Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“In the day that I cry out; this I know for God is for me. In God, Whose word I praise, in the Lord, Whose word I praise. In God have I put my trust and confident reliance; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? Your vows are upon me, O God. I will render praise to You and give You thank offerings.”
Psalm 56: 9-12
“Be not discouraged because of your soul’s enemies. Are ye troubled with thoughts, fears, doubts, imaginations, reasonings? Yea, do ye see, yet, much in you unsubdued to the power of life? Oh! Do not fear it; do not look at it, so as to be discouraged by it; but look to Him! Look up to the power which is over all their strength; wait for the descendings of the power upon you; abide in faith of the Lord’s help, and wait in patience till the Lord arise; and see if His arm does not scatter what yours could not. So, be still before Him, and, in stillness, believe in His name.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And she gave the king (Solomon) 120 talents of gold and of spices a very great store and precious stones. Never again came such abundance of spices as these the Queen of Sheba gave King Solomon.”
1 Kings 10: 10
“Lessons Taught By the Lady From Sheba” Part 8
Lesson #8 – From the words of Dr. Luke found in Luke 17: 12-16 -- “And as He (Jesus) was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. And they raised up their voices and called, ‘Jesus, Master, take pity and have mercy on us!’ And when He (Jesus) saw them, He said to them, ‘Go at once and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cured and made clean. Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice: And he fell prostrate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him over and over. And he was a Samaritan.”
Luke 17: 12-16
“The attitude of gratitude is both delicate and mysterious. It can be crushed by the uplifting of a skeptical eyebrow; yet its psychology is hidden in the Divine love. Gratitude is a way of life, a temper of being, an index to spiritual health.”
How would I define the word “gratitude”?
In what ways have I expressed gratitude to my heavenly Father?
“A true Christian is a man (woman) who never for a moment forgets what God has done for him (her) in Christ and whose whole comportment and whose activity have their root in the sentiment of gratitude.”
“How happy a person is who depends upon the depth of (her) gratitude.”
I love this thought penned by the great Biblical scholar Matthew Henry: “Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better.” This statement certainly applies to an experience which Dr. Luke relates in the New Testament about ten lepers whom Jesus healed. As the story goes, only one of the lepers -- 10% -- came back to show gratitude to Jesus for the miraculous gift of his health. But what’s more, Dr. Luke makes the point that this leper was a Samaritan, a foreigner, an outsider, a heathen. As the Jewish leaders would have thought, this man wasn’t among the chosen. He didn’t deserve to be healed because he didn’t belong. Yet, he was the only leper who took time to return to Jesus and say, “Thank you.”
It was the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge who wrote, “And still, O Lord, to me impart an innocent and grateful heart,” and what an example the Samaritan leper was. But he wasn’t the only “outsider” who in Scripture leaves us with a clear view of a grateful heart.
In our study text for today, we find that before leaving the palace of Solomon and the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, the Queen of Sheba bestowed a bounty so large upon Solomon that we are informed that never before or again was a gift of spices this large presented to the King. As several Bible commentaries note, the Queen of Sheba came to Jerusalem not knowing what type of reception she would receive. Solomon could have turned her away. He could have told her to go home and tend to the business of her own country. He could have informed her that her desire for knowledge was a task better left to the men-folk. But he didn’t. Not only was the queen welcomed, but she was given the time necessary to ask “all that was in her heart.” And in appreciation, we are told that the bounty which came with the queen was left on the footstool of Israel’s king.
As we continue to learn from the Queen of Sheba, lesson #8 is easy to identify in 1 Kings 10: 10 for it is the gift of gratitude.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the heroes of World War II, imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis for trying to assassinate Hitler, observed, what I believe to be at the core of the virtue of gratitude: “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.” We don’t do it all ourselves. Our lives are intertwined. We need each other. And we should be grateful to lend a hand of help to one another. This is exactly the lesson we learn from the Queen of Sheba who didn’t leave Jerusalem until she made certain she had said, “Thank you!” As John Henry Jowett correctly noted: “Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
“O Lord, that lends me life,
Lend me heart replete with thankfulness!”
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High.”
Psalm 50: 14
“What shall I render to Thy Name,
Or how Thy praises speak;
My thanks how shall I testify?
O Lord, Thou knowest I am weak.
What did I ask for but Thou gavest?
What could I more desire?
But thankfulness, even all my days,
I humbly this require.”
“Thou hast given so much to us, give one more thing: a grateful heart; for Christ’s sake. Amen.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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