September 17 Devotional (2021)

September 17, 2021
Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings: 1 Kgs 22:10-40 / “Hands, Lord” / Rom 11:25-32

A prayer inspired by Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess, Visionary and Writer, who the Church remembers on September 17th

O God, by whose grace thy servant Hildegard, enkindled with the Fire of thy love, became a burning and shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Invocation

O Lord open thou my lips 

And my mouth shall declare thy praise. 

O God + come to my assistance; 

O Lord, make haste to help me. 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, * and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Opening Prayer

St. Patrick’s Rune 

(This is a poetic version of portions of St. Patrick’s Breastplate by James Clarence Mangan.) 

At Tara to-day in this fateful hour I place all heaven with its power, and the sun with its brightness, and the snow with its whiteness, and fire with all the strength it hath, and lightning with its rapid wrath, and the winds with their swiftness along their path, and the sea with its deepness, and the rocks with their steepness, and the earth with its starkness: all these I place, by God’s almighty help and grace, between myself and the powers of darkness. [1]

Hymn: “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” 

by George Duffield

Lyrics: 

Stand up, stand up, for Jesus, 

You soldiers of the cross; 

Lift high His royal banner, 

it must not suffer loss; 

From victory unto victory, 

His army shall He lead, 

Till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed. 

Stand up, stand up, for Jesus, 

the trumpet call obey; 

Forth to the mighty conflict 

in this His glorious day; 

You that are His now serve 

Him against unnumbered foes; 

Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose. 

Stand up, stand up, for Jesus; 

stand in His strength alone; 

The arm of flesh will fail you, 

you dare not trust your own; 

Put on the gospel armor, 

and watching unto prayer, 

When duty calls, or danger, be never wanting there. 

Stand up, stand up, for Jesus; 

the strife will not be long; 

This day, the noise of battle; 

the next, the victor’s song. 

To valiant hearts triumphant, 

a crown of life shall be; 

They with the King of glory shall reign eternally. [2]


Morning Prayer

From The Great Litany

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment,

           Good Lord, deliver us. [3]

Short Verse

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Vilified in the Bible, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, as seen in this painting by Frederic Leighton, circa 1863, were among the first rulers of Israel as a true kingdom.
(source)

Morning Reading: 1 Kings 22:10-40

A prophet imprisoned

10 King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah, dressed in their royal robes, were sitting on thrones at the threshing floor near the gate of Samaria. All of Ahab’s prophets were prophesying there in front of them. 11 One of them, Zedekiah son of Kenaanah, made some iron horns and proclaimed, “This is what the LORD says: With these horns you will gore the Arameans to death!”

12 All the other prophets agreed. “Yes,” they said, “go up to Ramoth-gilead and be victorious, for the LORD will give the king victory!”

13 Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, “Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.”

14 But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the LORD lives, I will say only what the LORD tells me to say.”

15 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should we hold back?”

Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for the LORD will give the king victory!”

16 But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the LORD?”

17 Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘Their master has been killed.a Send them home in peace.’”

18 “Didn’t I tell you?” the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”

19 Then Micaiah continued, “Listen to what the LORD says! I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the armies of heaven around him, on his right and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, ‘Who can entice Ahab to go into battle against Ramoth-gilead so he can be killed?’

“There were many suggestions, 21 and finally a spirit approached the LORD and said, ‘I can do it!’

22 “‘How will you do this?’ the LORD asked.

“And the spirit replied, ‘I will go out and inspire all of Ahab’s prophets to speak lies.’

“‘You will succeed,’ said the LORD. ‘Go ahead and do it.’

23 “So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets. For the LORD has pronounced your doom.”

24 Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah walked up to Micaiah and slapped him across the face. “Since when did the Spirit of the LORD leave me to speak to you?” he demanded.

25 And Micaiah replied, “You will find out soon enough when you are trying to hide in some secret room!”

26 “Arrest him!” the king of Israel ordered. “Take him back to Amon, the governor of the city, and to my son Joash. 27 Give them this order from the king: ‘Put this man in prison, and feed him nothing but bread and water until I return safely from the battle!’”

28 But Micaiah replied, “If you return safely, it will mean that the LORD has not spoken through me!” Then he added to those standing around, “Everyone mark my words!”

29 So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. 30 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.

31 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had issued these orders to his thirty-two chariot commanders: “Attack only the king of Israel. Don’t bother with anyone else!” 32 So when the Aramean chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. “There is the king of Israel!” they shouted. But when Jehoshaphat called out, 33 the chariot commanders realized he was not the king of Israel, and they stopped chasing him.

34 An Aramean soldier, however, randomly shot an arrow at the Israelite troops and hit the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. “Turn the horses and get me out of here!” Ahab groaned to the driver of his chariot. “I’m badly wounded!”

35 The battle raged all that day, and the king remained propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran down to the floor of his chariot, and as evening arrived he died. 36 Just as the sun was setting, the cry ran through his troops: “We’re done for! Run for your lives!”

37 So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. 38 Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the LORD had promised.

The Monolith of Shalmaneser III mentions a battle the Assyrian army fought against “Ahab the Israelite.”
(source)

Morning Lesson

Ahab Killed in Battle

“Judah and Israel formed an alliance to drive Syria out of Transjordan, and Ahab’s pagan prophets predicted victory. Micaiah, a legitimate prophet of God, predicted that Ahab himself would be killed in the battle; for this prophecy, Ahab had him imprisoned.” [4]

“Why did Micaiah tell Ahab to attack when he had previously vowed to speak only what God had told him? Perhaps he was speaking sarcastically, making fun of the messages from the pagan prophets by showing that they were telling the king only what he wanted to hear. Somehow, Micaiah’s tone of voice let everyone know he was mocking the pagan prophets. When confronted, he predicted that the king would die and the battle would be lost. Although Ahab repented temporarily (1 Kgs 21:27), he still maintained the system of false prophets. These false prophets would be instrumental in leading him to his own ruin.” [5]

Verse 19 says, And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left… Early Church theologian Rabanus Maurus wrote, “How should we interpret the throne of God but as the angelic powers over whose minds the Lord presides from on high while he arranges everything below? And what does the “host of heaven” signify but the multitude of the attending angels? And what does the text mean when it asserts that the host of heaven is to the right and to the left of him? Indeed God, who is within everything as he is also outside everything, is not enclosed to the right or the left, and therefore the right of God indicates the elect portion of the angels, whereas the left designates the evil portion of the angels. In fact, not only the good ones who help God serve him, but so do those who are distressed because they do not want to return [to be helpful]. . . . Therefore the host of the angels is to the right and to the left, because the will of the elect spirit agrees with the divine sense of justice. Therefore the mind of the evil ones, who serve their own malice is forced to fulfill the orders [of the Lord],” (Commentary on the Third Book of Kings 22). [6]

The vision Micaiah saw,” detailed in verses 19-23, “was either a picture of a real incident in heaven or a parable of what was happening on earth, illustrating that the seductive influence of the false prophets would be part of God’s judgment upon Ahab (1 Kgs 22:23). Whether or not God sent an angel in disguise, he used the system of false prophets to snare Ahab in his sin. The lying spirit (1 Kgs 22:22) symbolized the way of life for these prophets, who told the king only what he wanted to hear.” [7]

“Does God allow angels to entice people to do evil? To understand evil, we must first understand God. (1) God himself is good (Ps 11:7). (2) God created a good world that fell because of sin (Rom 5:12). (3) Someday God will recreate the world, and it will be good again (Rev 21:1). (4) God is stronger than evil (Matt 13:41-43; Rev 19:11-21). (5) God allows evil, and thus he has control over it.” [8] However, God is not the author or cause of evil. “God did not create evil, and he offers help to those who wish to overcome it (Matt 11:28-30).” [9] (6) God will use “everything—both good and evil—for his good purposes (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28).” [10] Most importantly, “[t]he Bible shows us a God who hates all evil and will one day do away with it completely and forever (Rev 20:10-15). God does not entice anyone to become evil.” [11]

“Ahab, despite disguising himself, was killed in battle as foretold. His son Ahaziah took the throne and, during his brief reign, continued the practice of idolatry among kings of the Northern Kingdom. Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat was personally faithful to the Lord, expelled the cult prostitutes, but allowed others in Judah to continue idolatrous ways.” [12]

“Ahab could not escape God’s judgment. The king of Aram sent 32 of his best chariot commanders with the sole purpose of killing Ahab. Thinking he could escape, Ahab tried a disguise, but a random arrow struck him while the chariots chased the wrong king—Jehoshaphat. It was foolish for Ahab to think he could escape by wearing a disguise. Sometimes people try to escape reality by disguising themselves—changing jobs, moving to a new town, even changing spouses. But God sees and evaluates the motives of each person. Any attempted disguise is futile.” [13]

Verses 37-38 say, So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it, according to the word of the LORD that he had spoken. Saint Ephrem the Syrian said, “You see, not all the humiliations with which Elijah had threatened Ahab were accomplished, thanks to [the king’s] profound repentance, nor was Ahab’s corpse devoured by birds or wild beasts [see 1Kg 21:24]. Instead he was brought to the royal palace in Samaria, and there, after being celebrated with regal magnificence, was solemnly buried. Ahab died in that battle, which Micaiah had predicted to be fatal . . . to him, even though he did not die on the battlefield but was taken away from there and survived for several hours, before he finally died in the evening. Therefore it seems clear that the dogs were not prevented from licking the blood that flowed on that day and night from his wound,” (On the First Book of Kings 22). [14]

“Contrary to the false prophets, Micaiah does not give Ahab a favorable prediction. For this, the king orders that Micaiah be imprisoned. God does not want us to be guided by what others may wish to hear or by the popular opinions of the day. Rather, our only sure guide through life is God’s Word, which alone can make us ‘wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’ (2Tm 3:15).” [15] “Giving his royal robes to Jehoshaphat, Ahab disguises himself and goes into battle, where he is struck and killed by a ‘random’ arrow. God’s Word never fails; that includes His Word against wickedness and unbelief. Rather than trying to get around God’s Word, flee to that Word, which includes the promises of grace and forgiveness in the crucified and risen Christ.” [16]

“Heavenly Father, keep us through the Scriptures on the way that leads to eternal life in Jesus Christ…[…] Merciful God, You shower down kindness and love every day. How can I ever thank You for all the undeserved goodness that comes my way? Amen.” [17]

The death of Jezebel: Jezebel is thrown out of the window by two soldiers
(source)

Midday Prayer

From The Great Litany

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church Universal in the right way,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [18]

Midday Intercession

[19]

Short Verse

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Midday Reading

       Hands, Lord –

        Your gift to us.

        We stretch them up to You.

        Always You hold them.

        Your hands,

        scarred,

        became a sign

        of Your love

        no time can erase.

        Your hands,

        which have us

        inscribed on their palms,

        pour down blessing

        on the details of our days.

By Laurel Bridges [20]

Eventide Prayer

From The Great Litany

That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word; and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and show it accordingly,

          We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. [21]

Short Verse

“Let us not consider the time which is past, but let a man be even as he who begins, and let him take care in such wise that he will make himself stand before God.”

Sayings of the Holy Fathers
[22]

Eventide Reading: Romans 11:25-32

Do not claim to be wiser than you are

25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,

“The Deliverer will come from Zion,

he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;

27 “and this will be my covenant with them

when I take away their sins.”

28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may nowe receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

Eventide Lesson

The Mystery of Israel’s Salvation

“The mystery which explains the unbelief of so many Jews is that the Gentiles [were] now being united to the remnant of the faithful Jews, and thus this body of believers together form the true Israel. (In Gal 6:15, 16, St. Paul calls those ‘in Christ Jesus’ the ‘Israel of God,’ which is the Church.) This true Israel is not based on biological ancestry but on faithfulness to God’s Deliverer, the Messiah. In this understanding, all Israel will be saved (v. 26).” [23]

Saint Theodoret of Cyrus said, “God convicted the Gentiles, who had received the natural law and had created things to teach them the knowledge of God yet had not benefited from either the one or the other. He also convicted the Jews, who had received more teaching still (for besides nature and the creation they had also received the law and the prophets, who taught them what they needed to know) and had become liable to even greater punishments as a result. But God was pleased to offer salvation to each of them, even though basically they deserved to perish, if only they would believe,” (Interpretation of the Letter to the Romans). [24]

“Paul remind[ed] the Gentiles that they have no superiority over the Jews, for both Jews and Gentile were subject to disobedience, and both receive salvation only through God’s mercy.” [25]

“It was God’s will that Gentiles as well as his Chosen People should find salvation. Through Christ, God fulfilled the promise of salvation made to the Israelites despite their failure to believe in him, a salvation now offered to all people. Paul called the eventual conversion of Israel a mystery (cf. verse 25), possibly alluding to the reality of Israel’s final participation in Christ’s Resurrection (cf. verse 15).” [26]

Compline Prayer 

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy; let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace; and let your blessing be upon us always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [27]

Citations:

[1] Stratman, P. (2001). Loricas. In Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3). Crossway.

[2] Tickle, P. (2000). September. In The divine hours: Prayers for Summertime (Kindle ed., vol. 2, p. 614). New York, NY: Image Books.

[3] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 149). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[4] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Kings. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 914). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[5] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5816). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[6] Rabanus Maurus. (2019). 1 Kings In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1105). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[7] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5817). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[8] Ibid. 7

[9] Ibid. 7 

[10] Ibid. 7 

[11] Ibid. 7 

[12] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). 1 Kings. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 914). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[13] Tyndale House Publishers. (2012). 1 Kings. In Chronological life application study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 5818). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Pub.

[14] Ephrem the Syrian. (2019). 1 Kings In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 1106). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[15] A., E. E. (2016). 1 Kings. In The Lutheran study Bible: English standard version (Kindle ed., pp. 2318). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

[16] Ibid. 15, P. 2319

[17] Ibid. 15, P. 2318-2319

[18] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 150). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[19] Forward Movement. (2013). Intercessions. In Prayers for All Occasions (Kindle ed., pp. 640). Cincinnati, OH: Forward Movement.

[20] The Northumbria Community. (2015). Daily Prayer. In Celtic Daily Prayer (Kindle ed., p. 16948). London: HarperCollins.

[21] Episcopal Church. (1979). The Great Litany. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 150). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated.

[22] Of Scrupulous Watchfulness in our Thoughts and Words and Deeds. (1907). In The Sayings of the Holy Fathers: Books I and II (Kindle ed., p. 116).  W. Budge (Ed.)

[23] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Romans. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1574). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[24] Theodoret of Cyrus. (2019). Romans. In Ancient faith study Bible (Kindle ed., p. 3232). Nashville: Holman Bible.

[25] Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (2008). Romans. In The Orthodox study Bible (p. 1574). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

[26] Cole, J. (Ed.). (2015). Romans. In Didache Bible: With commentaries based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle ed., p. 3431). Downers Grove, IL: Midwest Theological Forum,, Ignatius Press.

[27] Episcopal Church. (1979). Daily Office. In The Book of common prayer: And administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America: Together with the psalter, or, Psalms of David (pp. 133). New York, NY: Church Publishing Incorporated

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: