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18 October - 2 Chronicles 9; Ezekiel 44; John 11


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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:05 AM

First Portion

2 Chronicles 9


9:1 When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train, and camels that bore spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she had come to Solomon, she talked with him of all that was in her heart. 9:2 Solomon told her all her questions; and there was not anything hidden from Solomon which he didn’t tell her. 9:3 When the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 9:4 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their clothing, his cup bearers also, and their clothing, and his ascent by which he went up to the house of Yahweh; there was no more spirit in her.

9:5 She said to the king, “It was a true report that I heard in my own land of your acts, and of your wisdom. 9:6 However I didn’t believe their words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it; and behold, the half of the greatness of your wisdom was not told me: you exceed the fame that I heard. 9:7 Happy are your men, and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you, and hear your wisdom. 9:8 Blessed be Yahweh your God, who delighted in you, to set you on his throne, to be king for Yahweh your God: because your God loved Israel, to establish them forever, therefore made he you king over them, to do justice and righteousness.”

9:9 She gave the king one hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices in great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. 9:10 The servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones. 9:11 The king made of the algum trees terraces for the house of Yahweh, and for the king’s house, and harps and stringed instruments for the singers: and there were none like these seen before in the land of Judah. 9:12 King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatever she asked, besides that which she had brought to the king. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. 9:13 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold, 9:14 besides that which the traders and merchants brought: and all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon. 9:15 King Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one buckler. 9:16 He made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 9:17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold. 9:18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays. 9:19 Twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other on the six steps: there was nothing like it made in any kingdom. 9:20 All king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: silver was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 9:21 For the king had ships that went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram; once every three years came the ships of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 9:22 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. 9:23 All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 9:24 They brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and clothing, armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. 9:25 Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he stationed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 9:26 He ruled over all the kings from the River even to the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt. 9:27 The king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and he made cedars to be as the sycamore trees that are in the lowland, for abundance. 9:28 They brought horses for Solomon out of Egypt, and out of all lands. 9:29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, aren’t they written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? 9:30 Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 9:31 Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:06 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 44


44:1 Then he brought me back by the way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which looks toward the east; and it was shut. 44:2 Yahweh said to me, This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, neither shall any man enter in by it; for Yahweh, the God of Israel, has entered in by it; therefore it shall be shut. 44:3 As for the prince, he shall sit therein as prince to eat bread before Yahweh; he shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate, and shall go out by the way of the same. 44:4 Then he brought me by the way of the north gate before the house; and I looked, and behold, the glory of Yahweh filled the house of Yahweh: and I fell on my face. 44:5 Yahweh said to me, Son of man, mark well, and see with your eyes, and hear with your ears all that I tell you concerning all the ordinances of the house of Yahweh, and all its laws; and mark well the entrance of the house, with every exit of the sanctuary. 44:6 You shall tell the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yahweh: you house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 44:7 in that you have brought in foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to profane it, even my house, when you offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant, to add to all your abominations. 44:8 You have not performed the duty of my holy things; but you have set performers of my duty in my sanctuary for yourselves. 44:9 Thus says the Lord Yahweh, No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any foreigners who are among the children of Israel. 44:10 But the Levites who went far from me, when Israel went astray, who went astray from me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. 44:11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having oversight at the gates of the house, and ministering in the house: they shall kill the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. 44:12 Because they ministered to them before their idols, and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel; therefore have I lifted up my hand against them, says the Lord Yahweh, and they shall bear their iniquity. 44:13 They shall not come near to me, to execute the office of priest to me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 44:14 Yet will I make them performers of the duty of the house, for all its service, and for all that shall be done therein. 44:15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who performed the duty of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister to me; and they shall stand before me to offer to me the fat and the blood, says the Lord Yahweh: 44:16 they shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister to me, and they shall keep my instruction. 44:17 It shall be that, when they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments; and no wool shall come on them, while they minister in the gates of the inner court, and within. 44:18 They shall have linen tires on their heads, and shall have linen breeches on their waists; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat. 44:19 When they go forth into the outer court, even into the outer court to the people, they shall put off their garments in which they minister, and lay them in the holy rooms; and they shall put on other garments, that they not sanctify the people with their garments. 44:20 Neither shall they shave their heads, nor allow their locks to grow long; they shall only cut off the hair of their heads. 44:21 Neither shall any of the priests drink wine, when they enter into the inner court. 44:22 Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her who is put away; but they shall take virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 44:23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. 44:24 In a controversy they shall stand to judge; according to my ordinances shall they judge it: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all my appointed feasts; and they shall make my Sabbaths holy. 44:25 They shall go in to no dead person to defile themselves; but for father, or for mother, or for son, or for daughter, for brother, or for sister who has had no husband, they may defile themselves. 44:26 After he is cleansed, they shall reckon to him seven days. 44:27 In the day that he goes into the sanctuary, into the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin offering, says the Lord Yahweh. 44:28 They shall have an inheritance: I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in Israel; I am their possession. 44:29 They shall eat the meal offering, and the sin offering, and the trespass offering; and every devoted thing in Israel shall be theirs. 44:30 The first of all the first fruits of every thing, and every offering of everything, of all your offerings, shall be for the priest: you shall also give to the priests the first of your dough, to cause a blessing to rest on your house. 44:31 The priests shall not eat of anything that dies of itself, or is torn, whether it be bird or animal.

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:08 AM

Third Portion

John 11


11:1 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. 11:2 It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick. 11:3 The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.” 11:4 But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.” 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 11:6 When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was. 11:7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”

11:8 The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”

11:9 Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 11:10 But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.” 11:11 He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”

11:12 The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”

11:13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep. 11:14 So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead. 11:15 I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”

11:16 Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”

11:17 So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already. 11:18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away. 11:19 Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. 11:20 Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house. 11:21 Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. 11:22 Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” 11:23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

11:24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. 11:26 Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

11:27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”

11:28 When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”

11:29 When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him. 11:30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him. 11:31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.” 11:32 Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 11:34 and said, “Where have you laid him?”

They told him, “Lord, come and see.”

11:35 Jesus wept.

11:36 The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!” 11:37 Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”

11:38 Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 11:39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”

Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”

11:40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”

11:41 So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 11:42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” 11:43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

11:44 He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth.

Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.”

11:45 Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. 11:46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done. 11:47 The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, “What are we doing? For this man does many signs. 11:48 If we leave him alone like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

11:49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 11:50 nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 11:51 Now he didn’t say this of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 11:52 and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 11:53 So from that day forward they took counsel that they might put him to death. 11:54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews, but departed from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim. He stayed there with his disciples.

11:55 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand. Many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. 11:56 Then they sought for Jesus and spoke one with another, as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that he isn’t coming to the feast at all?” 11:57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had commanded that if anyone knew where he was, he should report it, that they might seize him.

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 11:31 AM

18 October 2008

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

18 October 2009

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:59 AM

18 October 2010

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

"THIS SHALL BE THEIR INHERITANCE"

Ears prick up where there is thought of an inheritance. Solomon had very great wealth, as we read today (2 Chronicles 9). He obviously left a very great inheritance. But we will read tomorrow how it largely came to nothing because of the foolishness of his son because he did not seeking the wisdom of God, as his father had done, to wisely rule the nation in service before God.

In Ezekiel we are reading the vision of a great temple God gave the prophet. He gave him intricate details about this temple. It is most interesting to note how long it was that the prophet had to wait to receive this vision. Taken into captivity 11 years before Jerusalem was destroyed he had spent that period in warning the exiles that their hopes to return from exile were futile. Why? The spiritual immorality in Jerusalem was only getting worse. The leaders there were abusing the use of the temple Solomon had built. They had totally lost lost the vision of the true God.

In Ezekiel 33:21 we read how they receive the tragic news of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The next date we have is at the beginning of Ezekiel 40 when we learn that over 13 years more have now passed since the tragedy of Jerusalem’s destruction. Probably in this period he received the messages about the future recorded up to the end of Ezekiel 39. Now, “in visions of God [Ezekiel 40:2] he brought me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain” and is told “set your heart on all that I shall show you … declare all that you see to the house of Israel” [Ezekiel 40:4].

This vision of a future glorious temple was written down in great detail to inspire these exiles; a vision to give them purpose to overcome their sense of hopelessness. However, what struck us as we read today’s chapter [Ezekiel 44] was the blessing on the priests “the sons of Zadok” who had not gone astray, but “who kept the charge of my sanctuary” [Ezekiel 44:15]. Note the words carefully, “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance … I am their possession” [Ezekiel 44:28] is what God says. That is the ultimate inheritance, not gold or silver, but to belong to God, to “be equal unto the angels”, [Luke 20:36] to be part of God “that God may be all and in all” [1 Corinthians 15:28] What inheritance are you interested in?
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Posted 18 October 2011 - 04:56 AM

18 October 2011

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

"IT IS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD"

Flowing on from yesterday’s thoughts we reflected further on the things which display God’s glory – including the ways in which we should seek to do this. We read previously the words of Solomon and the glory that came to him because of his attitude and service to God. Today [2 Chronicles 9] there is the account of the Queen of Sheba being overwhelmed by the magnificent glory she witnessed in Jerusalem.

We noted, as we know some others have, that each year Solomon received “666 talents of gold” [2 Chronicles 9:13]. The only other place in Scripture that refers to 666 tells us it is “the number of the beast.” [Revelation 13:18]!! Gold, as the most valuable currency in the world, corrupts those who worship it instead of God [Matthew 6:24] and at the end of his life [1 Kings 11:4] Solomon’s heart was “turned away”. God had tested him by the abundance of the things he gave him! Many of us live among relative “abundance” – we must be aware how this is testing us.

In Ezekiel’s vision of the future Temple [Ezekiel 44] he says, “I looked, and behold the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. And I fell on my face” [Ezekiel 44:4]. We meditated on the overwhelming sense of awe at this vision – of seeing the actual evidence of God’s presence! We must soberly meditate on that familiar text about those who “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” [Luke 21:27]

Now notice the words in today’s reading in John’s Gospel, a lot of food for thought here! Jesus comes to Bethany to the grieving sisters, their beloved brother Lazarus had been dead four days. As they travelled to Bethany Jesus told his disciples, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son God may be glorified through it.” [John 11:4]

Outside his burial place, all are weeping and even “Jesus wept” [John 11:35]. He was totally tuned in to their emotion, the power of the Spirit to know all thoughts as well as hear all words must, on many occasions, be an overwhelming experience. He says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God!” [John 11:40]

What did they see? Some saw, only to run and tell the Pharisees [John 11:46]. Others saw – and believed! [John 11:45] Today we see and know more of the absolute marvels in nature! Less and less are these seen as the glory of God’s creative handiwork? Paul told the Corinthians to, “do all to the glory of God” [1 Corinthians 10:31]. The small things matter just as much.
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Posted 18 October 2012 - 04:39 AM

18 October 2012

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

"SET YOUR HEART ON ALL I SHALL SHOW YOU"

Ears prick up where there is thought of an inheritance. Solomon had very great wealth, as we read today (2 Chronicles 9). He obviously left a very great inheritance. But we will read tomorrow how it largely came to nothing because of the foolishness of his son because he did not seeking the wisdom of God, as his father had done, to wisely rule the nation in service before God.

In Ezekiel we are reading the vision of a great temple God gave the prophet. He gave him intricate details about this temple. It is most interesting to note how long it was that the prophet had to wait to receive this vision. Taken into captivity 11 years before Jerusalem was destroyed he had spent that period in warning the exiles that their hopes to return from exile were futile. Why? The spiritual immorality in Jerusalem was only getting worse. The leaders there were abusing the use of the temple Solomon had built. They had totally lost the vision of the true God.

In Ezekiel 33:21 we read how they receive the tragic news of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

The next date we have is at the beginning of Ezekiel 40 when we learn that over 13 years more have now passed since the tragedy of Jerusalem’s destruction. Probably in this period he received the messages about the future recorded up to the end of Ezekiel 39. Now, “in visions of God [Ezekiel 40:2] he brought me to the land of Israel and set me down on a very high mountain” and is told “set your heart on all that I shall show you … declare all that you see to the house of Israel” [Ezekiel 40:4].

This vision of a future glorious temple was written down in great detail to inspire these exiles; a vision to give them purpose to overcome their sense of hopelessness. However, what struck us as we read today’s chapter [Ezekiel 44] was the blessing on the priests “the sons of Zadok” who had not gone astray, but “who kept the charge of my sanctuary” [Ezekiel 44:15]. Note the words carefully, “This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance … I am their possession” [Ezekiel 44:28] is what God says. That is the ultimate inheritance, not gold or silver, but to belong to God, to “be equal unto the angels”, [Luke 20:36] to be part of God “that God may be all and in all” [1 Corinthians 15:28] What inheritance are you interested in?
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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:32 AM

18 October 2013

2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11

"SO THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE"

What do you believe? Equally important, if not more so ­ is ­ Why do you believe what you claim to believe? We have searched our hearts in times past to give a genuine answer to this question ourselves.

Our asking of this question was prompted by what we read today in John 11. Jesus was conversing with his disciples and when he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep” [John 11:11] they did not realize that he meant he had died, “they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.” [John 11:15]

The account of the drama of Lazarus coming out of the tomb “his hands and his feet bound with linen straps, and his face wrapped with a cloth” [John 11:44] was surely an overwhelming experience for those privileged to witness it? This happened “so that you may (really) believe,” said Jesus; that is, have the certainty of complete conviction in your hearts.

We believe in the return of Jesus ­ that this is the only hope for an increasingly discordant, chaotic and troubled world. The troubles vary depending on where you live. Many troubles are man-made, others are earthquakes, huge forest fires and the like. Do we possess such total conviction in our hearts that we will it not be shaken when this world starts to become torn apart in the time Daniel was told about? It is the time immediately preceding the resurrection. He was told” there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” [Daniel 12:1] Jesus also predicts this, see Matthew 24:21-27.

Is our conviction of belief such that it is creating in us complete confidence and sureness of mind? At the end of that marvellous chapter about the sureness of the resurrection [1 Corinthians 15], Paul tells them, “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.” [1 Corinthians 15:58]

Our personal experience is that the more we abound in the work of the Lord the stronger becomes our sureness of belief.
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Posted 18 October 2014 - 12:05 PM

18 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11  
 
“666 TALENTS OF GOLD”
            
We read 3 remarkable chapters today, all had different but meaningful lessons.  Ezekiel has a vision of the future Temple in action and the holiness of those who enter and minister there.  John records the heart-warming but challenging account of the raising of Lazarus after being dead for 4 days – and such is the stubbornness and blindness of human nature that the news of this makes the religious leaders even more determined to put him to death. And in 2 Chronicles 9 we read of the visit of the Queen of Sheba to see the glory surrounding Solomon and to hear his wisdom.
 
The Queen brings him many presents. She sees him surrounded by golden objects and gives him even more! The record says that “the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold”   [2 Chronicles 9:13]. It has always intrigued us that this is the only place the number 666 occurs apart from in Revelation where it is “the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” [Revelation 13:18] and “that no one can buy or sell unless he has … the number of his name.” [Revelation 13:17]
 
This has caused many speculative interpretations over the years but the simple fact from the divine perspective is, as Jesus bluntly put it, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." [Matthew 6:24]  There are just two options in life, there is no middle path, money gives power; the Pharisees were "lovers of money" [Luke 16:14] The great majority in our world love money and the 'blessings' (?) in can bring to their lives.  Solomon was, in the end [1 Kings 11], destroyed by the blessings it brought after beginning so well.
 
Jesus taught the principle "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." [Luke 12:48] Whether we have been given or acquired much or little, let us make sure we effectively serve our Lord with the talents we have.
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Posted 18 October 2015 - 05:37 AM

18 October 2015
 
2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11  
 
"IT IS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD"                                                                                                            
         
Today we reflected on the things which display God’s glory – including the ways in which we should seek to do this.  We read previously the words of Solomon and the glory that came to him because of his attitude and service to God. Today in 2 Chronicles 9 there is the account of the Queen of Sheba being overwhelmed by the magnificent glory she witnessed in Jerusalem.   
            
We noted, as we know some others have, that each year Solomon received “666 talents of gold” [2 Chronicles 9:13]. The only other place in Scripture that refers to ‘666’ tells us it is “the number of the beast.” [Revelation 13:18]! 
            
Gold, as the most valuable currency in the world, corrupts those who worship it instead of God [Matthew 6:24] and at the end of his life [1 Kings 11:4] Solomon’s heart was “turned away”.  God had tested him by the abundance of the things he gave him!  Many of us live among relative “abundance” today – we must be aware how this is testing us.
            
In Ezekiel’s vision of the future Temple [Ezekiel 44] he says, “I looked, and behold the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. And I fell on my face” [Ezekiel 44:4].  We meditated on the overwhelming sense of awe at this vision – of seeing the actual evidence of God’s presence! We must soberly meditate on that familiar text about those who “will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” [Luke 21:27]
            
In today’s reading in John’s Gospel, there is a abundance of ‘food’ for similar thoughts!  Jesus comes to Bethany to the grieving sisters, their beloved brother Lazarus had been dead four days. As they travelled to Bethany Jesus told his disciples, “This illness does not lead to death.  It is for the glory of God, so that the Son God may be glorified through it.” [John 11:4]  Outside the burial place of Lazarus, all are weeping and even “Jesus wept” [John 11:35].  He was totally tuned in to their emotions, the power of the Spirit to know all thoughts as well as hear all words must, on many occasions, be an overwhelming experience.  
             
Jesus says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God!” [John 11:40] What did they see? 
            
Some saw this wondrous event, only to run and tell the Pharisees [John 11:46]! Others saw – and believed! [John 11:45] Today we see and know more of the absolute marvels in nature!  Less and less do people see these as the glory of God’s creative handiwork?  Paul told the Corinthians to, “do all to the glory of God” [1 Corinthians 10:31].  Let us follow his exhortation to them – and the small things matter just as much, if not more, than Solomon’s glory.
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- DC


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Posted 18 October 2016 - 12:32 PM

18 October 2016
 
2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11  
 
“… IF YOU BELIEVED, YOU WOULD SEE …”
 
Our first reading [2 Chronicles 9] is about the visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon; she felt the need to check out on the reports she had heard about, his “fame” was his glory to be “believed?” [2 Chronicles 9:1]. When she sees it, she declares, “behold, half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me” [2 Chronicles 9:6] In reading the description we can see this as a small foretaste of the glories that will be seen in Christ’s kingdom.
 
Then in Ezekiel we read his vision of the future Temple. The prophet “looked, and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. And I fell on my face” [Ezekiel 44:4]. Again, a ‘picture’ of seeing glory: the glory to come – overwhelming glory.
 
Our reading in John 11, however, causes us to consider what things amount to ‘’spiritual’ glory? It is so different to what is seen as glory today! What a contrast between God’s glory and mans! And what is God’s glory?
 
We read in John 11 of Jesus coming to Bethany, which it seems, he had often visited. He had received a message, “he whom you love is ill.” Jesus had a special relationship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, who lived there. But Lazarus had been ill and had died before Jesus arrived. He had been in the tomb for 4 days, and his sister Mary when she “saw him … fell at his feet, saying … "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." [John 11:32]
 
Jesus asks, “"Where have you laid him?" [John 11:34]. They come to the tomb and “Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha questions this, "Lord, by this time there will be an odour, for he has been dead four days." [John 11:39] How awesome is his response, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" [John 11:40]
 
This causes us to ponder the awesome nature of things that give glory to God! At the start of the chapter, when Jesus first heard of Lazarus being ill, Jesus said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." [John 11:4]
 
Do we really believe? Do we show this by the way we talk and live? If we do, then, in our humble way, in this godless world, we will be giving glory to God. And what glory is soon to come – for God – in the wonder of the resurrection at his Son’s return! How soon now!
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- DC


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Posted 22 October 2017 - 12:55 AM

18 October 2017
 
2 Chronicles 9
Ezekiel 44
John 11
 
"SO THAT YOU MAY BELIEVE"
 
What do you believe? Equally important, if not more so – is – Why do you believe what you claim to believe? We have searched our hearts in times past to give a genuine answer to this question ourselves.
 
Our asking of this question was prompted by what we read today in John 11. Jesus was conversing with his disciples and when he told them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep" [John 11:11] they did not realize that he meant he had died, "they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, 'Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.'" [John 11:15]
 
The account of the drama of Lazarus coming out of the tomb "his hands and his feet bound with linen straps, and his face wrapped with a cloth" [John 11:44] was surely an overwhelming experience for those privileged to witness it? This happened "so that you may (really) believe," said Jesus; that is, have the certainty of complete conviction in your hearts.
 
We believe in the return of Jesus – that this is the only hope for an increasingly discordant, chaotic and troubled world. The troubles vary depending on where you live. Many troubles are man-made, others are earthquakes, huge forest fires and the like. Do we possess such total conviction in our hearts that we will it not be shaken when this world starts to become torn apart in the time Daniel was told about? It is the time immediately preceding the resurrection. He was told "there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time" [Daniel 12:1].  
 
Jesus also predicted this, see Matthew 24:21-27.
 
Is our conviction of belief such that it is creating in us complete confidence and sureness of mind? At the end of that marvellous chapter about the sureness of the resurrection [1 Corinthians 15], Paul tells them, "be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain." Our personal experience is that the more we abound in the work of the Lord the stronger becomes our sureness of belief. 
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- DC





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