God’s Response To King Solomon’s Prayer

2 Chronicles 7:12 (NKJV)
12  Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.

After all the people had gone home, Jehovah appeared to Solomon in the night to speak to him one on one. The very first thing Jehovah said to Solomon was I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place. Basically, He said, Son you have done well and everything including your worship I have found pleasing. If that wasn’t enough he was about to find out what Jehovah’s decision was for each request.

Just as Solomon presented his request with “if-then” clauses, Jehovah responded. However, when I checked the Hebrew for “if” I discovered the word could also be translated “when.” Some Bible translations have that. This made an impact on me because in my world, “if” is a maybe and “when” is a certainty. For all of you who have been taught that Jehovah does not cause bad things to happen, read this section of scripture. This will clear up any confusion you might have.

2 Chronicles 7:13 (NKJV)
13  When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,

Notice Jehovah is saying when these things happen, He causes or commands it. He continues the statement with the scripture of my focus

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I will try to quickly go through the chosen key words to explain why I think there is so much more than I usually think about. The study aids I used were Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, The Complete Word Study Old Testament-Zodhiates, and New Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies

Called – to be called by the name of a person denotes the standing in a peculiar relation to him or being his property, his people, city etc.

Name- 1. The name is supposed to correspond to the nature of a person or thing; or express some qualities or circumstances relating to them 2. to act in a person’s name is to act by his commission or authority; 3. to call by name is to single our and appoint a person for any work, is eminently qualified for it, or as the object of special favor.

Humble – to bend the knee; hence to humiliate oneself

Seek – to search out that which is uncertain and doubtful, with the desire of obtaining, and with care and attention

Face – the part that turns; a face or surface. This Hebrew word is also translated Presence, or Present

I substituted these definitions and the scripture reads

If My people, who cry out and express my nature, qualities and authority in their behavior would bow down to humiliate themselves before me, to search out the uncertain with a careful attentive desire to obtain my Presence, and pray, turn away from their evil ways, then from heaven I will hear them, I will forgive them and heal their land.

So the questions I had to answer for myself were

1. Do I reflect His nature, qualities, and authority in my behavior? I call myself by His Name.

2. Do I bow down truly with an attitude of humiliation or entitlement because I am His?

3. Do I truly search out His Presence, His Presence when I pray? Do I give that careful attention?

4. Have I turned from my evil ways or am I holding on to a few favorites just in case I need to handle someone?

He heard Solomon’s prayer because he did all these things. He then told him that if the people did this He would hear them. Can I then conclude that He will do the same for me?

Jehovah concludes His response with the statement that His eyes were open and ears attentive to the prayers made in that place. I know He was referring to the Temple but the principle and promises do not change. I believe just as He wrote the law on our hearts(minds), I believe the Temple refers to us in that the Holy Spirit resides in those who are called by His Name.

Chickpea Flour Tofu

The other day, I made chickpea flour tofu. The person’s whose instructions I used said, the recipe was simple but you had to master the process or technique. She wasn’t kidding. The first batch, I let get too firm. The second was just smooth enough to give me a firm, sliceable tofu.

I cubed a portion of the firm to bake and added it to some vegetable Lo Mein. The too, too firm I crumbled and added to a vegan pot pie filling to replace chicken. Normally, it would be vegetables only in the filling. Both meals were delicious. My husband said they were a repeat. It might be a while before I buy soy based tofu again. This was cheaper and convenient.

They say necessity requires you to get inventive. I doubt if I would have tried this if I had been able to find regular tofu in this grocery store wasteland.

King Solomon’s Prayer

II Chronicles 6

King Solomon stands on the scaffold in the midst of the Temple court yard. He kneels, spreads his hands toward heaven and prayed. Was it a prayer of praise? Did he make requests?

First, he acknowledged his God. That He was like none other: a covenant keeper and merciful to His servants who walked before Him in obedience with all their heart. He acknowledged that God kept His promise that He made to David.

Second, he asked God to verify this promise. That He would dwell among His people on earth. He ask for this verification because he knew nothing man-made could contain the Presence of God.

Next, he asked God to listen to the prayers and supplications made by him (Solomon) and the people in and toward the House of God. He asked that he hear them and forgive them if they repent. King Solomon listed all the offences he could think of that Israel could committ against each other and against God. He covered captivity, no rain, pestilence, famine, locusts or plagues because these are things God used to punish Israel when they sinned against him in the past. He asked God to forgive Israel of each offence if they truly repented, confessed and turned from their sin. Solomon was wise enough to know, some would give lip service. He asked God to hear and judge them ” according to their ways whose hearts you know.”

Now this is the part I really like. Up to this point it is about the behavior of the children of Israel. Verse 33 makes the prayer inclusive to non-Israelites. Regarding the foreigner who is not of Israel but has come because of your great name and pray, hear him. Why? So that all peoples of the earth may know your name and worship you as Israel does. And that they may know this house is called by Your Name. That includes people like me in the prayer if I fulfill the conditions. Solomon completes the prayer with asking God “to come to His resting place, You and the Ark of your strength and power. Let your priests be clothe with salvation and let your godly ones rejoice in your goodness. O Lord God, do not turn away and reject the face of your anointed; remember Your lovingkindness and faithfulness to Your servant David.”

When Solomon finished praying, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the House. There was such power in His Presence that the priests could not enter God’s House. When the people witnessed this, they bowed with their faces to the ground and worshipped (prostrate) and praised with outstretched hands. The King and all the people offered sacrifices, burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings. There was so much that he had to use the scaffold on which he had been standing for the sacrifices because the brazen altar was not able to accommodate it all. Then they feasted for seven days.

2 Chronicles 7:10 (NKJV)
10  On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the LORD had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel.

In my minds eye, I see the multitudes going home recounting all that had transpired. The House of God in its magnificence was completed. The Presence of God was evident and they were witnesses to His coming. They watched their King humble himself before the Lord and them. He is one of us, they might have said. My western sensibilities would have been acutely aware of the smell of slaughtered and burnt animals that were sacrificed. Solomon on the other hand, I imagine, stood in the courtyard and watched the people leave. Then his attention turned to the House of God and His Presence. Oh how awe-some the feeling must have been.

Then God appeared.

Eggless Omelet and Veggie Burger failure; Cheese -somewhat successful

I spent the day trying new recipes. I wanted to make an eggless vegetable omelet recipe I had found but I never had the correct ingredients. I bought chickpea flour because it was the main ingredient. It would be quicker than cooking chickpeas and pureeing them or grinding my own flour. Besides that is what the recipe required. I used the recipe from the Holy Cow blog. It was simple but somehow I managed to mess it up. I burned the first omelet. I tried scrambling the next one because it did not cook in the center. Finally, I baked the rest of the batter. That was at least edible but not an omelet.

Next, I tried a different Mushroom veggie burger recipe. Followed that one exactly. It tasted fine but was too mushy. It was suppose to be firm and tender. I think the black beans were suppose to be the binder because there was no other in the usual sense. It did not work. Because I liked the flavor I will try again using ground flax seed or chia seeds for a binder.

Lastly, I tried making sliceable, vegan cheddar cheese using chickpea flour. It was very easy to make compared to some other recipes I have read. It slices. The taste is okay but I think I have to do some tweeking on the flavor. I will use it again as a base.

If My People……

Lately, since the Covid-19 outbreak I have heard the scripture 2 Chronicles 7:14 repeated more and more. I began wondering if there was more to the scripture than what we seem to espouse. I mean was there more intensity or emphasis placed on anything that our English translation did not express as well. So I did my usual when in these kinds of quandary. I began to do a word study. I am not a Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek scholar but I have become pretty adept at reading lexicons, dictionaries and other study aids. So with that said I jumped into my research. As I was studying the thought came to me, “What is the context?” Why did God say this? Verses 11,12 says God spoke after Solomon finished the temple and his (Solomon’s) house and prayed. What did he ask in prayer? Was it just a prayer of praise or did Solomon ask something of God? Might knowing that offer added insight? I stopped the word study and backed up to read the prayer. My God, My God, that prayer and all that was happening is a study in itself. So I am going to back up and begin before the prayer.

Picture this.

There standing on a hill in Jerusalem believed to be Mt Moriah, was this magnificent temple and the King’s house. In the courtyard stood the brazen altar and a bronze scaffold. A multitude of people were there with all their animal and grain sacrifices to offer as they dedicated the temple, the House of God.

At the dedication of God’s house stood the elders of the tribes, the priests and the Levites. All the Levitical singers were present, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthum with their sons and relatives. They had a variety of instruments: cymbals, psalteries and harps. Across from them stood 120 trumpet blowing priests. There was going to be some seriously loud praising going on.

Solomon stood on the bronze scaffold and addressed the people. He blessed the whole congregation as they stood. He praised God. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel….who made a promise to David and today has fulfilled.” Then Solomon knelt down before the people, spread his hands toward heaven and prayed.

Can you see it? Solomon, the King, let the people see him, humble himself before the altar of God. And he prayed.

Tomorrow: Solomon’s prayer.

My Amazing Finds

Just because I couldn’t find soy tofu.

In one of the vegan food groups I belong to, it was mentioned that there was a scarcity of tofu. I had not experienced that then but a few days later it happened. I went to my local market where I could always find a variety of tofu. There were only two packages of firm tofu. I bought one and used it for breakfast, tofu scramble. A few days later I went to that same market and there was none. I went to another market and there was none. I really wanted to try that frittata recipe. I went online and made two amazing discoveries: chickpea flour tofu and a chickpea flour frittata recipe.

In order to make the frittata with this recipe, I needed another unfamiliar ingredient, black salt, also known as kala nanak. Black salt turns out to be a middle eastern salt that smells like egg yolks. It gives the mixture an eggy taste. Where do I find this? First I checked Whole Foods and then Trader Joe’s. Not there. Well to shorten this story, I found it in a local Indian market. This market had not only the black salt but a plethora of other spices and products usually used in vegan recipes. I want have to search for chickpea flour either. This market, another amazing find. It’s near my home. Yes!

Back to the frittata. I made it this morning and it was good. I had to cook it longer than stated but I guess it’s because of that Houston humidity.

Chickpea Frittata, Grapes and Bananas
This morning’s breakfast.

Note:

Black salt powder is pink like Himalayan sea salt. It is also called kala nanak.

Vashti, Wrong and Wronged!

Vashti, I found nothing in my research to explain or support your behavior. You may have had a legitimate reason for rejecting King Ahasuerus’ request. I may never know. I can only guess based on what the scriptures tell us.
1. You both were probably drunk and feeling quite emboldened. We know he was.
2. You may have decided to become a feminist at that moment. Were you tired of parading around in front of a bunch of drunken men so the king could puff out his chest?

3. Were you just tired? You had been partying for seven days also.

Whatever your reason, it wasn’t a wise move. Girl, you knew your man. You knew he was a proud man who would be drunk and showing off. You also knew those princes. After all, the wives were at your banquet. I’m sure they had some input. Did they put you up to it? đŸ¤”

That said, I did see how you were WRONGED!

I don’t believe you thought or knew you were in danger and here is why. When you denied  the King’s request, he asked his advisors what did the law say regarding your behavior.  They never answered that question and the King was too drunk and angry to notice. Instead, for their own fearful and selfish reasons, they convinced the King to be harsh in punishing you. Why? So their wives would not oppose them. Got to keep them in their place.
King Ahasuerus did not respond to you according to the law. He created a new one that he later regretted.

Vashti, you were Wrong and you were Wronged!

Frankenstein Vegan Pot Pie

Today I made a vegan pot pie again. I found a recipe I liked but I didn’t have all the ingredients at least not exactly like the one’s called for.

She used all purpose flour and I used oat flour. She used almond milk and I used cashew milk. She used vegetable stock and I used a little water and herbs.

I did think I had a stroke of genius when I decided to make it. Last time my crust was too thick. I thought why not use the store-bought pie crust that I had bought for sweet potato pies. One for the bottom, the second for the top. I thawed the pie crust but I couldn’t get it out of the tin without it falling apart. I pieced it together and hoped for the best. Hence, the Frankenstein vegan pot pie.

The results didn’t look so bad.

The taste was good but I may change the herbal profile. My husband said it was a little sweet. I’m very satisfied.

Vashti, Why?

One of my bible study groups is studying the Book of Esther during this shutdown. I have studied it several times. It is one of my favorite. All my focus is usually on Esther and all the events surrounding her. This time another person jumped up and grabbed my attention. Vashti.

I always wondered why she disobeyed the King. Why did she refuse to go to his feast? The scriptures don’t tell us. So I must surmise.

First, I will have to explore ancient Persian culture. What typically happened at these feast? Second, I will try to find the Book of the Chronicals of the Kings of

Media and Persia. This morning I discovered King Ahashueras’ Persian name. It is Khshayarsh. If anyone out there that has information on ancient Persian royal culture please send it to me in the comment section.