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Daily Devotion for October 12, 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
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.
May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.
May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.
May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.
Judith Convinces the Elders
"So while we wait for the salvation that comes from him, let us call upon him to help us, and he will hear our cry if it is his good pleasure. For there has not risen among us in recent generations, nor does there exist today, any tribe, or clan, or town, or city of ours that worships gods made by hands, as happened in former days. It was for such conduct that our forefathers were handed over to the sword and to pillage, and fell with great destruction before our enemies.
But since we acknowledge no other god but the Lord, we hope that he will not disdain us or any of our people. If we are taken, all Judea will fall, our sanctuary will be plundered, and God will make us pay for its profanation with our life's blood. For the slaughter of our kinsmen, for the taking of exiles from the land, and for the devastation of our inheritance, he will lay the guilt on our heads. Wherever we shall be enslaved among the nations, we shall be a mockery and a reproach in the eyes of our masters. Our enslavement will not be turned to our benefit, but the Lord our God, will maintain it to our disgrace.
Therefore, my brothers, let us set an example for our kinsmen. Their lives depend on us, and the defense of the sanctuary, the temple, and the altar rests with us.
Besides all this, we should be grateful to the Lord our God, for putting us to the test, as he did our forefathers. Recall how he dealt with Abraham, and how he tried Isaac, and all that happened to Jacob in Syrian Mesopotamia while he was tending the flocks of Laban, his mother's brother. Not for vengeance did the Lord put them in the crucible to try their hearts, nor has he done so with us. It is by way of admonition that he chastises those who are close to him."
Then Uzziah said to her: "All that you have said was spoken with good sense, and no one can gainsay your words. Not today only is your wisdom made evident, but from your earliest years all the people have recognized your prudence, which corresponds to the worthy dispositions of your heart. The people, however, were so tortured with thirst that they forced us to speak to them as we did, and to bind ourselves by an oath that we cannot break. But now, God-fearing woman that you are, pray for us that the Lord may send rain to fill up our cisterns, lest we be weakened still further."
Then Judith said to them: "Listen to me! I will do something that will go down from generation to generation among the descendants of our race. Stand at the gate tonight to let me pass through with my maid; and within the days you have specified before you will surrender the city to our enemies, the Lord will rescue Israel by my hand. You must not inquire into what I am doing, for I will not tell you until my plan has been accomplished."
Uzziah and the rulers said to her, "Go in peace, and may the Lord God go before you to take vengeance upon our enemies!" Then they withdrew from the tent and returned to their posts.
Notes on the Scripture
Judith points out something that the elders had forgotten. God had only forsaken Israel during periods when its people had gone astray and worshipped false gods. But at the time of this story, Israel had for generations been reverent, keeping God's commandments and worshipping only Him. Judith thus believes that the people should have hope, because God had always helped them when they were reverent.
Uzziah, unfortunately, feels like he has given an oath and must keep it. But Judith has not. She has a plan -- by implication, a divinely inspired plan -- and she is confident that the plan will save the city before the five days have passed.