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Feb 28, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 59

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.

Reflection

These chapters mark the close of the Royal Kingdom, and you are two-thirds of the way through your 90-day challenge!

As you read today, don’t miss God’s promise to King Solomon at the start of chapter 9, and the conditions attached to it.  The covenant God made with Israel through David is continuing through Solomon.

King Solomon wrote thousands of proverbs, many of which are preserved in the book of Proverbs.  Read chapters 1 and 2 of that book if you’d like to read some of his insights into the importance of wisdom.  That provides an interesting (and ironic!) backdrop to the events of these chapters.  According to Moses, Israel’s king was not to multiply horses, wives, or large amounts of silver and gold for himself.  Solomon seems not to hold stock in this command, with dire results.

Key Verse to Remember from the Period of the Royal Kingdom

“…I will make for you [David] a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth … Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house  when your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Sam 7:9, 11-13).

Today’s Reading

1 Kings 9-11

Today’s Question

What prophecy is given to Jeroboam in 11:26-43, and what hope is given for the long-term outlook of David’s dynasty and the kingdom?

Join the discussion below!

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  • The Prophet Ahijah tells Jeroboam of God’s intention to divide the Kingdom and give a large portion to Jeroboam to rule. Again, there is a promise of a lasting house (for Jeroboam) if he heeds God’s commands, walks in God’s ways, does right in God’s eyes and keeps God’s statutes and commandments. God also says he “Will humble David’s line for this, but not forever”. We see a glimpse of the promise of Christ.
    Both Solomon, with all his wisdom, and Jeroboam, with God’s promise revealed to him, find it impossible to resist the temptations of self engrandisement and the lure of other gods.
    I am struck by the relevance to our modern societies and to our individual life experience. Many of us on this course live in countries that are wealthy but self absorbed: our nations can be overly focussed on defending and bolstering our prosperity with a lack of God’s compassion for the poor of the world (and in our own countries) as well as negligence for security of future generations to live in prosperity on our planet. In my own life, I become defensive of my own comfort and I am seduced by the god’s of status, personal comfort, consumption, and many others I am not yet aware of.
    St Francis reminds us “It is in giving you receive”.

  • Proverbs 1 and 2 are indeed ironic to the events of these readings! There is but little hope for the long term outlook of David’s dynasty, but there is a slight hope left with David’s dynasty holding fast to the little that is left. Short moral of the story- continue to follow God’s commandments and charges set forth. Be strong in faith and life to ward of temptation and evils. Easier said than done when faced with the temptations all around us either many years ago or in our current day in age.

    This brings me to think of the positive power of a sustained group Church effort can have on everyone doing their best to live in the light of Christ. We cannot do it on our own. We cannot face temptation and be strong enough without the support of our fellow Catholics and people of God. God and our sacraments are always there but we need that community effort to stand strong and be examples for others, ESPECIALLY the young members of our church families. It is not easy to stand up against the modern day temptations and evils that go against our faith but we can do it together.

    • Your comment on the young members of our church family made me think of a beautiful example from our church. Every Mon. night our K of C have the Rosary & Exposition. Every Wed. night a dad, mom & daughter about 12 years old participate. It is so uplifting to hear her young voice lead us in one of the decades. You can just feel the radiation of God’s smile!

    • Probably he should have followed his own advice in Proverbs 3. There are so many Soloman’s around, people with huge egos, that look for other evils to satisfy their cravings, they turn their backs on the God who gave them everything.

    • This week one of the scripture readings I did was the story of how the disciples were unable to cast out a demon and Jesus was able to. Afterwards, they asked Jesus, Lord, why could we not cast out the demon. Jesus replied, some demons require prayer and fasting to excise them. Anyone interested in a challenge for Lent? Pray for that person, persons in your life that you just cannot get through to, love like Jesus, or you sense are full of “demons”, every day. What will be the results? Anyone want to join me????

      • I have been working on loving the ones that are least loved in my life for quite a while…it is a difficult challenge, and can get you down from time to time…might I suggest you have someone to share your journey with who is upbeat…it helps a great deal with the success of your journey.

      • You just spoke to me. I have been offering up my Lenten fast for the revertion of my sister, Rose who left the church in 1992 and created a rift in the family. We are back together as one family and i pray God to finish what he had started by bringing her back to the church.

  • The LORD keeps his promises as long as we the people obey his laws . Solomon became so famous in his neighborhood that he used his God given wisdom to win more and more foreign wives and concubines. He built places for the worship of disgusting gods. He worshipped Astarte the goddess of Sidon, Chemosh the disgusting god of the Moabites and Molech the disgusting god of Ammon.

    So the LORD decides to punish Solomon by taking away his kingdom and giving it to Jeroboam. Prophet Ahijah tore his new robe into twelve pieces symbolically representing the twelve tribes of Israel and gives them to Jeroboam. The LORD allows Solomon’s son rule one tribe to keep LORD’s covenant with David.to have a descendant of David ruling Jerusalem , the city the LORD had chosen to be worshipped.
    ,

  • Solomon became a public worshipper of abominable idols! Probably he gave way to pride and luxury, and thus lost his relish for true wisdom. Nothing forms in itself a security against the deceitfulness and depravity of the human heart. Nor will old age cure the heart of any evil propensity. If our sinful passions are not crucified and mortified by the grace of God, they never will die of themselves, but will last even when opportunities to gratify them are taken away. We see how weak we are of ourselves, without the grace of God; let us therefore live in constant dependence on that grace.

  • Liza, Jose, Mark G. and Mark all summed things up so well. I am struck by these same thoughts on today’s reflection. I am disappointed that one so wise as Solomon could give in to temptation and pride. I feel he ultimately made of himself an idol – consider that he spent 7 years building the temple, but 13 building his own house. Were I his subject, I would probably have been a bit resentful of this.
    And so the kingdom will be split, and there will be dire consequences to follow – not one king of the north, Israel, will walk in the ways of God; the south, Judah, will fare only marginally better, and only for a time.
    I was driving one day, and pondering the pure and simple faith my sister and her son, a seminarian, share. They have always had such an abundance of faith and devotion to God and it has never wavered. I was comparing myself to them, and I shot up an arrow prayer to God: Why can’t I have what they have, God? God shot the arrow of conviction right back at me; I heard Him clearly say: I have given you enough!
    I, like Solomon, have for more than I need; why be greedy, even where my relationship with God is concerned? Instead of focusing on what others have, be it true faith, false gods of material wealth, power, etc., why can I not just focus on using the riches God has provided me with to be the disciple He is calling me to be? God has, indeed, given me enough.

    • Kerry, I love this insight: I think gratitude to God is key (“our duty and our salvation”) It keeps reminding us of what God has given us and keeps us from the snares of envy and pointless consumption. I asked a similar question last year: why have I no gifts of the Holy Spirit? My reprimand was a huge reminder of all the gifts God has given me in my life! God is Good!

      With Gratitude.

    • Why do I reject the gifts God has given me. Because I didn’t ask for them and I didn’t earn them and I din’t deserve them.

      • Sounds familiar, Barbara Ann. Like me, you’ve run smack into the sliding glass door known as “grace!” For myself, when I have been able to clear the smudge off the glass, I can see clearly how to use the gifts to offer the same grace to others. Maybe when we do, we are being Christ for them and helping them to avoid the same glass door, but instead walk through it to embrace their own gifts!

        • Yup Kerry that sliding glass door is often a mirror, and we can only see our own reflection. Only when we can look beyond ourselves can we walk through that door

  • It is sad to see that even with such wonderful blessings, especially the very personal relationship Solomon had with God, how easy the slide into self can happen. As Kerry said, Solomon built a wonderful house for God, yet spent more time on his personal buildings. He was a wise ruler, yet in his personal and spiritual life he lacked discernment, he was easily distracted by women, he only made 3 communal public offerings to God and spent a lot of time and money building altars to false idols. I have but one question. Where were the priests?

    Thank God, for the blessing of spiritual guidance and discipline offered by the Church.

    • Jeanne, the explanation below may be appropriate from “Stack Exchange, Christianity” The author is unknown, here I quote. ” If we look back at the law for kings in Deuteronomy 17, It prohibits the king from multiplying horses and chariots, wives, and wealth. This is exactly what Solomon is doing in 1 Kings 10-11. Chapter ten begins by ccommending his great wisdom, but then steps through his decline – that is, he begins violating the rules for kings by multiplying gold (666 ta
      lents a year), multiplying horses and chariots, and finally multiplying wives who turn his heart away from following Yahweh. He sets up centers of false worship for all the foreign gods of his wives. So, the number 666 is associated with Solomon in his fall, his abuse of power, and his turning away from true worship of Yahweh.” End of quote.

  • Jeroboam will be given 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel to be ruler of’ God promises “If, then, you heed all that I command you, walking in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments like David my servant, I will be with you. I will build a lasting house for you, just as I did for David; I will give Israel to you. Well we have seen how hard it is for them to walk with God.
    I noticed that Solomon’s downfall is the result of two of the gifts God bestowed on Solomon, wealth and power (his pagan marriages were to gain political power) I often wonder if I have had some unwanted blessings that have not been used correctly I know God has granted me 4 so far more years of life than I expected, I have tried to use them for good but I do feel I have not been completely sucessful.

    • Barbara, as i was reading your post, i share the same feeling…not successful. Then i reflected and thought pride is going to eat my heart out if God allows me to feel that i am successful. As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta says “God has not called me to be SUCCESSFUL. He called me to be FAITHFUL”

  • Prior to reading the scriptures I asked for the. Holy Spirit to open my mind and heart to the Word of God. I just had a really tough time making sense of the readings. What I believe happen is that Solomon sinned against The Lord. Even once he knew he sinned he kept up the wrong doings and paid the consequences he knew would come to him for not abiding the law of Moses.

    Prophet Ahijah took off his new cloak, tore it into twelve pieces, and said to Jeroboam: “Take ten pieces for yourself. Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I am about to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and will give you ten of the tribes. It was after this that Solomon tried to have Jerobeam killed.

    • Solomon had it all, money, power, and access to all of the land. He was living “it up” and I think forgot that everything he had was given to him by God. He had many women and most likely wanted to please them and thereby made idols for their gods and little by little started slipping away into the wrong direction. Did he really conscientiously realize he was sinning? I don’t know as he was too busy enjoying the life and clearly was not praising God daily, if he was he probably would have noticed he was not living righteously as David had.

  • “To strengthen Jesus, an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling o the ground. Luke 22:43-44.
    Artists usually portray Luke’s account of the agony in the garden which says that Jesus is kneeling (Matthew and Mark have him flat on the ground). Also in Luke, an angel appears. The angel is God’s answer to Jesus’ prayer. And the answer is “no.” God says, “This cup can’t be taken away, but I will be with you through it all.” This is expressed by the angel at Jesus’ side “to strengthen him.” It is then that Jesus is in agony. Only Luke uses the word “agony”–the word by which we have come to characterize this whole scene. “Agony” comes from a Greek word describing the mental and physical tension athletes feel when facing a contest. They may be confident, but one can never be sure of all that will happen. So the prayer of Jesus now takes a different tone. He knows he will have to face the worst. He prays that he will be able to handle it well. And he begins to sweat profusely. My prayers are often answered the same way as Jesus’ prayer. The answer is “no”…but God says, “I’ll be with you through it all.” I’m grateful for God’s presence, of course, but what I sometimes have to face is not easy. It’s agony. This deserves a heart-to-heat talk. With Jesus. He’s been there.
    Be quiet and know that I (Jesus) am here.

  • With today’s discussion question we see another chapter in the overall tome that will destroy Israel as God intended it forever. King Solomon who asked only for wisdom from the Lord has demonstrated his weakness for women, horses, and amassed wealth. Not only that but Solomon allows himself to be misdirected into the worship of dangerous idols and pagan activities – he had left the Lord, his commandments and ordinances behind. The punishment? The northern 10 tribes of Israel are given over to Jeroboam thus limiting Solomon’s kingdom to Judah only.

    Today’s question asks us what hope is given for the long-term outlook for David’s dynasty – I am afraid I don’t see much hope in the long term as kings will continually squabble and fall further and further from God’s grace. We are looking at a truly dark time in Salvation History.

    Reading the first two chapters in Proverbs saddened me – here is a man with such wisdom and insight and someone who could have been such a strong king for Israel; however, he falls into the very traps he warns about; he allows himself to be seduced by soft-voiced women and shiny objects – King Solomon was lead astray.

    • Very disappointing and sad. Women, wealth, possessions and power are his downfall. I guess this shows how satan attacks subtly and gradually over time. He knew Solomon’s weaknesses and made sure he enticed him with an overabundance of foreign women, gifts of wealth and power. It built up Solomon’s self pride to the point of his forgetting the need for complete dependence on God alone. How the kingdom will suffer because of it.

      • Certainly, what got Solomon into trouble was his marrying of many women and thus, following their gods, leading not only himself away from the true God but the people of Israel. And throughout history, how many kings have led people astray. Such as the present ruler of North Korea who enslaves his people with his “gods” of wealth and concern for nuclear power to “lord it over all nations.” How the communist dictators ruined their people and countries too, millions killed due to such dictators as Hitler who led his people astray and into destruction as did Stalin, paranoid that his power would be taken away as too was Herod the Great during the time of Jesus Christ.

        Many “anti-Christs” in history but the future has one in particular, whom none know except God, who will eventually lead many astray, given power by the devil. The book I am referring to is St. Therese of the Little Flower’s favorite who said, “Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life.” The book is “The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life” by Father Charles Arminjon, and translated it from French by EWTN famed Susan Conroy and also Peter McEnery. You can get it from Albris which is a discount place on the internet. Also, Sophia Press sells it

        http://shop.sophiainstitute.com/End-of-the-Present-World-The-P109.aspx

        I believe that this priest says that the “Anti-Christ” will come from Israel and fool many people and work “miracles” and lead many astray. He will be a horrible abomination. Who knows when this will happen and when, and may be years down the road which God only knows. Many like to point to the end of the world and it is funny that they always say it will happen during their lifetime. History is full of this. Scripture tells us that only
        God knows.

        King Louis XIV in France lived in opulence and built Versailles. He lived from 1638-1715. King Louis IX who was Franciscan Third Order member lived from 1214 until 1270. He fed over 100 poor at his table daily. He was a good king, the patron saint of the Secular Franciscans (Third Order had over 3 million members in the world at the beginning of the 20th century; and one should look into becoming a Secular Franciscan for it is a good way to become closer to God and meet other members who help one remain faithful; the only way to know is to try it; throughout history there were many Franciscan Third Order members, kings, queens, Christopher Columbus and his men; many Indians and others in the Americas; Volta, and others). Another patron saint of the Franciscan Third Order is St. Elizabeth of Hungary who was also royalty. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord or Lords but he did not “lord” his power over mankind. As Philippians in the New Testament says, “though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God, rather he emptied himself (called “kenosis” and what is so essential for Lent where we concentrate upon doing by our penances) and took the form of a slave.” The God of the Universe who came in the Incarnation in the womb of the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary lowered himself and took on human nature even though he was divine and suffered ignominy and death, death on a cross.

        St. Elizabeth of Hungary was rich and could have had anything that she wanted too. King Solomon, unlike St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-31; Third Order Franciscan), amassed much wealth and lived in luxury and sinfulness. St. Elizabeth of Hungary who was rich discarded her rich clothes and helped the poor, feeding 900 poor daily.

        So many good rulers in history. I am thinking of another ruler, Blessed Karl von Habsburg ( “Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9). He lived from 1887-1922. “Karl I (1887-1922), Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, said goodbye when he was dying to his wife, Empress Zita. “I’ll love you forever”, he declared, just as he had eleven years earlier when they were married. Then he called his first born son Otto, to “witness how a Catholic and an Emperor conducts himself when dying.” The Emperor received the Sacrament of the Sick and spoke his last words: “Thy Holy Will be done. Jesus, Jesus, come! Yes—yes. My Jesus, Thy will be done—Jesus.”

        http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/blessed-karl-von-habsburg

        Born as the seventeenth child of the dispossessed Robert I, Duke of Parma and his second wife Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal, Zita married the then Archduke Charles (Blessed Karl of Hapsburg) of Austria in 1911. His love was boundless for his wife, the Empress Zita. he told her on their wedding day–“Now we must help each other to get to heaven.” Blessed Karl lived in the worst time in history, and by the end of the First World War more than half of his fellow countrymen had died in battle. In his brief two years of reign, Charles instituted many reforms of the army and the nation, even using imperial carriages to transport food and fuel to the poor, modeling himself after the social teachings of Pope Leo XIII.”

        https://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/a-nice-brief-bio-of-blessed-karl-von-hapsburg/

        As the Old Testament is filled with bad kings and so history in general, we must also look at the good kings and queens of history. And we must always keep our eyes on the Blessed Virgin Mary (who never points to herself in every respect and even in her Apparitions, she shows us Jesus and the Gospel), the Queen Mother of her Son, King Jesus Christ, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to gain our strength and ask for virtue. Our Lady of Fatima pray for us! Mary, our Mother, pray for us! Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, thy Kingdom Come! Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me! Jesus, I trust in you!

        • Many questions and answers about being a Secular Franciscan and what they do and how to contact them if interested. Here is a website of “Secular Franciscan Q and A”–

          http://www.rc.net/sfo/olirf/QA.htm

          One of the questions answered is–Are there any well known or famous Secular Franciscans?

          Yes there are many notable people who are and have been members of the Secular Franciscan Order. The list includes members of the clergy, royalty, members of science, authors, artists, and those of us just interested in serving the Lord.

          POPES:

          Popes Blessed Gregory X, Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, John XXIII

          CARDINALS:

          Charles Borromeo, Manning, Vaughn

          ROYALTY:

          St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain

          OTHERS:

          St. John Vianney (Le Cure D’Ars) patron saint of Diocesan Priests, St. Joan of Arc, Dante, Giotto, Raphael, Michelangelo, Christopher Columbus, St. Thomas More, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Franz Liszt, Charles Gounod, André and Marie Ampère, Louis Pasteur, John Michael Talbot, parents of St. Theresa (Little Flower), parents of St. Maximilian Kolbe, mother of St. Maria Goretti , Blessed Peter of Sienna, a comb manufacturer, Blessed LuChesio a merchant, and dock worker Matt Talbot.” And so many more not listed here.

  • It is hard for me to comprehend that Solomon with all his wisdom and obedience to Gods commands that he demonstrated in previous readings would fall away and disobey God—It is good for us to remember that anyone can fall away if they don’t continue to obey and follow G od’s instructions

  • Jeroboam was given ten tribes while tearing away the kingdom from Solomon for his turning away from the Lord. This should not have become a surprise to Solomon for God continually warned him about such happenings. Although, once Solomon was given one tribe so as to keep the promise of David alive and living he was out to put Jeroboam to death. Therefore Jeroboam fled and kept away from harms way until the death of Solomon. This cycle of God’s reminder and warning signs to us are always and everywhere yet evil is also there seeking to win over whatever falls, again and again.

    Oh, this is such a tough cyclical battle from human living when not listening and falling from God.

  • The prophet from Shiloh, long the resting-place of the Ark, supported Jeroboam, while affirming the divine choice of Jerusalem, 32, and David, 34. Jeroboam was in a position to share and exploit the resentment of the northerners under forced labor. Jerusalem lay in Benjamin, and Judah was to include also Simeon and part of Dan. The family of David would not become extinct. Jeroboam is placed on an equality with David, but with the same obligations.

  • Despite the gift of wisdom from God, it’s difficult for me to understand how King Solomon could become so blinded with glory and power. Yet, because he was David’s son, God kept his promise and did not take his kingdom entirely from his hands. Jeroboam was promised to be king because Solomon’s son will not inherit it, but as long as he kept the commandments and statutes of the Lord, God will be with him as he was with David.

  • The prophet told Jeroboam that he would be given 10 of the tribes of Israel since Solomon has forsaken the Lord for false Gods. Solomon would have one tribe for the sake of his father King David.

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