The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
1 Kings 3:3-4:34
Having become king, Solomon goes to the high places to offer sacrifices to the Lord. The Lord appears to him in a dream, asking him what he wants. Solomon's reply that he would prefer wisdom as the gift pleases the Lord, who grants his gift and promises many others as well.
A demonstration of his wisdom convinces everybody.
Judah and Israel got along with each other. Solomon ruled over kingdoms extending from the Euphrates (Philistines) to Egypt, receiving tributes from them. A time of peace and of prosperity. A king who was respected for his wisdom by all the kings of the earth.
Today's reading from Kings tell about wisdom and peace. The reading from Acts tells about Christians who did not get along perfectly. But, they were able to devise a plan that would result in appropriate distribution of resources. Christian congregations still worry about making sure no one in their community is lacking what they need--don't they?
Conflict arose among the congregations. Some thought that Stephen was not voicing the orthodox line sufficiently. He was put on trial for saying things they considered blasphemy.
The Psalmist asks for our fortunes to be restored "like watercourses in the Negeb." His first readers would have known what a lavish gift he was asking for.
In the desert region of the Negeb, creek beds were almost always dry. But, when the rains came, they were rushing rivers. If you knew the central Texas of my childhood, you would be familiar with what we called a gully, a wash, or an arroyo.
Imagine now a shallow depression in the desert. That's what you've got. Dust. Now, imagine, a heavy rain.
Despair followed by joy.
The appetite of workers works for them;
and hunger urges them on.
Scoundrels concoct evil,
and their speech is like a scorching fire.
Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.