Daily Devotion for October 1, 2010
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.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for Goodness (based on Psalm 1)
Heavenly Father, who has given us the gift of thy law, so that we might know our sin, and thy Son, that we might be forgiven where we fall short. Give me the grace to remember your holy Word, when my surroundings tempt me to confusion and weakness, that I might more nearly approach true obedience to your will. Help me to resist the arguments of the ungodly; let me not be deceived by false beauty; and let me never replace the truth which you have put into my heart with the clever words of men. Through Christ I pray,
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, let me think about these things. What I have learned and received, let me do; and the God of peace be with us all.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Nebuchadnezzar Plans Further Conquests
In the eighteenth year, on the twenty-second day of the first month, there was a discussion in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, about taking revenge on the whole world, as he had threatened. He summoned all his ministers and nobles, laid before them his secret plan, and urged the total destruction of those countries. They decided to do away with all those who had refused to comply with the order he had issued.When he had completed his plan, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians, summoned Holofernes, general in chief of his forces, second to himself in command, and said to him:
"Thus says the great king, the lord of all the earth: Go forth from my presence, take with you men of proven valor, a hundred and twenty thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry, and proceed against all the land of the West, because they did not comply with the order I issued. Tell them to have earth and water ready, for I will come against them in my wrath; I will cover all the land with the feet of my soldiers, to whom I will deliver them as spoils. Their slain shall fill their ravines and wadies, the swelling torrent shall be choked with their dead; and I will deport them as exiles to the very ends of the earth."
"You go before me and take possession of all their territories for me. If they surrender to you, guard them for me till the day of their punishment. As for those who resist, show them no quarter, but deliver them up to slaughter and plunder in each country you occupy. For as I live, and by the strength of my kingdom, what I have spoken I will accomplish by my power. Do not disobey a single one of the orders of your lord; fulfill them exactly as I have commanded you, and do it without delay."
Notes on the Scripture
I apologize for some old devotionals the past week. I was out of town and things got messed up a bit. Today's Scripture picks up the story of Judith, which was started about ten days ago -- Devotional for August 2 -- so you might want to have a look at it.
The reference to "earth and water" in the second paragraph refers to a custom of the day, where a general who wanted to surrender would send earth and water to the opposing general; it was the equivalent of a white flag. More important, the words "as I live" had significance in the Persian period that they do not have now; it is an oath taken before a deity. Nebuchadnezzar has decided to become not simply a great king and conqueror, but a living god. This was not shocking at the time; two great civilizations, the Egyptians and the Romans, would make their living or dead rulers into gods.