahweh not to him.  According to Wiersbe, Solomon used Hiram’s gold for his palace which was bad stewardship.  It was much like what his father-in-law did, burning down a city to give it to his daughter as a wedding gift (cf. 10:16).

Solomon also assembled a navy (1 Kings 10:26-27).

1 Kings 10:1-13   Little Queen

Solomon’s fame had spread all the way to Arabia which gives rise to a visit from the Queen of Sheba.  She must have heard of his wisdom and came with “difficult questions” (v. 1). She brought various types of wealth with her.

The queen brought her toughest questions and he was able to answer them.  When she spent time with him and witnessed his great buildings and servants, she lost her breath (v. 5).  She said that what she had heard about him didn’t do justice to just how wealthy and wise he was!  She gave him the exact amount of gold he needed to repay Hiram.  Coincidence?

1 Kings 10:14-29   Many Horse Power

Solomon was paid 375 million dollars a year!  He had quite a bit of silver and gold to say the least.  His furnishings and trappings could not have been more lavish.  He sent ships out every three years and brought back silver, gold, ivory, peacocks and even apes!

Solomon became greater than all the other kings and certainly the richest and wisest (v. 23).  Everyone was bringing him wealth in exchange for his wisdom 9v. 24-25).

He accumulated horses just as Moses had warned the people (Deut. 17:16-17).  He had so many that he made money off them becoming a horse-trader to other nations (v. 29).  Why did Solomon need so much wealth?  Someone once asked multimillionaire John D. Rockefeller how much money was enough.  He answered, “Just a little bit more.”  Perhaps, Solomon knew personally that “pride precedes a fall” (Prov. 16:18).

New Testament: Acts 8:14-40

The apostles were very bold and in no instance more than their dealings with Simon who thought the Holy Spirit could be sold.

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Acts 8:14-24   Pray For Pay

The Gospel has now spread to Samaria.  Remember that Jesus told the disciples to go from Jerusalem to Samaria and then to Judea and then to the world?  They are now in Samaria.  Samaria was an area of half-breeds, half Jewish and half Gentile.  Remember the Samaritan woman in John 2?  The parable of the Good Samaritan?  Jews did not usually have dealings with Samaritans.  But now the gospel had entered Samaria.

The pattern of salvation usually is a sinner hears the gospel, makes a decision for Christ, and at the moment the decision is made, the Holy Spirit enters into him or her.  Don’t forget that the book of Acts is a book of history.  It relates what happened and does not tell us what should happen.  It is descriptive, not prescriptive.  We are about to witness a series of special circumstances as the gospel moves out from Jerusalem.  The pattern of salvation is not the same as described in the epistles.  The reason is that God is doing a new work and He wants people to understand the new thing that is being done.  The world is transitioning from the era of the law to the era of grace.  It is moving from Moses to Christ and the church.

Peter and John, as the prominent and representative apostles, are sent from Jerusalem to Samaria when the church hears that the gospel had been accepted there.  No one had received the Holy Spirit there though they had trusted Christ and been baptized.  To remedy the situation, John and Peter put their hands on them and then it could be seen that the Spirit had been received by them (v. 17).  How could it be seen?  We can guess that they spoke in tongues or there were other manifestations and miracles.  Whatever it was, Simon, the Magician, could perceive the difference.

Simon, who loved to be the center of attention, asked to buy the ability to transfer the Spirit to people.  Peter rebuked Simon and told him he needed to change his perspective.  To think that the ability to give the Spirit could be transmitted from person to person was an evil sin said Peter (v. 22).  Simon asked Peter to ask the Lord to protect him from going astray (v. 24).

Acts 8:25-39   A Great Disappearing Act

An angel appeared to Philip and told him to proceed south and that they’d find an Ethiopian eunuch who had come to Jerusalem to worship.  When they found him he was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah.  Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading.  The eunuch said, “What?  Do I have a study Bible or commentary or anything?”

Turns out the eunuch was reading the main chapter on Christ in Isaiah, chapter 53:7-8.  He asked Philip who the prophet was talking about.  Philip was glad to explicate the Scriptures to him about Jesus.  When they were passing some water, the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptized.  Philip told him that if he believed with all his heart, that he could be baptized.  The eunuch confessed Christ.  So they stopped the chariot and Philip and the eunuch both went into the water, showing that immersion was in vogue, and Philip dunked the eunuch.

After they came up out of the water, Philip was snatched away by the Spirit and the eunuch didn’t see him again.  (Will the Rapture be like this?)  The eunuch left rejoicing and Philip found himself in Azotus where he continued to preach the gospel off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Psalm 130:1-8   A Lament By Anonymous

The psalmist could never be called a myope, he waited for the Lord and had exuberant hope.

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Psalm 130:1-8   Watching For A Morning Show

Don’t forget this is a pilgrim song, recited as the Jews approached Jerusalem for the feasts of Tabernacles, or Passover, or Pentecost (Pss. 120-134).

I’m reminding you again, if you feel down and depressed, the place to go is to Scripture.  I notice that if I don’t start the day with Scripture, I feel more pressure from evil forces.  I don’t think they like hearing Scripture first thing in the morning.  I often listen to the One Year Bible readings for the day on esvbible.org by using their “listen” button on the Every Day In The Word page.  The ESV is an update of the RSV that I used for all my early memory work.  The RSV was an update of the King James.  (If you don’t like “inclusive language,” you might not like the ESV.  But it’s fine for listening.)

The other thing you can do is listen to this blog at jerryrothauser.com.  I post three blogs a day at midnight.  One is a commentary on the Old and New Testament readings.  Another is a devotion on the key verse or verses from that day’s reading.  The third is this commentary on Psalms and Proverbs from the One Year Bible.  It is possible to set your iPhone or iPad or Mac to read the commentaries to you every day.  A blog (or three) a day, keeps the devil away.  And keeps you away from “the apple.”  Yeah, an Apple a day can keep “the apple” away.  (See How To Listen To Spiritual Rants on an Apple.)

The psalmist cries out of the depths (cf. Jon. 2:1-7, Psa. 71:20; 86:13).  Does the psalmist not think God can hear him, he is so low?  No.  I think the psalmist often asks God to hear him so he knows he’s talking.  God will hear things that we ask that according to His will (vv. 1-2, cf. 1 John 5:14-15).

He knows he needs to confess his sins if he would expect God to hear him (v. 3, cf. 1 John 1:9).  But if he does, he knows God will hear him (cf. Ps. 66:18-19).  He knows that God will always forgive him (v. 4).  God’s grace is always bigger than our sin (cf. Rom. 5:9, 15, 17, check out the “much mores;” also cf. Ps. 103:10, 12).

The psalmist waits for the Lord to move first, then follows Him (v. 5).  He always puts God’s Word first in his life and takes his cues from Scripture (v. 5).  His hope doesn’t come from what he sees but from his faith in the Word (2 Cor. 5:7).

Watchmen keep their eyes peeled (that metaphor hurts a bit!) for intruders into the town.  Especially on the graveyard shift overnight, they really watch out.  The psalmist keeps his eyes and ears on the Lord with more intensity even than the trained military looking for invaders (v. 6).  He really, really does (he repeats himself, he repeats himself).  And he looks for the Lord in the early morning as soon as he wakes up.

The psalmist calls to his countrymen to hope in the Lord and look for His hesed (lovingkindness, faithful love, covenantal, binding provision and protection, v. 7).

God is the only One Who can save them and pay their ransom from sin (v. 7c, 8).  In fact, that’s exactly what Jesus did (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).

Proverbs 17:2-3   Golden Or Gulden?

A servant with wisdom will have more merit than a son who would a great amount inherit.

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Is Solomon thinking of Joseph in verse 2?  He was honored though his brothers acted very shamefully, even trying to off him (v. 2, cf. the story of Joseph, Gen. 30-50).  His brothers were just a bunch of hot dogs.  But Joseph became, basically, the ruler over Egypt though he had been just an attendant.  He had already risen to the top of Potiphar’s household as a servant.  Potiphar was the captain of Pharoah’s guard (cf. Gen. 39:4). But later Joseph was put in charge of all Egypt (cf. Gen. 41:41).

Jeroboam is also an example of a son rising to power above the natural heir, Rehoboam, a hot dog.   He became the leader of 10 of the 12 tribes (cf. 1 Kings 12).

God tests our hearts (v. 3).  Have you noticed?  He certainly tested Joseph.  After he became Potiphar’s chief servant, Potiphar’s sexy wife came on to him, causing Joseph to flee.  He passed the test and eventually moved even higher up the ranks (cf. Gen. 39:6-23).  God disciplines the ones He loves (cf. Heb. 12:3-11).

It can certainly feel sometimes like God is heating us up until we feel like smelted gold or silver (v. 3a).  As Warren Wiersbe says though, “. . . when His people are in the furnace, the Creator keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. He knows how long and how much, and He is always in control.”

Do you trust God for the circumstances you are in?  Are you like Job?  He knew when God was done testing him, he’d be golden (cf. Job 23:10).  Of course, some people are just hot dogs.  Then they would need Gulden’s.

Scripture:   1 Kings 10:4-5   NASB    “Taking Away My Breath”

“When the queen of Sheba perceived all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his servants, the attendance of his waiters and their attire, his cupbearers, and his stairway by which he went up to the house of the LORD, there was no more spirit in her.”    1 Kings 10:4-5

You would normally think of the Queen of Sheba as someone who would take a man’s breath away.  But this verse says that Solomon took her breath away!  The phrase “there was no more spirit in her” (NASB) is translated by the ESV, “there was no more breath in her.”

What caused the Queen to be so amazed and awestruck?   It was his wisdom that resulted in the opulence of his palace.

We might not need wisdom to build ourselves an elaborate house filled with servants but we often need wisdom to live the Christian life.  God has promised us wisdom as great or greater than the wisdom of Solomon to be able to do His will.  James 1:5 tells us, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Do you need God’s wisdom today?  God has promised us His wisdom unconditionally.  Are you taking advantage of that great promise?

If you are, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!

Fun Application:   

Are you struggling with anything today?  God’s wisdom is just a breath away.  Just ask Him and He has promised that He will give it to you.

The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog:   Pray For Pay

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