Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

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Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Friday, September 08, 2006

Too Comfortable: Bible Comment on II Chronicles 12 with poem by Francis Beaumont, Lines on the Tombs in Westminster

Daily Readings
Psalm 123, I Kings 14, II Chronicles 12, Jeremiah 13

Daily Text: II Chronicles 12

Too Comfortable
II Chronicles 12 spells out the results of becoming too comfortable with one’s position in life, especially if it results in abandoning the Torah and relationship with God. The Chronicler notes that all Israel likewise abandoned God with him. Evidently the priests and the Levites lose their heart for God. Is it because the king is no longer showing the way as did David and as did Solomon for much of his life? Shishak of Egypt invades the country, evidently in a wide regional foray, takes several of the fortified cities and comes against Jerusalem. Chicken and egg theology take over at this point. The man of God, Shemaiah, warns Rehoboam that the invasion is the result of his poor track record in serving the God of Israel and as a result Rehoboam along with his military officers repents, acknowledging that the LORD is just in this retributive move. Their repentance moves God to relent and he promises that Shishak will not take Jerusalem. But he does take spoils. Were they in the form of tribute payment? And was that what mollified Shishak or was it God’s leading him to be satisfied? In spite of Rehoboam’s twice recorded repentance, the judgement of the Chronicler was that Rehoboam was an evil man, “for he did not set his heart to seek the LORD” (12:14).

Lines on the Tombs in Westminster
Francis Beaumont
1584-1616

Mortality, behold and fear!
What a change of flesh is here!
Think how many royal bones
Sleep within this heap of stones;
Here thy lie had realms and lands,
Who now want strength to stir their hands;
Where from their pulpits sealed with dust
They preach, ‘in greatness is no trust.’
Here’s an acre sown indeed
With the richest royal’st seed
That the earth did e’er suck in,
Since the first man died for sin;
Here the bones of birth have cried,
‘Though gods they were, as men they died.’
Here are sands, ignoble things,
Dropt from the ruined sides of kings.
Here’s a world of pomp and state,
Buried in dust, once dead by fate.
407:1831

Collect for the Day
King of love, rule in the hearts of all people on earth through your Son Jesus Christ, that we may become one family and one kingdom serving you by serving each other. We ask this in his name.

[476:884:123 Psalm prayer]

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