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CATHOLIC WOMENS DEV SCFeaturing Daily Mediations by Women and a Reading Plan Tied to the Lectionary
ZondervanCopyright © 2000 Zondervan
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Chapter One2 Chronicles
Second Chronicles begins by focusing on Solomon's work of building a magnificent temple in Jerusalem. After describing Israel's division into northern and southern kingdoms following the death of Solomon, the Chronicler virtually ignores the history of the northern kings in order to focus on the kings of Judah, judging the merit of their reigns only by whether they supported the temple and its worship. By so doing, he treated the northern kingdom of Israel as schismatic and emphasized the importance of the Davidic line, ruling from Judah, with Jerusalem as the center of worship for all Jews.
The last chapter quickly describes the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of Solomon's temple, and the exile of the Jews to Babylon and then ends with Cyrus, the king of Persia, making provision for the Jews to return to Jerusalem (538 B.C.) in order to rebuild the temple that was destroyed.
Centuries later, we are reminded that the liturgy of worship, so painstakingly described in Chronicles, foreshadowed the liturgy of the Eucharist that is the heart of our worship today.
Solomon Requests Wisdom
1 Solomon son of David established himself in his kingdom; the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.
2 Solomon summoned all Israel, the commanders of the thousands and of the hundreds, the judges, and all the leaders of all Israel, the heads of families. 3 Then Solomon, and the whole assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for God's tent of meeting, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness, was there. 4 (But David had brought the ark of God up from Kiriathjearim to the place that David had prepared for it; for he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.) 5 Moreover the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, had made, was there in front of the tabernacle of the Lord. And Solomon and the assembly inquired at it. 6 Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the Lord, which was at the tent of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.
7 That night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, "Ask what I should give you." 8 Solomon said to God, "You have shown great and steadfast love to my father David, and have made me succeed him as king. 9 O Lord God, let your promise to my father David now be fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of yours?" 11 God answered Solomon, "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may rule my people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like." 13 So Solomon came from a the high place at Gibeon, from the tent of meeting, to Jerusalem. And he reigned over Israel.
Scripture Reading for Today:
2 Chronicles 1.7-12
Verse for Today:
2 Chronicles 1.10
Gift of Wisdom
In the epistle of James (1.5) we are told to pray for wisdom. "If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you."
I had prayed for the gift of wisdom since I was seven years old, at the time of my confirmation, right through to that day, and I found I had no wisdom. So, I began consciously to pray for wisdom, still not understanding what it was.
One day, I was at work helping a patient prepare for her examination by the doctor. She was relating to me all her different problems. As we talked, I tried to point out to her certain things about her concerns. At the end of the conversation, when she was ready for the doctor, I said to her, "Okay. God bless you." And she said to me, "Thank you, Mrs. Bleasdell, for all the wisdom you have shared."
I said, "Wisdom? I don't know that I gave you any wisdom. In fact, I'm always praying for wisdom, but I am not sure that I have any." She said, "I would have you know that in the last twenty minutes when you spoke to me, all I heard was wisdom."
I left the room laughing, but perplexed. As I got outside the room, I said to the Lord, "Jesus, I've prayed so much for wisdom, and I don't know that I have it. But she said that all she heard was wisdom."
Immediately, in my spirit, I heard the Lord come right back:
"Wisdom? I am Wisdom! Wisdom is not something that you acquire and carry around on your back in a knapsack. No, I am the source of all wisdom, and when you are in me and I am in you, I release it to you moment by moment as you need it. I give you my wisdom so you may be able to deal with things wisely." -BABSIE BLEASDELL
Her Name Means "Storm," "Arrogance," "Broad," or "Spacious"
Read Joshua 2.1-21; 6.17-25
Jericho may be the world's oldest city. Established nearly six thousand years before Miriam and Moses completed their desert wanderings, its ancient ruins can be found just 17 miles northeast of Jerusalem. Gateway to Canaan, it was also the home of a prostitute named Rahab, whose house nestled snugly into its thick surrounding walls.
As well as entertaining locals, Rahab welcomed guests from various caravans whose routes crisscrossed Jericho. Men from all over the East brought news of a swarm of people encamped east of the Jordan River. Rahab heard marvelous stories about the exploits of their God: How he had dried up the Red Sea so they could escape their Egyptian slave masters; how he had trained and toughened the Israelites for 40 years in the desert.
Before long, two Israelite spies made their way to Rahab's house, where she hid them beneath stalks of flax drying on the roof. Later, when she received a message from the king of Jericho, inquiring about the spies, Rahab lied in order to save them: "True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them" (2.4-5).
As soon as the king's men left, she hurried to the roof, warning her guests: "I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you ... The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death" (2.9, 11-13).
Quickly, the two men handed her a scarlet cord, instructing Rahab to tie it in the window on the side of the house built into the city wall. Their people, they promised, would see it and spare everyone inside. With that they slipped out the window and scrambled down the city walls.
Later, Rahab watched from her window as the Israelites gathered around the city. Her eyes followed the curious scene: Seven priests were carrying an ark, followed by thousands of men, and they all were marching around the city walls. The spectacle repeated itself for the next five days. Then, as the sun rose on the seventh day, she watched as they marched several times around Jericho. As they completed their seventh turn, Rahab heard the ram's horn and a thunderous cry of voices. Suddenly the city walls collapsed. The invading army killed everyone inside, sparing only Rahab and her family.
A prostitute and a foreigner, Rahab is the only woman singled out by name and commended for her faith as part of the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in the book of Hebrews. Her own people destroyed, Rahab left everything behind and joined the Israelites, eventually becoming an ancestor of King David and one of Jesus' ancestors as well.
SUNDAY Praying With Rahab
"I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that dread of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt in fear before you ... The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death."-Joshua 2.9, 11-13
Praise God: For giving women key roles in his plan of salvation.
Offer Thanks: That no one, including yourself, is beyond the reach of grace.
Confess: Your unwillingness to take risks in order to follow God.
Ask God: To increase your awe of him.
Lift Your Heart
The scarlet cord that saved Rahab and her family reminds us of the red blood of Jesus, who still saves us today, and of Isaiah's words, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow" (Isaiah 1.18). This week, use a small red ribbon as a bookmark or tie a scarlet ribbon around the pot of a favorite plant to remind yourself of the vital importance of living by faith. Each time you notice your scarlet cord, let it remind you of the lengths Jesus went to in order to save you. Your life and the vitality of your relationship with God depend on faith.
Father, I praise you for the wonderful and unexpected ways you have acted in my life. Let the knowledge of your faithfulness increase my courage to take the risks that faith demands.
17 Have mercy, O Lord, on the people called by your name, on Israel, whom you have named your firstborn, 18 Have pity on the city of your sanctuary, Jerusalem, the place of your dwelling. 19 Fill Zion with your majesty, and your temple with your glory. 20 Bear witness to those whom you created in the beginning, and fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name. 21 Reward those who wait for you and let your prophets be found trustworthy. 22 Hear, O Lord, the prayer of your servants, according to your goodwill toward your people, and all who are on the earth will know that you are the Lord, the God of the ages.
23 The stomach will take any food, yet one food is better than another. 24 As the palate tastes the kinds of game, so an intelligent mind detects false words. 25 A perverse mind will cause grief, but a person with experience will pay him back. 26 A woman will accept any man as a husband, but one girl is preferable to another. 27 A woman's beauty lights up a man's face, and there is nothing he desires more. 28 If kindness and humility mark her speech, her husband is more fortunate than other men. 29 He who acquires a wife gets his best possession, a helper fit for him and a pillar of support. 30 Where there is no fence, the property will be plundered; and where there is no wife, a man will become a fugitive and a wanderer. 31 For who will trust a nimble robber that skips from city to city? So who will trust a man that has no nest, but lodges wherever night overtakes him?
37 Every friend says, "I too am a friend"; but some friends are friends only in name. 2 Is it not a sorrow like that for death itself when a dear friend turns into an enemy? 3 O inclination to evil, why were you formed to cover the land with deceit? 4 Some companions rejoice in the happiness of a friend, but in time of trouble they are against him. 5 Some companions help a friend for their stomachs' sake, yet in battle they will carry his shield. 6 Do not forget a friend during the battle, and do not be unmindful of him when you distribute your spoils.
Caution in Taking Advice
7 All counselors praise the counsel they give, but some give counsel in their own interest. 8 Be wary of a counselor, and learn first what is his interest, for he will take thought for himself. He may cast the lot against you 9 and tell you, "Your way is good," and then stand aside to see what happens to you. 10 Do not consult the one who regards you with suspicion; hide your intentions from those who are jealous of you. 11 Do not consult with a woman about her rival or with a coward about war, with a merchant about business or with a buyer about selling, with a miser about generosity or with the merciless about kindness, with an idler about any work or with a seasonal laborer about completing his work, with a lazy servant about a big task- pay no attention to any advice they give. 12 But associate with a godly person whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments, who is like-minded with yourself, and who will grieve with you if you fail. 13 And heed the counsel of your own heart, for no one is more faithful to you than it is. 14 For our own mind sometimes keeps us better informed than seven sentinels sitting high on a watchtower. 15 But above all pray to the Most High that he may direct your way in truth.
All counselors praise the counsel they give, but some give counsel in their own interest. Sirach 37.7
"Do you seriously wish to travel the road to devotion?" asks Saint Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life. If so, then find a faithful friend who gives good spiritual counsel. "This is the most important of all words of advice."
Excerpted from CATHOLIC WOMENS DEV SC Copyright © 2000 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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