Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
Mark 11: 24
“The possibilities of prayer are bounded by the promises of God.”
E. M. Bounds
“I will not therefore minimize my prayer,
But make it large as are the promises.
Since God is willing thus to bless,
No less an answer would I share,
Alas, for my small faith,
Compared with what He saith.
Therefore, henceforth, shall prayer be heard
From me according to God’s Word.
I will request, as long as I shall live,
All God has shown His willingness to give.
As are the love and power His truth declares,
So shall faith make the measure of my prayers.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one particular year was 666 talents of gold, besides what the traders brought and the traffic of the merchants and from all the tributary kings and governors of the land of Arabia. King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of gold went into each shield. And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. The king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Also the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and attached at the rear of the top of the throne was a round covering or canopy. On either side of the seat were armrests, and two lions stood beside the armrests. Twelve lions stood there, one on either end of each of the six steps; there was nothing like it ever made in any kingdom. All of King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; it was accounted as nothing in the days of Solomon. For the king had a fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish came bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom (skill). And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom which God had put in his mind. Every man brought tribute: vessels of silver and gold, garments, equipment, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. Solomon collected chariots and horsemen; he had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, which he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars as plentiful as the sycamore trees in the lowlands. Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt, and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each at a price.”
1 Kings 10: 14-28
“Excessive Extravagance – How Much Is Really Enough?”
“There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess people.”
In analyzing the question, “How much is enough,” what would my answer be?
Has there been a time of lack in my life when it wasn’t money that was needed to fill my emptiness?
If I had the wealth on display that Solomon had, would I think or feel as though I had enough?
“What is gold compared with thy God? Thou couldst not live on it; thy spiritual life could not be sustained by it. Apply it to thy aching head, and would it afford thee any ease?”
“Trust not to the omnipotency of gold, and say not unto it thou art my confidence.”
Several months ago, I read a book entitled, How Much Is Enough? written by Arthur Simon. Interestingly enough, my expedition into the topic of “what enough” is all about, took place long before I had studied about King Solomon’s vast acquisition of wealth.
As you may have noticed, our study text for each daily devotional usually consists of one or two Bible verses at the most. However, today, I’ve included 15 verses and honestly, there were many more I could have added because there is a great deal recorded in Scripture regarding what I have chosen to call “Solomon’s Excessive Extravagance.” Just read about the throne he built, if you want to see first-hand what his extravagance was all about.
In order to better understand the thoughts I want to share today, there are three words I’d like to define:
- Enough: Sufficient to meet a need or to satisfy a desire. An adequate quantity.
- Excessive: Exceeding what is proper, normal or reasonable.
- Extravagant: Given to imprudent or lavish spending. Exceeding reasonable limits. Unrestrained.
First, I want to take a moment to look at the word “enough.” I’ll be the first to admit that my personal definition of the word “enough” has changed dramatically, the longer I’ve lived and the more I’ve experienced and seen in my own life.
After I read the words of Iracema, a mother who is a resident of a slum in Brazil, my definition of what she considered to be enough was, as I reflected, very different from my own definition. Here’s what this dear girl said. “Sometimes I think, ‘If I die, I won’t have to see my children as they are.’” She found it unbearable to watch her children starve without food!
The fact is that for over 1.5 Billion people in our world, the word “enough” isn’t even in their vocabulary because they face such devastating poverty every minute of every day. And for most of these individuals, the poverty they face is simply due to where they happened to be born.
Having worked with so many charities in my lifetime that are doing all they can to stem-the-tide against hunger, thirst and malnutrition, I’ve seen first-hand how a compassionate spirit can change even the most desperate situations. Enough for an individual who goes hungry everyday means something very different than when I speak of having enough!
On a personal level, and in ways I could not initially imagine, it was after our car accident which was a time when I found that the word “enough” was completely redefined for me. And the first place where I began to recognize that “enough” would never mean the same thing to me again had to do with what filled my closet -- specifically the shoeboxes.
Like many women, I have a fondness for shoes. In fact, as a young teen, when I got my first job and was able to save some money, you can probably guess what I bought immediately -- yes, a pair of shoes -- brown suede with thin leather ties. I’ll never forget those shoes. As time went by, with larger paychecks, I decided that a terrific way to reward myself for all my hard work was to purchase a new pair of shoes, until the day came, when I had to admit I had so many shoes in my closet, I really didn’t have any place to put a new pair. I had enough! Sadly enough, it didn’t stop my compulsion for more. It rarely does! And this is when excessive purchases kicked in. I bought more than I needed. I was extravagant and if you notice so was Solomon. If you don’t believe me, reread our study texts for today and see if you think King Solomon had enough gold! Obviously, he didn’t seem to think so. In fact, how ironic to find that “silver” during King Solomon’s reign was so prevalent, it was as common as stones. It was worthless! And this is the very point I learned after our car accident, when upon arriving back home after four months in the hospital, I found that because of all the crushing injuries to both my feet, not one pair of shoes in the excessively extravagant collection in my closet was wearable. They not only didn’t fit my feet, they were so uncomfortable I couldn’t walk in the shoes. What I had treasured and worked so hard to acquire became totally worthless. My own little hoard of excessive extravagance had no value whatsoever.
The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the young Timothy, offered this perspective which runs counter to the worldly wanderlust for the insatiable appetite for more: “godliness accompanied with contentment, is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world: But if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be satisfied” (1 Timothy 6: 6-8, Amplified Bible). As Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove astutely penned, “We cannot live on bread alone -- or pie alone, for that matter -- and the same is true of money. No matter how much we have, it doesn’t satisfy.” Not all of Solomon’s gold filled him up. What’s more, the more he got -- the more he wanted. What a lesson for us to learn!
“As the Bible says, there is nothing worse than the love of money (1 Timothy 6: 10), for it means that one’s heart is everlastingly bothering about the love of the transitory and not giving itself a chance to acquire devotion.”
The Fire of Love
“All my life long I had panted
For a draught from some cool spring.
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within.
Feeding on the husks around me,
Till my strength was almost gone,
Longed my soul for something better,
Only still to hunger on.
Poor I was, and sought for riches,
Something that would satisfy,
But the dust I gathered round me
Only mocked my soul’s sad cry.
Well of water, ever springing,
Bread of life, so rich and free,
Untold wealth that never faileth,
My Redeemer is to me.
Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings;
Through His life I now am saved.”
Clara T. Williams
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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