Archive for October 13th, 2016

1 Maccabees 6: Siege and Peace

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Francesco Hayez: Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

Francesco Hayez: Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem

God abides with us in peace even during siege. We reflect on this as we remember a Favorite from March 29, 2008.

 This chapter is full of the back-and-forth-ness of prolonged battle.  It speaks of what the Spanish call the vaivén or the going and coming of a situation, a people or a period of time.  We may want to consult a commentary as we wade through the warfare we encounter here.

As King Antiochus the Fourth was passing through Mesopotamia, he heard of a city in Persia, named Elymais, which was famous for its riches in silver and gold.

We know that stored goods are too great a temptation for those who value the world more than they treasure the kingdom of God.

The temple was very rich, containing gold shields, armor, and weapons left there by Alexander, son of King Philip of Macedonia, who was the first to rule the Greek Empire.

We have all been participants – either willing or unwilling – in a protracted, pitched battle for something we hold dear.

Remains of the Arca Citadel in Jerusalem

Remains of the Arca Citadel in Jerusalem

Antiochus came and tried to take the city and loot it, but he didn’t succeed, because the citizens had learned what he was planning to do, and they drew up their troops to resist him. In great frustration he withdrew to return to Babylonia.

There are times in our lives when we have behaved badly, with anger and revenge, insult and brutal indifference.

In Persia a messenger reached Antiochus with the news that the armies he had sent into Judea had been defeated. Lysias and his strong army had been forced to flee from the Jews, who were now reinforced by the additional weapons, supplies, and loot they had taken from the defeated armies.

There are other times in our lives when we have behaved with integrity and honesty, justice and compassion. No matter the circumstance, God is always with us, offering us an opportunity to trust God’s mercy and compassion.

When we find ourselves under siege, we only need ask ourselves this question: Have we looked for God’s Peace to replace the siege that grips our lives?

For the fascinating story of the unearthing of the Arca Citadel, click on the image above or visit: http://www.timesofisrael.com/maccabean-era-fortress-unearthed-in-jerusalem-after-century-long-search/


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