September 4 - John 10.22-42, 2 Chronicles 9 and Psalm 74

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Jesus Is Rejected

John 10 22It was winter, and the Festival of the Dedication of the Temple was being celebrated in Jerusalem. 23Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the Temple, 24when the people gathered around him and asked, "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? Tell us the plain truth: are you the Messiah?"
25Jesus answered, "I have already told you, but you would not believe me. The deeds I do by my Father's authority speak on my behalf; 26but you will not believe, for you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me. 29What my Father has given me is greater than everything, and no one can snatch them away from the Father's care. 30The Father and I are one."
31Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him. 32Jesus said to them, "I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?"
33They answered, "We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!"
34Jesus answered, "It is written in your own Law that God said, 'You are gods.' 35We know that what the scripture says is true forever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his message was given. 36As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? 37Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. 38But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father."
39Once more they tried to seize Jesus, but he slipped out of their hands.
40Jesus then went back again across the Jordan River to the place where John had been baptizing, and he stayed there. 41Many people came to him. "John performed no miracles," they said, "but everything he said about this man was true." 42And many people there believed in him.

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba
(1 Kings 10.1-13)

2 Chronicles 9 The queen of Sheba heard of King Solomon's fame, and she traveled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. 2He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain. 3The queen of Sheba heard Solomon's wisdom and saw the palace he had built. 4She saw the food that was served at his table, the living quarters for his officials, the organization of his palace staff and the uniforms they wore, the clothing of the servants who waited on him at feasts, and the sacrifices he offered in the Temple. It left her breathless and amazed.
5She said to the king, "What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom is true! 6I did not believe what they told me until I came and saw for myself. I had not heard of even half your wisdom. You are even wiser than people say. 7How fortunate are those who serve you, who are always in your presence and are privileged to hear your wise sayings! 8Praise the LORD your God! He has shown how pleased he is with you by making you king, to rule in his name. Because he loves his people Israel and wants to preserve them forever, he has made you their king so that you can maintain law and justice."
9She presented to King Solomon the gifts she had brought: almost five tons of gold and a very large amount of spices and jewels. There have never been any other spices as fine as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
( 10 The sailors of King Hiram and of King Solomon who brought gold from Ophir also brought juniper wood and jewels. 11Solomon used the wood to make stairs for the Temple and for his palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like that had ever been seen before in the land of Judah.)
12King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for. This was in addition to what he gave her in exchange for the gifts she brought to him. Then she and her attendants returned to the land of Sheba.

King Solomon's Wealth
(1 Kings 10.14-25)

13Every year King Solomon received over twenty-five tons of gold, 14in addition to the taxes paid by the traders and merchants. The kings of Arabia and the governors of the Israelite districts also brought him silver and gold. 15Solomon made two hundred large shields, each of which was covered with about fifteen pounds of beaten gold, 16and three hundred smaller shields, each covered with about eight pounds of beaten gold. He had them all placed in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.
17The king also had a large throne made. Part of it was covered with ivory and the rest of it was covered with pure gold. 18Six steps led up to the throne, and there was a footstool attached to it, covered with gold. There were arms on each side of the throne, and the figure of a lion stood at each side. 19Twelve figures of lions were on the steps, one at either end of each step. No throne like this had ever existed in any other kingdom.
20All of King Solomon's drinking cups were made of gold, and all the utensils in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. Silver was not considered valuable in Solomon's day. 21He had a fleet of ocean-going ships sailing with King Hiram's fleet. Every three years his fleet would return, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
22King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king in the world. 23They all consulted him, to hear the wisdom that God had given him. 24Each of them brought Solomon gifts--articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year.
25King Solomon also had four thousand stalls for his chariots and horses, and had twelve thousand cavalry horses. Some of them he kept in Jerusalem and the rest he stationed in various other cities. 26He was supreme ruler of all the kings in the territory from the Euphrates River to Philistia and the Egyptian border. 27During his reign silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar was as plentiful as ordinary sycamore in the foothills of Judah. 28Solomon imported horses from Musri and from every other country.

Summary of Solomon's Reign
(1 Kings 11.41-43)

29The rest of the history of Solomon from beginning to end is recorded in The History of Nathan the Prophet, in The Prophecy of Ahijah of Shiloh, and in The Visions of Iddo the Prophet, which also deal with the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel. 30Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31He died and was buried in David's City, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

A Prayer for National Deliverance

Psalm 74 Why have you abandoned us like this, O God?
Will you be angry with your own people forever?
2Remember your people, whom you chose for yourself long ago,
whom you brought out of slavery to be your own tribe.
Remember Mount Zion, where once you lived.
3Walk over these total ruins;
our enemies have destroyed everything in the Temple.

4Your enemies have shouted in triumph in your Temple;
they have placed their flags there as signs of victory.
5They looked like woodsmen
cutting down trees with their axes.
6They smashed all the wooden panels
with their axes and sledge hammers.
7They wrecked your Temple and set it on fire;
they desecrated the place where you are worshiped.
8They wanted to crush us completely;
they burned down every holy place in the land.

9All our sacred symbols are gone;
there are no prophets left,
and no one knows how long this will last.
10How long, O God, will our enemies laugh at you?
Will they insult your name forever?
11Why have you refused to help us?
Why do you keep your hands behind you?

12But you have been our king from the beginning, O God;
you have saved us many times.
13With your mighty strength you divided the sea
and smashed the heads of the sea monsters;
14you crushed the heads of the monster Leviathan
and fed his body to desert animals.
15You made springs and fountains flow;
you dried up large rivers.
16You created the day and the night;
you set the sun and the moon in their places;
17you set the limits of the earth;
you made summer and winter.

18But remember, O LORD, that your enemies laugh at you,
that they are godless and despise you.
19Don't abandon your helpless people to their cruel enemies;
don't forget your persecuted people!

20Remember the covenant you made with us.
There is violence in every dark corner of the land.
21Don't let the oppressed be put to shame;
let those poor and needy people praise you.

22Rouse yourself, God, and defend your cause!
Remember that godless people laugh at you all day long.
23Don't forget the angry shouts of your enemies,
the continuous noise made by your foes.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Today's English Version, Second Edition copyright © American Bible Society, 1992;
Old Testament copyright © American Bible Society, 1976, 1992; New Testament © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

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