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13 August - 1 Kings 8; Jeremiah 34; Mark 8


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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:13 AM

First Portion

1 Kings 8


8:1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers’ households of the children of Israel, to king Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion. 8:2 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to king Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 8:3 All the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 8:4 They brought up the ark of Yahweh, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; even these the priests and the Levites brought up. 8:5 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude. 8:6 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 8:7 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above. 8:8 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place before the oracle; but they were not seen outside: and there they are to this day. 8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 8:10 It came to pass, when the priests had come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Yahweh, 8:11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh. 8:12 Then Solomon said, “Yahweh has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 8:13 I have surely built you a house of habitation, a place for you to dwell in forever.”

8:14 The king turned his face about, and blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood. 8:15 He said, “Blessed is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to David your father, and has with his hand fulfilled it, saying, 8:16 ‘Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house, that my name might be there; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.’

8:17 “Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. 8:18 But Yahweh said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. 8:19 Nevertheless, you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for my name.’ 8:20 Yahweh has established his word that he spoke; for I have risen up in the place of David my father, and I sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. 8:21 There I have set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; 8:23 and he said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above, or on earth beneath; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart; 8:24 who have kept with your servant David my father that which you promised him. Yes, you spoke with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day. 8:25 Now therefore, may Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with your servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’

8:26 “Now therefore, God of Israel, please let your word be verified, which you spoke to your servant David my father. 8:27 But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can’t contain you; how much less this house that I have built! 8:28 Yet have respect for the prayer of your servant, and for his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant prays before you this day; 8:29 that your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there;’ to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place. 8:30 Listen to the supplication of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place. Yes, hear in heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

8:31 “If a man sins against his neighbor, and an oath is laid on him to cause him to swear, and he comes and swear before your altar in this house; 8:32 then hear in heaven, and do, and judge your servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

8:33 “When your people Israel are struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you; if they turn again to you, and confess your name, and pray and make supplication to you in this house: 8:34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which you gave to their fathers.

8:35 “When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you; if they pray toward this place, and confess your name, and turn from their sin, when you afflict them: 8:36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on your land, which you have given to your people for an inheritance.

8:37 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight, mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; 8:38 whatever prayer and supplication is made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall each know the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: 8:39 then hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of all the children of men;) 8:40 that they may fear you all the days that they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.

8:41 “Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for your name’s sake 8:42 (for they shall hear of your great name, and of your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm); when he shall come and pray toward this house; 8:43 hear in heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, to fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by your name.

8:44 “If your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to Yahweh toward the city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for your name; 8:45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 8:46 If they sin against you (for there is no man who doesn’t sin), and you are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; 8:47 yet if they shall repent in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to you in the land of those who carried them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned, and have done perversely; we have dealt wickedly;’ 8:48 if they return to you with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name: 8:49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven, your dwelling place, and maintain their cause; 8:50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions in which they have transgressed against you; and give them compassion before those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 8:51 (for they are your people, and your inheritance, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron); 8:52 that your eyes may be open to the supplication of your servant, and to the supplication of your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they cry to you. 8:53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth, to be your inheritance, as you spoke by Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, Lord Yahweh.”

8:54 It was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication to Yahweh, he arose from before the altar of Yahweh, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread forth toward heaven. 8:55 He stood, and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 8:56 “Blessed be Yahweh, who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. There has not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by Moses his servant. 8:57 May Yahweh our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. Let him not leave us, nor forsake us; 8:58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our fathers. 8:59 Let these my words, with which I have made supplication before Yahweh, be near to Yahweh our God day and night, that he may maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel, as every day shall require; 8:60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh, he is God. There is none else.

8:61 “Let your heart therefore be perfect with Yahweh our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”

8:62 The king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before Yahweh. 8:63 Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to Yahweh, two and twenty thousand head of cattle, and one hundred twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of Yahweh. 8:64 The same day the king made the middle of the court holy that was before the house of Yahweh; for there he offered the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that was before Yahweh was too little to receive the burnt offering, and the meal offering, and the fat of the peace offerings. 8:65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before Yahweh our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. 8:66 On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that Yahweh had shown to David his servant, and to Israel his people.

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:15 AM

Second Portion

Jeremiah 34


34:1 The word which came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of it, saying: 34:2 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Go, and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire: 34:3 and you shall not escape out of his hand, but shall surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and your eyes shall see the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with you mouth to mouth, and you shall go to Babylon. 34:4 Yet hear the word of Yahweh, O Zedekiah king of Judah: thus says Yahweh concerning you, You shall not die by the sword; 34:5 you shall die in peace; and with the burnings of your fathers, the former kings who were before you, so shall they make a burning for you; and they shall lament you, saying, Ah Lord! for I have spoken the word, says Yahweh. 34:6 Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, 34:7 when the king of Babylon’s army was fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and against Azekah; for these alone remained of the cities of Judah as fortified cities. 34:8 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty to them; 34:9 that every man should let his male servant, and every man his female servant, who is a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should make bondservants of them, to wit, of a Jew his brother. 34:10 All the princes and all the people obeyed, who had entered into the covenant, that everyone should let his male servant, and everyone his female servant, go free, that none should make bondservants of them any more; they obeyed, and let them go: 34:11 but afterwards they turned, and caused the servants and the handmaids, whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids. 34:12 Therefore the word of Yahweh came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 34:13 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, 34:14 At the end of seven years you shall let go every man his brother who is a Hebrew, who has been sold to you, and has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you: but your fathers didn’t listen to me, neither inclined their ear. 34:15 You had now turned, and had done that which is right in my eyes, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name: 34:16 but you turned and profaned my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom you had let go free at their pleasure, to return; and you brought them into subjection, to be to you for servants and for handmaids. 34:17 Therefore thus says Yahweh: you have not listened to me, to proclaim liberty, every man to his brother, and every man to his neighbor: behold, I proclaim to you a liberty, says Yahweh, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be tossed back and forth among all the kingdoms of the earth. 34:18 I will give the men who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me, when they cut the calf in two and passed between its parts; 34:19 the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs, and the priests, and all the people of the land, who passed between the parts of the calf; 34:20 I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food to the birds of the sky, and to the animals of the earth. 34:21 Zedekiah king of Judah and his princes will I give into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, who have gone away from you. 34:22 Behold, I will command, says Yahweh, and cause them to return to this city; and they shall fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.

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Posted 13 August 2007 - 08:16 AM

Third Portion

Mark 8


8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them, 8:2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. 8:3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way.”

8:4 His disciples answered him, “From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?”

8:5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

They said, “Seven.”

8:6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. 8:7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also. 8:8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. 8:9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

8:10 Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha. 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to question him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing him. 8:12 He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

8:13 He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side. 8:14 They forgot to take bread; and they didn’t have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 8:15 He warned them, saying, “Take heed: beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.”

8:16 They reasoned with one another, saying, “It’s because we have no bread.”

8:17 Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, “Why do you reason that it’s because you have no bread? Don’t you perceive yet, neither understand? Is your heart still hardened? 8:18 Having eyes, don’t you see? Having ears, don’t you hear? Don’t you remember? 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They told him, “Twelve.”

8:20 “When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They told him, “Seven.”

8:21 He asked them, “Don’t you understand, yet?”

8:22 He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. 8:23 He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.

8:24 He looked up, and said, “I see men; for I see them like trees walking.”

8:25 Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly. 8:26 He sent him away to his house, saying, “Don’t enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village.”

8:27 Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”

8:28 They told him, “John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets.”

8:29 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”

8:30 He commanded them that they should tell no one about him. 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 8:32 He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 8:33 But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men.”

8:34 He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, “Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 8:35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it. 8:36 For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 8:37 For what will a man give in exchange for his life? 8:38 For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

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Posted 13 August 2008 - 10:50 AM

13 August 2008

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:17 AM

13 August 2009

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 02:03 AM

13 August 2010

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

"FOR YOU, YOU ONLY, KNOW THE HEARTS OF ALL … MANKIND"

The above words are part of a prayer to God by the man seen to be the wisest king that ever lived. How can God "know the hearts of all"? Is this an exaggeration? Now during my lifetime, clever human beings have discovered the ‘magic’ of making use of the ‘waves’ in the air that were discovered in the 19th Century. Most scientists in those days still believed there was a Great Creator, and the scientist Faraday reasoned that God could not have created air and space with nothing in it! So he, among other scientists of that age, experimented and discovered radio waves of varying frequencies. Human cleverness since then has discovered even micro waves and how to harness their discoveries for the benefit of the human race.

But have you stopped to think that the power by which you can pick up a mobile phone and ring any one of countless millions of people in any country in the world within a minute or two is telling you something? Isn’t it telling you to think carefully about what the Creator can do?

We live in an age of wonders as to what us human beings, that God has created, can do – so should we not be ready to think of what God himself can do and has always done? Surely he sees and knows all, remember Paul’s words to the idol worshipping people of Athens. He told them about the One true God, saying, "In Him we live and move and have our being" [Acts 17:28] Think what those words mean!

Our reading of Solomon’s long prayer at the dedication of the Temple prompted these thoughts. Consider the full context of the words at the top. "Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know all the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live …" [1 Kings 8:38-40] Does God "know" your heart? It is the only way for your life to have real meaning!
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Posted 13 August 2011 - 07:35 AM

13 August 2011

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

"FOR WHOEVER IS ASHAMED OF ME AND OF MY WORDS"

What a challenge it is for young people growing up today in Australia and similar prosperous countries (but how do you measure prosperity?) to be bold in making it known that they believe in Jesus, except among the circle of their fellow believers! Even more than this, not only to declare they believe he existed 2,000 years ago, but to show how his teaching changed the way a great number of people thought and acted. In fact, that his teaching, despite opposition, turned the beliefs of the ancient world upside down!

Now in achieving this it caused many traumatic moments that tested the faith and the convictions of those converted and cost some their lives. Let’s compare this with today. The opposite conviction is flooding the world, at least, that part of the world that considers itself intelligent and well informed. Those who openly declare their belief in Jesus face increasing ridicule and this makes the words of Jesus we read today in Mark 8 very relevant.

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him (or her) will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:38] How challenging were his words both to the disciples and the crowd, “If anyone would come after me; let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man (or woman) to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” [Mark 8:34-36]

Most people today (in Australia at least) think this life is their only life. They try to “save” this life as much as they can! But those who follow Jesus “deny” themselves by turning away from the unessential things that fill the minds of those who want nothing to do with believing in Jesus. He said, there are two gates, two pathways and one has never been more evident - and “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many.” [Matthew 7:13] Those who enter by the narrow gate simply must strengthen themselves with daily reading and thought on life’s true realities - for only these lead to eternal life.
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Posted 13 August 2012 - 05:16 AM

13 August 2012

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

“YOU ONLY, KNOW THE HEARTS OF ALL”

The magnificent temple Solomon built was opened and dedicated. Consider the words Solomon used in addressing God! “Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live …” [1 Kings 8:38-40] Does God “know” your heart? He must, he can give your life real meaning!

How can God “know the hearts of all”? Is this an exaggeration? During my lifetime clever human beings have discovered more of the ‘magic’ of making use of the ‘waves’ in the air that were discovered in the 19th Century: they can now transmit words and pictures around the world in an instant, the portraying of the Olympic Games is the latest example of this. The scientists of those earlier days were convinced there was a Great Creator. The scientist Faraday reasoned that God could not have created air and space with nothing in it! He, with other scientists of that age, experimented and discovered radio waves of varying frequencies.

Stop and think of the ‘power’ you tap into when you pick up a mobile phone and ring any one of countless millions of people in any country in the world within a minute or two – isn’t it telling you something? Isn’t it telling you to think carefully about what the Creator can do? Yes, he can “know” the hearts of all human beings!

We live in an age of wonders, but these should and must lead to us to wonder at – and be in awe of – the Creator. as to what we human beings, that God has created, can do – so should we not be ready to think of how God wants to be involved in our thinking and doing? Remember Paul’s words to the idol worshipping people of Athens. He told them about the One true God, saying, “In Him we live and move and have our being” [Acts 17:28] Think what those words mean!

Paul told them, “that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him … he is actually not far from each one of us.” [Acts 17:27] David starts in Psalm 139 with this remarkable observation! “O LORD, you have searched me and known me … you discern my thoughts from afar.” Awesome! We ignore God at our peril. Sadly nearly everyone does – make sure you are not among them.
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Posted 13 August 2013 - 05:28 AM

13 August 2013

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

"FOR WHOEVER IS ASHAMED"

We live in a world in which most people do not want to feel ashamed of anything. Lawyers grow rich out of the efforts of some to camouflage over their failures and wrongdoing. But there can be no effective camouflage before God – so we must not be influenced by the attitudes that surround us.

We read today how Jesus had a wide audience “the crowds with his disciples” when “he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it … what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” [Mark 8:34-37]

Those who fail to put God first in their thinking will not know they have forfeited their life, that is their hope of eternal life, until – it is too late! We must not miss the vital point Jesus makes, “For whoever is ashamed of me … ” Jesus will also “be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father …”

The words of Solomon have heart searching parallels with the words of Jesus. Look at the words he used in his prayer to God as he dedicated the marvellous Temple. We read today of the ark being brought from the Tabernacle and put in “its place in the inner sanctuary of the house (Temple) in the Most Holy Place.” [1 Kings 8:6].

“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.” [1 Kings 8:22] There follows a remarkable prayer: it is far more than a prayer of praise.

What we need to note most of all are his references to the attitudes of the hearts of those praying – and God’s awareness of this. As “you listen to the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray …” [1 Kings 8:30] “forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways - for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind” [1 Kings 8:39] “… if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart” [1 Kings 8:48]

In finishing his prayer he tells the people “The LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers. May he not leave or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways …” [1 Kings 8:57-58], telling the people, “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God …” [1 Kings 8:61] Those with such a heart will never feel “ashamed” of confessing their belief and faith. Let us shine as lights in the darkness of this world and in word and deed “may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” [1 Peter 2:9]
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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:48 AM

13 August 2014

1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8

"… WHOLLY TRUE TO THE LORD"

In the end there can be no half measures in truly believing, and, as a result, having a daily relationship with our Saviour. The completion of this relationship leads us to more and more fully sense the wonder of the Creator of all things – and the unlimited nature of those "all things."

In 1st Kings today we read one of the longest chapters in the Bible: it describes the awesome glory of the Temple in which just about everything was overlaid with gold. Solomon had just completed it and we read his words of benediction. First he offers an emotional prayer to God, "that all the peoples of the earth may know your name" [1 Kings 8:43] When he finishes his prayer "he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, 'Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel …'" [1 Kings 8:56] and we ponder how even greater, far greater, must be the blessing and the joy, and the greater "rest" when, as we will read on Friday, Jesus the greatest king of all opens "the house of prayer for all nations" [Mark 11:17]

Solomon brings his benediction to a climax with a petition to the Lord "that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other" and then utters the even more significant words, "Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day." [1 Kings 8:61]

Human nature is such that the challenge to be "wholly true to the LORD" is only accomplished when we have a real living relationship with Him and his Son, and how thought provoking is our chapter in Mark in showing us how the disciples failed to be fully committed, despite constantly witnessing remarkable miracles and hearing his teaching.

Jesus said to them, "Having eyes, do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? … Do you not yet understand?" [Mark 8:18,21] And for ourselves, having eyes, do we not read, and having brains, do we not yet understand? Let us apply our God-given intellect ever more diligently to what we read and then make sure we meditate upon it. A true blessing for us - every day - only by this means will we be "wholly true to the Lord".
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- DC



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Posted 13 August 2015 - 06:53 AM

13 August 2015
 
1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8 
 
“WHOEVER IS ASHAMED … OF MY WORDS”
            
We live in the world of 2015 which has little or no time for considering there might be a God – a wondrous Creator!  Well that is certainly the case in ‘educated western’ countries. So few believe that the Creator sent his only begotten son to bring a message of salvation to the world.  Those who still believe can find few that show the slightest interest – that is certainly the case in affluent countries! Near the end of his life Peter wrote,  “scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires” [2 Peter 3:3]  Jude also wrote, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” [Jude 18] 
            
Jesus said, as we read today in the concluding verses of Mark 8,  words which challenge us to absorb their full meaning. "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me … what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
            
What an adulterous and sinful generation we live in!  But it had become like that in Jerusalem about 30 years after Jesus ascended to heaven!  James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote, probably not long before he was assassinated, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." [James 4:4] So many around him had become ashamed of the words of Jesus, their faith, if they had had any, had completed evaporated. 
            
Let us meditate on James next words, "do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? Do we appreciate this?  God knows the hearts of each one! This was shown after Jesus ascended to heaven and the disciples met to find a replacement for Judas Iscariot and could not decide between two who had followed Jesus from the beginning, but had not been counted among the twelve, so "they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen " [Acts 1:24]
            
He knows our hearts and whether we are ashamed, or become ashamed of his words and hide our lights - let us all be worthy disciples, and show we are obeying Jesus when he said, "let your light shine before others, so that they may ... give glory to your Father who is in heaven." [Matthew 5:16]
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- DC


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Posted 13 August 2016 - 10:47 AM

13 August 2016
 
1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8  
 
“FOR YOU, YOU ONLY, KNOW THE HEARTS OF ALL … MANKIND”
 
The above words are part of a prayer to God Solomon made. He is seen to be the wisest king to ever live. How can God “know the hearts of all”?  Is this an exaggeration?  
            
Now during my lifetime clever human beings have discovered the ‘magic’ of making remarkable use of the different ‘waves’ in the air that were discovered in the 19th Century.   Most scientists in those days still believed there was a Great Creator, and scientists such as Faraday reasoned that God could not have created air and space with nothing in it!    So he, among other scientists of that age, experimented and discovered radio waves of varying frequencies.  Human cleverness since then has discovered even micro waves: their discoveries are now harnessed for the benefit of the human race, think of the way this message is reaching you! It is telling us to think carefully about the unlimited powers the Creator possesses!
            
We live in an age of wonders as to what us human beings, that God has created, can do – so should we not be ready to think deeply about what God himself can do and has always done?  Surely he sees and knows all, remember Paul’s words to the idol worshipping people of Athens.   He told them about the One true God, saying, “In Him we live and move and have our being” [Acts 17:28]  Think what those words mean!  Our reading of Solomon’s long prayer at the dedication of the Temple prompted these thoughts – what in depth mediations they lead on to!! Do they for you?.  
            
Consider the full context of the words at the top. “Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know all the hearts of all the children of mankind), that they may fear you all the days that they live …” [1 Kings 8:38-40]  
            
Does God “know” your heart?  This leads us to realize the only way for our lives to have real meaning - eternally! We meditate on Paul’s words to Timothy: he is told to tell people, that they should “set their hopes … on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy … to be rich in good works …  thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” [1 Timothy 6:18-19]
            
Those who do this know that God “knows the hearts of all”  
            
Let us all realize the wonder of this – to the full – as Solomon did.
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- DC


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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:14 AM

13 August 2017
 
1 Kings 8
Jeremiah 34
Mark 8  
 
"FOR WHOEVER IS ASHAMED OF ME AND OF MY WORDS" 
 
What a challenge it is for young people growing up today in Australia and similar prosperous countries (but how do you measure prosperity?) to be bold in making it known that they believe in Jesus, except doing so among the circle of their fellow believers and friends! 
 
Even more than this, not only to declare they believe he existed 2,000 years ago, but to show how his teaching changed the way a great number of people thought and acted. In fact, his teaching, despite opposition, turned the beliefs of the ancient world upside down!
 
Now in achieving this it caused many traumatic moments that tested the faith and the convictions of those converted and cost some their lives. Let's compare this with today. The opposite conviction is flooding the world, especially that part of the world that considers itself intelligent and well informed. Those who openly declare their belief in Jesus face increasing ridicule and this makes the challenging words of Jesus we read today in Mark 8 very relevant. 
 
"For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him (or her) will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." [Mark 8:38] How challenging were Jesus' words both to the disciples and the crowd, "If anyone would come after me; let him (or her) deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man (or woman) to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" [Mark 8:34-36]
 
Most people today (in Australia at least) think this life is their only life. They try to 'save' this life as much as they can! But those who follow Jesus 'deny' themselves by turning away from the unessential things that fill the minds of those who want nothing to do with believing in Jesus. Jesus said, there are two gates, two pathways and one of them has never been more evident - and "the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many" [Matthew 7:13]. 
 
Those who enter by the narrow gate must strengthen themselves with daily reading of God's word and resultant meditation on life's true realities - for only this leads to eternal life. 
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- DC





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