Death of Sennacherib, unknown artist ca. 1430 (France). The death of the Assyrian king who attacked Hezekiah; three scenes are depicted, running right to left in time. (See 2 Kings 19:36-37.)
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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
Father, as I face this new day, let me be aware of the work you have done for me as I slept. I praise you that your loving care never slumbers, but has been with me while I was least aware of it; and that you renew me and the whole world, fresh every day, preparing your plans for me.
I pray that I may seek your will this day, your plan for my life, and carry out your plan in my every action. I lay my hopes and fears on an altar before you, that your Holy Spirit may guide my hopes toward the light of your holiness, and may quiet my fears with the knowledge of your infinite peace, in total confidence that your grace will save me from the evils of this world. In Jesus' name I pray,
Prayer for The Unsaved
O God, the everlasting Creator of all things, I pray for the souls of unbelievers, for they were made by you and formed in your image. Jesus, your Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation. Permit not, I beseech you, Holy Lord, that your Son should be any longer despised by unbelievers, but accept the prayers of those who remember them and be mindful of your mercy.
I pray you to forgive their idolatry and blasphemy, in the hopes that they too may some day know Him whom you have sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may yet be redeemed and delivered, as was always the deep desire of your Son.
“The further the soul advances, the greater are the adversaries against which it must contend.”
~ Evagrius of Pontus (D. 399)
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time,
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.
A superb live performance of the old favorite, How Great Thou Art, from Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and blameless. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
Judith 2:14-28 (NABRE)
Holofernes Ravages Mesopotamia
o Holofernes left the presence of his lord, and summoned all the commanders, generals, and officers of the Assyrian forces. He mustered one hundred and twenty thousand picked troops, as his lord had commanded, and twelve thousand mounted archers, and drew them up as a vast force organized for battle. He took along a very large number of camels, donkeys, and mules for carrying their supplies; innumerable sheep, cattle, and goats for their food; abundant provisions for each man, and much gold and silver from the royal palace.
Then he and all his forces set out on their expedition in advance of King Nebuchadnezzar, to overrun all the lands of the western region with their chariots, cavalry, and picked infantry. A huge, irregular force, too many to count, like locusts, like the dust of the earth, went along with them.
After a three-day march from Nineveh, they reached the plain of Bectileth, and camped opposite Bectileth near the mountains to the north of Upper Cilicia. From there Holofernes took all his forces, the infantry, cavalry, and chariots, and marched into the hill country. He devastated Put and Lud, and plundered all the Rassisites and the Ishmaelites on the border of the wilderness toward the south of the Chelleans.
Then, following the Euphrates, he went through Mesopotamia, and battered down every fortified city along the Wadi Abron, until he reached the sea. He seized the territory of Cilicia, and cut down everyone who resisted him. Then he proceeded to the southern borders of Japheth, toward Arabia. He surrounded all the Midianites, burned their tents, and sacked their encampments. Descending to the plain of Damascus at the time of the wheat harvest, he set fire to all their fields, destroyed their flocks and herds, looted their cities, devastated their plains, and put all their young men to the sword.
Fear and dread of him fell upon all the inhabitants of the coastland, upon those in Sidon and Tyre, and those who dwelt in Sur and Ocina, and the inhabitants of Jamnia. Those in Azotus and Ascalon also feared him greatly.
Notes on the Scripture
The passage doesn’t need much comment, but the place names are odd. Basically, Holofernes is marching an army westward, rampaging Syria, eastern Turkey, and Lebanon.
The lands of “Put and Lud” are mentioned several times in Ezekiel. The mention of the “Ishmaelites” is interesting, since Ishmael (the first son of Abraham, by Hagar) is widely regarded as the patriarch of the Arabs. In Genesis 25, his descendants are said to have ranged from Egypt to Asshur (Assyria). So these Ishmaelites would appear to have wandered to the northwest. And nobody knows who the Chelleans were. I don’t know whether it is more remarkable how little we know about the ancient world, or how much!
Nebuchadnezzar, through his great general Holofernes, seems to be intent on destruction rather than conquest; really, this seems to be primarily a punitive expedition because Nebuchadnezzar’s feeling had been hurt by rejection of his proposals. We see throughout history how much damage can be done by the pride of a demagogue. Even in modern times, the tens of millions of deaths in WW1 were mostly the result of a few squabbling monarchs, such as Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany and the Hapsburgs in Austria-Hungary.