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June 23, Day 175 - Overwhelmed by the Truth


Now in 1 Kings 9:10-11:13, we read about some of Solomon’s other events and activities after he completed “the temple and his royal palace” (verse 10). He gave Hiram, king of Tyre, “twenty towns in Galilee” (verse 11), but apparently, Hiram was not pleased with the towns. “‘What kind of towns are these?’ he asked. 'And he called them the Land of Cabul'” (verses 12-13). Our biblical note says that “Cabul” sounds like the Hebrew word which means “good for nothing.” We also read that Solomon conscripted a slave labor force made up of “all the non-Israelite people left from the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusite … whom the Israelites could not exterminate” (verses 15-20). He built a special palace for the daughter of Pharaoh (verse 24). He also “built ships that sailed to Ophir to bring back 420 talents of gold” (verses 26-28). In chapter 10, we see the Queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon. She brought a “very great caravan of spices, gold, and precious stones. She talked with Solomon, who answered all her hard questions” (verse 2-3), with the result that “she was overwhelmed” (verse 5). In verses 14-29, we read about the “overwhelming” splendor of Solomon’s kingdom – “greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth” (verse 23). I always find it humorous that God’s Word reveals how Solomon imported “apes and baboons” (verse 22). Why? Perhaps for a zoo? For Solomon’s own personal study? I suspect for diverse entertainment, but it seems to me that his interest in apes and baboons indicates something notably frivolous about his kingdom – something akin to the rococo style of the early 18th century in Europe. However, one thing is clear about such royal ornamentation and exuberant abundance – it speaks of and prefigures the glorious nature of the coming millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ. His kingdom will not be outdone by anyone’s. Nothing will be frivolous, and everything will be ornate and abundant. Finally, in 1 Kings 11, we read about Solomon’s sad departure from the Lord’s commands, against which he increased his stock of horses and foreign wives. All men must realize that God has naturally created women with a certain charm, beauty, and power over them that can quickly and adversely affect their practical and spiritual judgment. There is nothing evil about this truth; anything evil that comes from it stems from man’s inability or unwillingness to understand how to respond biblically to women (cf., Proverbs 1:10-19; 31:10-31; Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 11:11; Galatians 3:28).

In Psalm 77:1-9, we read that, “when in distress, Asaph cried out to God for help; he stretched out his untiring hands, and his soul refused to be comforted” (verses 1-2). Here, Asaph “was too troubled to speak,” so he “thought about the former days – the years of long ago” – when he sang “songs in the night” (verses 5-6). Sometimes, we, too, feel like things are not going well, and at such times, we often recall better times in the past, and we think, “those were the good old days.” Evidently, Asaph’s days were so bad that he pondered the following six questions: “Will the Lord reject forever?” Will He never show His favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has His promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?” (verse 7-9). In four of the questions, he muses on eternity. Now is the time to think about eternity. As we read the rest of the chapter tomorrow, we will see that Asaph considers a different perspective. However, for now, we should be thankful how God understands that we have times and experiences that completely puzzle and distress us, but we should remember that He makes provisions for us to seek Him and throw ourselves on His mercy! God wants us to take our troubles to Him!


Coming to Acts 15:1-21, we see that “some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching that the brothers should be circumcised” (verse 1), and “this brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them” (verse 2). Thus, Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem to address this question “to the apostles and elders” (verse 2) – otherwise known as the Council at Jerusalem. Here, we read that it was the Pharisees who were demanding that the Gentiles be circumcised (verse 5). “Peter got up and addressed” the pharisaical Jews who falsely insisted on adding this historically Jewish, legal rite as a necessity for salvation. Peter rebuked them by stating that God approved the Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, too” (verse 8). These Pharisees were guilty of complicating what God has made simple - putting on the Gentiles a “yoke” that even the Jews themselves were “unable to bear” (verse 10). How could the Gentiles legally be expected to keep what the Jews themselves could not keep? To Peter’s testimony, Paul and Barnabas added their own personal experiences of the “miraculous signs and wonders that God had done among the Gentiles through them” (verse 12). Then James, citing Isaiah 45:21, continued by saying that “the words of the prophets are in agreement” (verses 15-18). The council decided to write letters to these Gentiles and admonish them that “it should not be difficult for the Gentiles to turn to God” (verses 19-21).

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