JOHN MILTON, SECOND DEFENCE…(The Bible’s Impact on Literature [August 6])

What is being said of you? What are people hearing about you? If or when they come to find out for themselves, what will they find? What will they learn? Will they satisfied? Will they hear about how God is working in and through you? Will you be able to stay close to God and walk out His plans till the end? Who do you say you are? Who does God say you are?

Let’s stop for a moment to listen to a song before jumping into today’s reading…

Today’s reading comes from 2 Chronicles 9

The Queen of Sheba

1Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test him with hard questions, having a very great retinue and camels bearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. 2And Solomon answered all her questions. There was nothing hidden from Solomon that he could not explain to her. 3And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, 4the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, and their clothing, his cupbearers, and their clothing, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.
5And she said to the king, “The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, 6but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, half the greatness of your wisdom was not told me; you surpass the report that I heard. 7Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 8Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on his throne as king for the Lord your God! Because your God loved Israel and would establish them forever, he has made you king over them, that you may execute justice and righteousness.” 9Then she gave the king 120 talents of gold, and a very great quantity of spices, and precious stones. There were no spices such as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.
10Moreover, the servants of Hiram and the servants of Solomon, who brought gold from Ophir, brought algum wood and precious stones. 11And the king made from the algum wood supports for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, lyres also and harps for the singers. There never was seen the like of them before in the land of Judah.
12And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what she had brought to the king. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.

Solomon’s Wealth

13Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 14besides that which the explorers and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and the governors of the land brought gold and silver to Solomon. 15King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels of beaten gold went into each shield. 16And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; 300 shekels of gold went into each shield; and the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. 17The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with pure gold. 18The throne had six steps and a footstool of gold, which were attached to the throne, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, 19while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. Nothing like it was ever made for any kingdom. 20All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. Silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 21For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Hiram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.
22Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 23And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 24Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and of gold, garments, myrrh, spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year. 25And Solomon had 4,000 stalls for horses and chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26And he ruled over all the kings from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt. 27And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as the sycamore of the Shephelah. 28And horses were imported for Solomon from Egypt and from all lands.

Solomon’s Death

29Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, from first to last, are they not written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat? 30Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. 31And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David his father, and Rehoboam his son reigned in his place.

–from 2 Chronicles 9

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of John Milton, Second Defense. We learn in today’s devotional about the English civil war and the end of a time with a monarchy  when King Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell ruled as leader of the republic. We also learn about how John Milton was one of the most famous defenders of this commonwealth. We learn about Milton’s writings counter to the pro-monarchy writings by french scholar Claudius Salmasius like Paradise Lost and Defensio Secunda. We learn how in Defensio Secunda he writes about the queen of Sheba when she went to visit Solomon – from our reading today in 2 Chronicles 9:1-12 – and compares the queen of Sheba to the queen of Sweden who was a supporter of Salmasius.

Henceforth, the queen of the south will not be alone renowned in history, for there is a queen of the north, who would not only be worthy to appear in the court of the wise king of the Jews, or any king of equal wisdom; but to whose court others may from all parts repair, to behold so fair a heroine, so bright a pattern of all the royal virtues; and to the crown of whose praise this may well be added, that neither in her conduct nor her appearance, is there any of the forbidding reserve, or the ostentatious parade of royalty.

–from Second Defense – John Milton

So how do you want to be remembered? How do you want to be spoken of while you are still here? Who will you be? Will you live as who you say you are? Will you live as who others say you are? Will you live as who God says you are?

Let’s pray…

Prayer of Salvation Example

For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this new day and for everything that is in it. I praise You Lord for who You are and who You say I am. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void but always speaks truth and life and helps lead and guide me all the days of my life. Help me today Lord to complete the good works You have prepared in advance for me to accomplish. Help me Lord to go beyond what is seen to complete the tasks You have set for me to accomplish. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to obey all that You will lead me and guide me to do today in Jesus’s name I pray. I ask all this so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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