"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away."
Song of Solomon 2:10
Lo, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and he would not have me spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter's rest. He bids me "Rise up," and well he may; for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. He is risen, I am risen in him, why then should I cleave unto the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards him. He calls me by the sweet title of "My love," and counts me fair; this is a good argument for my rising. If he has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus comely, how can I linger in the tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the sons of men? He bids me "Come away." Further and further from everything selfish, grovelling, worldly, sinful, he calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, he calls me. "Come away" has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away, but I am taken among the thorns, and cannot escape from them as I would. I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin. Thou callest me to thyself by saying "Come away," and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me. Thy grace can do it. Send forth thy Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away.
"If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."
What is your desire this evening? Is it set upon heavenly things? Do you long to enjoy the high doctrine of eternal love? Do you desire liberty in very close communion with God? Do you aspire to know the heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths? Then you must draw near to Jesus; you must get a clear sight of him in his preciousness and completeness; you must view him in his work, in his offices, in his person. He who understands Christ, receives an anointing from the Holy One, by which he knows all things. Christ is the great master-key of all the chambers of God; there is no treasure-house of God which will not open and yield up all its wealth to the soul that lives near to Jesus. Are you saying, "O that he would dwell in my bosom"? "Would that he would make my heart his dwelling-place forever"? Open the door, beloved, and he will come into your souls. He has long been knocking, and all with this object, that he may sup with you, and you with him. He sups with you because you find the house or the heart, and you with him because he brings the provision. He could not sup with you if it were not in your heart, you finding the house; nor could you sup with him, for you have a bare cupboard, if he did not bring provision with him. Fling wide, then, the portals of your soul. He will come with that love which you long to feel; he will come with that joy into which you cannot work your poor depressed spirit; he will bring the peace which now you have not; he will come with his flagons of wine and sweet apples of love, and cheer you till you have no other sickness but that of "love o'erpowering, love divine." Only open the door to him, drive out his enemies, give him the keys of your heart, and he will dwell there forever. Oh, wondrous love, that brings such a guest to dwell in such a heart!===
[Sĕnnăch'e rĭb] - the moon-god, sin (the moon-god) hath increased the brothers or destruction of the sword.
The Man Who Built Nineveh
This Assyrian king saw his boasted army destroyed in one night. He himself was slain by two of his sons in Nineveh in the Temple of Nisroch (2 Kings 19:37). Sennacherib's great achievement in this area was the creation of Nineveh as a metropolis of the empire. It was he who built the wonderful palace of Konyungik and the great wall of Nineveh.
The Assyrian king's invading hosts marching through Judah leaving destruction behind them were vividly described by Byron in The Destruction of Sennacherib:
The Assyrians came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.
Fear seized the heart of Hezekiah as he faced the threats of Sennacherib and Rabshakeh, but the courage and faith of Isaiah were a strong tower to the troubled king and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The prophet reminded Hezekiah that Jehovah, and not the horses, material force and human cleverness, was the hope of Judah. Jerusalem was God's city and He would preserve it (Isa. 37:33, 35 ). As we know, the city was saved by a remarkable providence. God commissioned one angel to slay one hundred eighty-five thousand Assyrians. If He can do that with one angel, what is He not able to do with a legion of the angelic army?===
The Woman Responsible for the Murder of a Preacher
Name Meaning: As a member of the Herodian dynasty, perhaps the most despicable dynasty history has known, the name Herodias is but the female form of Herod, the royal name for the political rulers during the time of Christ and the apostles. It was under the vile and cruel orders of the Herods that Jesus and His followers were often persecuted and punished. Herod means "heroic"-not very applicable to the Herodian family, the majority of whom, particularly Herodias, were more hellish than heroic.
Family Connections: Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, daughter of Hyrcanus. Her first husband was Philip I, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, so she married her own uncle, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, whom she used to destroy John the Baptist. When Herod Antipas visited Rome, he was entertained by Philip and Herodias. Herod abducted his royal brother's wife. His own wife, an Arabian princess, was an obstacle to an illicit marriage, so he divorced her, and Herodias became queen in her stead, and with her daughter was installed in the palace. "The corroding immorality of Herod's race shows itself in his marriage with Herodias his brother's wife and the wanton offense thereby given to Jewish sensibilities."
Among the female characters in God's portrait gallery, surely Herodias stands out as one of the most vile and vicious. Amid the putrefying influence of the palace, however, there was one man who knew no fear, John the Baptist. Herod "feared" him and regarded him as "a just man" and whom "he heard gladly." Herod found music in the preacher's message until John sternly rebuked the king by saying of Herodias, "It is not lawful for thee to have her." But such a warning bell was to toll John's doom. For his faithful rebuke of Herod's sin, John was cast into prison, and the evil, scheming mind of Herodias began to work. She was stung by the arrow from the preacher's quiver and hated him for exposing her shame. "For Herodias' sake" he was imprisoned and thus the greatest of the prophets was sacrificed for this vicious and scheming woman. But the hatred of such an unsavory creature was more to be desired than her affection (Matthew 10:23; Luke 6:26). Herodias, with her conscience in turmoil because of her accuser, planned to silence John. She did not want Herod to listen too closely and constantly to John's forceful preaching. She feared her illegal husband-for her first husband was still alive-might repent, and her position as queen, imperiled.
Herodias knew Herod only too well. He easily succumbed to sensual excitement, and as his birthday drew near her foul design was hatched. On the day when drink freely flowed, Herodias used her own daughter to inflame Herod's passions. She was willing to sacrifice her child's modesty in order to bend Herod to her will. Herod was overcome by Salome's form seen through the flowing flimsy garment she wore, and influenced by the act of the dancing girl, he took a rash and foolish oath to give her whatever she asked, even to half of his kingdom. Approaching her mother, Salome said, "What shall I ask?" Without hesitation Herodias, the female hyena, replied, "Ask for the head of John the Baptist." Returning to Herod, Salome presented her demand, and Herod was extremely sorry at such a request. Yet, because of his oath's sake, he sacrificed the preacher whom he regarded as just and holy, and all because of his guilty love for a vile woman. No wonder he was smitten with fear when he heard of the fame of Jesus, thinking it was John the Baptist risen from the dead to torment his conscience further. One wonders how Salome felt when the gory dish of the preacher's head was handed to her?
Herodias' Old Testament counterpart was Jezebel. What Herodias was to Herod, Jezebel was to Ahab. Both Ahab and Herod were wicked, and in both cases the woman was more wicked. Both Jezebel and Herodias fostered hate that became deadly against a prophet of God. Jezebel hated Elijah and sought to kill him-Herodias hated John the Baptist, the New Testament Elijah, and succeeded in his murder. What was the end of Herodias? Since she was the source of Herod's sin, she also became the source of his shame. According to Josephus, Herodias' ambition was the ruin of Herod. Jealous of the power of Agrippa her brother, she prodded Herod to demand of Caligula, the emperor, the title of king. Agrippa saw to it that this demand was refused, and Herod was banished and ended his days in shame and exile. The pride of Herodias forced her to be faithful to her husband in the disgrace and misfortune she herself had caused.===
Today's reading: 2 Samuel 21-22, Luke 18:24-43 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Samuel 21-22
The Gibeonites Avenged
1 During the reign of David, there was a famine for three successive years; so David sought the face of the LORD. The LORD said, "It is on account of Saul and his blood-stained house; it is because he put the Gibeonites to death."
2 The king summoned the Gibeonites and spoke to them. (Now the Gibeonites were not a part of Israel but were survivors of the Amorites; the Israelites had sworn to spare them, but Saul in his zeal for Israel and Judah had tried to annihilate them.) 3 David asked the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? How shall I make atonement so that you will bless the LORD's inheritance?"
4 The Gibeonites answered him, "We have no right to demand silver or gold from Saul or his family, nor do we have the right to put anyone in Israel to death..."
Today's New Testament reading: Luke 18:24-4324 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."
26 Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God."
28 Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"
29 "Truly I tell you," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life...."