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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 9, 2020  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 45:10–17

Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;
forget your people and your father’s house,
and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him;
the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth.
The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;
in many-colored robes she is led to the king;
behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.
With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.
In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;
therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever. (NRSV)

Before reflecting on today’s scripture passage a little historical perspective is needed to really understand what is going on here.

The Israelites had no kings because God was king, but seeing that others, like Egypt, had kings or pharaohs, eventually Israel decided to do so as well. And the king of Israel, like so many wealthy people thousands of years ago, had lots of property—which included palaces, sheep, and, sadly, even women. Today we might call it a harem, and we can hope that the king treated his wives with respect and dignity, but essentially they were his property to do with whatever he pleased. So “being led to the king” may have caused anxiety and fear for any woman.

The women “led to the king” didn’t have much of a choice about it, but we do today. We don’t have to blindly follow anyone, but by seeking the truth wherever it may be found we can make up our own minds about what is right. But these days it is sometimes hard to know what is true, what is right, so we must be thoughtful and considerate about what we read and learn. To know what is right we can look to another passage of scripture, Luke 10 in which a lawyer asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” The greatest commandment makes it clear what is right: to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. Not as property, not as someone to be exploited or taken advantage of, not as someone to be held down or segregated, but instead loved with all our heart, strength, and mind.

Loving God, help me to love you and my neighbor with all my heart, strength, and mind. Amen.

Written by John W. W. Sherer, Organist and Director of Music

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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