Joshua and the Five Kings, by James Tissot, ca. 1900.
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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 Forgiveness
Lord, I have betrayed you by following my own way; I have denied you by fearing to follow yours; and I have mocked you by not taking your death seriously. I sometimes feel like I am lost. Let your forgiveness find me. Hold me in your strong arms and give me your new life. Live in me and with me this day, that I may by your power find forgiveness and be made ever anew, reborn from above, living fully in your Spirit every minute. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray,
Have mercy on me, Oh Lord, for I am a humble and miserable sinner. [At this point, pause to remember specific sins you have committed during the day and speak or think them.] I renounce all of these sins, heavenly Father, and repent of them, and I promise to make every effort not to repeat them.
Have mercy on me, pardon me for these offences and any I might have omitted from forgetfulness or ignorance; in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I pray for forgiveness. And I pray that your Holy Spirit may dwell with me in the coming day, to comfort me, to give me strength against temptation, and to guide me into the path of righteousness.
Prayer for the Troubles of the Earth
God of comfort, these times seem so uncertain, so scary. The world seems darker than it has in the past and I am less sure of myself. Maybe that’s a good thing; maybe now I am turning to you with a realization that I need you so much more and that my life is not in my own control.
Let me not forget all of those around the world who are frightened at this moment. Help those who are victims of terrorism and war. Be with those who have lost so much in the past year. Hold us all in your loving arms and let us be comforted by the strength and peace you make available to us through the birth of your son, Jesus; and thank you for all the many gifts you offer us, during our life on earth and for all eternity.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
Our “Saturday Oldie” has the Statler Brothers appearing with Johnny Cash on Music City Tonight, with a nostalgic number.
I dwell in the high and holy place, with those who have a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
1 Samuel 11:1-11 (NLT)
Saul’s First Battle
About a month later, King Nahash of Ammon led his army against the Israelite town of Jabesh-gilead. But all the citizens of Jabesh asked for peace. “Make a treaty with us, and we will be your servants,” they pleaded.
“All right,” Nahash said, “but only on one condition. I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you as a disgrace to all Israel!”
“Give us seven days to send messengers throughout Israel!” replied the elders of Jabesh. “If no one comes to save us, we will agree to your terms.”
When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the people about their plight, everyone broke into tears. Saul had been plowing a field with his oxen, and when he returned to town, he asked, “What’s the matter? Why is everyone crying?” So they told him about the message from Jabesh.
Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry. He took two oxen and cut them into pieces and sent the messengers to carry them throughout Israel with this message: “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who refuses to follow Saul and Samuel into battle!” And the Lord made the people afraid of Saul’s anger, and all of them came out together as one. When Saul mobilized them at Bezek, he found that there were 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 men from Judah.
So Saul sent the messengers back to Jabesh-gilead to say, “We will rescue you by noontime tomorrow!” There was great joy throughout the town when that message arrived!
The men of Jabesh then told their enemies, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you can do to us whatever you wish.” But before dawn the next morning, Saul arrived, having divided his army into three detachments. He launched a surprise attack against the Ammonites and slaughtered them the whole morning. The remnant of their army was so badly scattered that no two of them were left together.
Notes on the Scripture
aul’s anointment as king of Israel has meant little to this point. Many of the people have not accepted him, and he certainly hasn’t rated any sort of kingly accoutrements — he is plowing his field with a team of oxen when news of the Ammonite attack reaches him.
At this time, Jabesh Gilead was a city in the middle of nowhere, far east of the Jordon and fifty or so miles northeast of present-day Jerusalem. Jerusalem itself was, at best, a little farming village; Saul lived in Gibeah, a town just to the north of it. The small southern Hebrew territories where Gibeah and Jerusalem are located were already called ”Judah” (which the Romans called ”Judea”). As can be seen on a map of the time, the Ammonites lived directly east of Judah; the Hebrews were squeezed between them and the Philistines, a sea-people, to the west. (Map of Palestine at the Time of Saul.)
In today’s reading, Saul vigorously and successfully takes up the role of king for the first time. He shows the leadership to rouse the entire Hebrew population. He musters and leads an army of 330,000 men to the besieged city and utterly routs the Ammonite invaders. A nation has been born.
Detail from The Fall of Jericho, a panel in the famous doors of the Baptistry of San Giovanni, Florence, Italy. By Lorenzo Ghiberti, ca. 1410. It captures the nature of the early Hebrews as a traveling armed force.
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