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Daily Devotion for October 6, 2010
The Last Supper by Jacopo Bassano
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
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
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.
Psalm 119:53-56 (King James Version)
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
I have remembered thy name, O LORD, in the night, and have kept thy law.
This I had, because I kept thy precepts.
Alchior Advises Holofernes Not to Attack the Israelites
"As long as the Israelites did not sin in the sight of their God, they prospered, for their God, who hates wickedness, was with them. But when they deviated from the way he prescribed for them, they were ground down steadily, more and more, by frequent wars, and finally taken as captives into foreign lands. The temple of their God was razed to the ground, and their cities were occupied by their enemies.
But now that they have returned to their God, they have come back from the Dispersion wherein they were scattered, and have repossessed Jerusalem, where their sanctuary is, and have settled again in the mountain region which was unoccupied. So now, my lord and master, if these people are at fault, and are sinning against their God, and if we verify this offense of theirs, then we shall be able to go up and conquer them. But if they are not a guilty nation, then your lordship should keep his distance; otherwise their Lord and God will shield them, and we shall become the laughing stock of the whole world."
Now when Achior had concluded his recommendation, all the people standing round about the tent murmured; and the officers of Holofernes and all the inhabitants of the seacoast and of Moab alike said he should be cut to pieces. "We are not afraid of the Israelites," they said, "for they are a powerless people, incapable of a strong defense. Let us therefore attack them; your great army, Lord Holofernes, will swallow them up."
Notes on the Scripture
Achior is the leader of the Ammonite contingent of Nebuchadnezzer's army and is relating the history of the Hebrews to Holofernes. He tells Holofernes that he should be cautious. If the Hebrews have relapsed into sin, they can be conquered, but if they are maintaining their covenant with God, He will shield them and the lowly Hebrews might defeat the mighty Persian army.
If you have read the earlier chapters, this reading is full of dramatic irony; that is, the reader or watcher knows something that the characters in the story do not. We know, from Chapter 4, that the Hebrews are full of dread at Holofernes' approach and have been in "full worship mode" for some time. So we suspect that they are not, as Achior puts it, "a guilty nation", and that God is going to intervene on their behalf.