Even with All the Wisdom of Solomon …

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I was reading the book of 2 Chronicles recently, and stumbled upon a lesson from the life of Solomon that I don’t think is often captured. Let me set the stage with a few important passages:

2 Chronicles 1:6-14

And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it.

In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall giev thee.

And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and has made me to reign in his stead.

Now, O Lord God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude.

Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is go great?

And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but has asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:

Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

Then Solomon came from his journey to the high place that was at Gibeon to Jerusalem, from before the tabernacle of the congregation, and reigned over Israel.

And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 

2 Chronicles 9:30-31

And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.

And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

 2 Chronicles 10:1-16

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.

And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, Whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.

And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,

Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.

And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days, And the people departed.

And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?

And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.

But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.

And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?

And the young men that ere brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little  finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.

For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

So the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel; and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.

The passages are long, but they show that all the wisdom of Solomon, all his glories and public works, led to aggrandizement of the king and government at the expense of the people. The first passage shows that one of the first things Solomon did was to take to himself horses, building his own strength — something warned against in the Pentateuch:

Deuteronomy 17:16

But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Eygpy, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.

Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away,; neither shall he greatly mutiply to himself silver and gold.

Notice that the Pentateuch also warns against multiplying gold and silver and wives — all things that Solomon did.

And what was the result of his glorious reign? A dissatisfied people, one oppressed by its government, one that revolted and split the kingdom in twain.

In Ecclesiastes Solomon wonders at the vanity of life, of everything. Notice it is the great king that feels the vanity. It isn’t the simple common man that feels life is vain. Big government, social planning, ultimately fails. Solomon talks about building things, only to have the fool follow and ruin it all.

If we look at Solomon, we see the original social planner seeing that trying to direct society from the top down leads to discontent from the top down.

Perhaps that is why the original intent for the promised land included no kings, and when kings came along they were counselled to keep themselves simple: in wealth, in wives, in military might. The strength of a land is its people, not its king or government. A free people solves its own issues individually and together with limited government interference.

Turning this to the our current political situation: none of the candidates are suggesting government get out of the way of our freedom or happiness. Each one is advising ways of expanding its influence to do stuff for us. The example of Solomon warns us where that leads, if we have the wisdom and the eyes to see: We will merely exchange whips for scorpions.

Reject them all, and find someone who will reign in government and release freedom once again.

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Fitness Update: tempo continues

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(Note: Another week of writing progress as the week goes on.)

Monday: Wife opened at work, so I got up when she left, ran a 5K, biked to YMCA, swam 1,000 yards, and biked to work. At end of work day I completed week 8 (final week) of the triathlon training challenge at the work Wellness Center: 2,000 yards rowing, 8 miles recumbent stationary bike, and 2 miles running on treadmill. During week 1 my time was 48:24. This time it was 41:11. For both daily runs I wore my new ASICS running shoes. That meant I had a longer conversion for the triathlon, but the shoes, and my knowledge of the treadmill and my running speeds, more than made up for it.

It was also the start of a 4-week “5K Express” training program with the Wellness Center, so I’m tracking workouts and calories via MyFitnessPal for 4 weeks for that. Misfit said I earned 1,540 extra calories for the day from my workouts, or a total of 3,670. I only consumed 2,774.

My base calorie consumption is 2,130 calories, but by the time I get my workouts my usual daily levels are 2,750 – 3,000 calories. And I tend to eat from 2,500 – 3,000 a day.

Tuesday: Was more of a walking day. I only rode 5 miles into work, dropping the bicycle off for a part replacement, thus walking the last mile to work. That was when the rain started. I also walked the mile back to the shop to pick up the repaired bicycle before riding home.

Additional walking came from going to Worlds of Fun and walking around while picking up dinner for the kids, and then walking into, around and back out of the Starlight Theater campus to eat dinner at their Best of Broadway dinner club followed by watching the musical Matilda. That was enough to get over 2,000 Misfit activity points of my 1,500 point daily goal.

Wednesday: Today’s bicycle commute was a rough one. Swift Avenue in North Kansas City should have been named Oklahoma for all the headwinds that were there. It was the first day this year I have cycled to work and back with an average speed less than 13 mph.

Today was also the day I saw the most bicycles along the route that I have in a long time. Some were serious riders, others helmetless.

I also did the PiYo class during noontime at the Wellness Center at work. I hadn’t realized how unstretched out I was until I realized how much better I felt after the class. And I worked up a good sweat. Realized too that I’d forgotten to take one of my new sweat bands with me. I’ll need to remember for the next class.

Thursday: We had quite a thunderstorm in the night, but by the time I got up for my run the roads and walks were actually dry. But halfway into my run I hit a downpour that had my shoes and shorts completely soaked by the time I got back to the house. I decided to skip going to the YMCA for my swim — didn’t feel like biking through the rain and lightening.

The weather was a humid 70 when I started my run — much warmer than I usually have been running in, so my pace suffered. It actually became easier when the rain came down and the temperature dropped about 5 degrees.

Friday: Another day threatening rain, so I skipped the morning run, but got my swimming in at Oceans of Fun during the noon hour when the park opened for the season.

Saturday: Lazy day.

Sunday: Another day of no organized fitness workouts, just park excursions and swimming. Couldn’t really do laps in the Caribbean Cooler as it was packed with people.

 

#94: What Child is This?

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(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)

The Hymnbook I grew up with is a more modern version of this hymn. The Refrain is the same on all three verses. In the caroling book version I have, each chorus has a different refrain, the second even including nails piercing him through. I tend to prefer the more graphic version, but since that isn’t what the hymnbook has, you will get the “modernized” version:

1

What Child in this, who laid to rest,

On Mary’s lap is sleeping?

Whom angel greet with anthems sweet,

While shepherds watch are keeping?

REFRAIN

This, this is Christ the King,

Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:

Haste, haste to bring Him laud —

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

2

Why lies He in such mean estate

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christian, fear — for sinners here

The silent Word is pleading.

REFRAIN

3

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh —

Come, rich and poor, to own Him;

The King of kings salvation brings —

Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

REFRAIN

The Era of Bad Feelings

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American History has an era during the presidency of James Monroe that has been called “The Era of Good Feelings”. I wonder if today we might rightly be in a period that should be known as “The Era of Bad Feelings”.

We have candidates for the presidency that have polled higher negative ratings than their positive ratings. It seems the era to be against things rather than for them. A recent article I read talked about a rapprochement between Rubio and Trump, the core of which was to ensure that Hilary Clinton not win the presidency. Again, this was a negative, not a positive coalition.

I have heard a lot of people talking about not having anyone in the two major parties that they feel they can vote for. Many people will thus choose to do one of two things: Not Vote at all, or vote against one person by voting for the other party’s candidate, even though they don’t really want to vote for either.

My challenge to everyone, is to turn this around, and still make this a time of good feelings, of voting and talking about positive things, not against the negatives around us. One way or another, vote  for someone you can respect, vote for a position you can believe in. Don’t fall into the Era of Bad Feelings we see enveloping the world around us.

With all the negative attitudes around us, we need to be aware of a higher calling. I remind everyone of the benedictional song I have on my About page for this blog:

Go forth into the world in peace,

Be of good courage,

Hold fast to that which is good,

Render to no one evil for evil.

God forth into the world in love,

Strengthen the fainthearted, support the weak,

Help the afflicted, Honor all people,

Love and serve the Lord.

Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,

Go forth into the world in peace.

In peace.

This isn’t an easy path. But it is the only path worth taking.

A Blast of the Past #49: Baking Lessons

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Today’s blast has pictures from November 2001, including my daughter helping to make a pumpkin pie. Which is a rather interesting reflection back, since pie is not something she really eats anymore. But we had a lot of fun learning to bake, and make the related messes that go with practice.

The old saw is “practice makes perfect”, but Grammy Lightfoot had the more accurate saying “practice makes messes”.

Weekend Preview: Oceans of Fun Opens

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Memorial Day weekend: the official beginning of the summer season, though not the beginning of summer itself.

The weather forecast around here is thunderstorms all the way through, from now until Tuesday. So whether Oceans of Fun actually opens at 11 a.m. Friday or the closing is delayed by thunderstorms, is yet to be seen. The park closed early today after the latest torrential downpour of the week, which itself followed an hour of Tornado sirens.

Why, with the park closing, we didn’t get over there for our evening meal. Even so, our current usage figures for the season are rather impressive:

Total Price Paid $360.00
Total Number of Meals 139
Total Retail $1,463.45
Average Price Per Meal $2.59
Total Drink Price 24.99
Total number of drinks 96
Total Retail $91.00
Average Price Per Drink $0.26

 

Matilda: fun but not magic

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Last night was opening night of both Matilda and the season for Starlight Theater in Kansas City. This year is the first year we have attended on Tuesdays, and thus the first year for us to see opening night.

When we arrived they were still rehearsing on the stage. It was sort of nice to see some of that as we wandered from one side of the theater to the other, on our way to trying out the new dining experience, which was also having its opening night.

This year Starlight has taken its dining in-house, with two Applause Club options along with renamed and themed food vendors. The overall look and layout is well-thought out for the to-go spots, and the setup was generally good for the Applause Club.

We have selected the Best of Broadway upscale dining experience. It was nice, upscale, classy. But hopefully they are working out some of the kinks still. The foods on the buffet could be broken out into a few sections: salads, two types of entrees, desserts, yet they put them all together in one long buffet plus dessert buffet. If they had broken the salads into a separate section it would have decreased crowding and improved the flow.

The wait staff was attentive enough, but sometimes a little slow in clearing and refreshing drinks. A little more polish would go a long way.

The opening menu had some items that looked really good in print. I always enjoy a Waldorf salad; so I was slightly disappointed by this one. On the other hand, I am not a fan of Quinoa, but the serving of this with butternut squash was actually quite tasty.

As for the show, I didn’t come away singing any songs, much less the one that the program “predicted” we would. “When I grow up” didn’t resonate with me, though it played an important part of the theme of the show. And the first song of the second act, which is almost a part of the intermission, was a great comic relief.

But some of Matilda’s actions with her parents left us stumped. And I didn’t get the idea of the “Revolting Children” song at the end.

But the acting was good, both from the seasoned adults and the children in the cast. The smoothness of the scenes with the children is perhaps one of the best features of the show. It was well produced.

So, we had and enjoyable night, wasn’t our favorite show, but definitely one worth watching, and worth the price of the ticket.