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Daily Devotion for August 26, 2014


Death of Sennacherib
Death of Sennacherib, unknown artist ca. 1430 (France). The fate of the Assyrian king who attacked Hezekiah is depicted in three scenes, running right to left.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.




Prayer for the Morning

For the bird who sings outside my window,
 For the tree that stands outside my door,
For the neighbor who waves and says “good morning”,
I give you thanks dear God, for these and more,


Your blessings every morning know no limit,
Yet I often rush by not seeing them, I fear;
Let me take a moment this and every morning, God, I pray,
To remember all of them, and know that you are here.
Amen.

For the Forgiveness of Sins

My Jesus, I place all my sins before you. In my estimation they do not deserve pardon, But I ask you to close your eyes to my want of merit, and open them to your infinite merit. Since you willed to die for my sins, grant me forgiveness for all of them. Thus, I may no longer feel the burden of my sins, a burden that oppresses me beyond measure.

Assist me, dear Jesus, for I desire to become good no matter what the cost. Take away, destroy, and utterly root out whatever you find in me that is contrary to your holy will. At the same time, dear Jesus, illumine me so that I may walk in your holy light.

Amen.

Meditation

[Root out in me whatever is contrary to Your will.]


Dedication

O  God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, I pray,

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



<i>Angel</i> by Elvira Amrhein, contemporary.
Angel by Elvira Amrhein, contemporary.

Psalm 31:1-2 (ESV)

In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!

Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!


Blue Latin Cross

2 Kings 19 (excerpts) (ESV)

Israel after Solomon (22): Hezekiah defeats Assyria

As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. And he sent the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah. They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.”

Then Isaiah sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel about the king of Assyria:

“By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
But I know your raging against me,
and your arrogance has come into my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.

And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah
shall again take root downward
and bear fruit upward.”

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. Then the king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, his sons struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat.


Notes on the Scripture

Assyria was, perhaps, the first truly great empire of the Middle East. At the time of today's Scripture it has just wiped the bulk of the empire of Solomon and David from the face of the earth; the ten northern tribes of Israel have been transported and will spread over the entire western world, from Istanbul to Spain (and eventually North America). As we can see on an historical map, after the conquest of Israel, they went on to conquer another great empire, Egypt.

Emblem of Jerusalem
Emblem of Jerusalem

But they could not conquer little Judah, a vestigial kingdom; for God's promise to Abraham and David continued to abide. And Judah will continue to exist, although it will go through some painful changes, until God's ultimate plan is brought to fruition: to bring salvation to the entire earth through the final king from the House of David, namely, Jesus of Nazareth.

Hezekiah is a pious king who reigns at an opportune time, but Judah will not always be so lucky; and like Solomon himself, future kings will drift back into idol worship, endangering Judah's precarious existence.

The Bible really makes a major shift with the advent of Isaiah. He is very long-winded, and we will only sample his prophecy. His words in today's reading have been edited down to a fraction of the original — his full speech is found in 2 Kings 19. He and the other prophets of Judah will continue to spew forth harsh warnings for the Kingdom of Judah, whenever its rulers and people turn from Yahweh. (See chart.) But mixed in with the prophecy of Judah's destruction, the prophets will more and more begin to speak of a messiah, one who will come as the greatest of all kings.



endless knot

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1 John 1:7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.



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