Posts Tagged ‘Judas Maccabeus’

2 Maccabees 15: Battle – Part II

José Teófilo de Jesus: A morte de Judas Macabeu – The Death of Judas Maccabeus

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

We know when God joins the battle because we do not see more power, more might or more strength. When we enter the skirmish with God, there is always a call to unity.  That struggle is always the endeavor to heal, restore and reunite.  That fight is fought in the open in the plain light of day rather than in back alleys or under cover of darkness.  We know that the skirmish has God’s blessing when we see the good fruit that is born to replace the rotting fruit of evil.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

When we are confounded by choices, when we feel overcome by something larger than ourselves, when we are anxious about an outcome, we must look to the Lord.  The outcome of the battle between dark and light will be eternal and life-giving.  The result of a clash into which God enters will sustain and heal.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

Tomorrow, God’s armor.

Written on February 28, 2009. 

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Maccabeus

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2 Maccabees 15: Battle – Part I

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Frans Floris the Elder: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

We know this, and yet we insist on determining what best disciplines us, rather than deferring to God’s own discipline.

For those of us who are fortunate to live outside of active warfare, the turbulence of today’s story is reflected in the ups and downs of our daily existence.  Strife appears in many forms.  We might see the bloody stories of Nicanor, Razis and Judas Maccabeus as a more sanguine version of interoffice gossip, of neighborhood one-upmanship, of family betrayal, or backstabbing among apparent friends.  Human beings are constantly striving to prove things, to win battles, to sway or coerce, to be right, to be included, to belong, to exclude.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

We cling to hope that our point will be seen.  We believe that if we work long enough and try hard enough we can win or do anything, rather than understanding that no victory without God is a true victory.  A conquest not attended by God may, in fact, spell the beginning of our end.

Spending hours plotting, gathering others to rally around us, using shrill speech to gain allies, or extreme and ugly force to obtain that on which we have set our eye, these are all tactics we read about today.  We call these measures excessive and beyond necessary; yet they remain the mark of the human struggle that draws us in constantly.

It is not through arms but through the Lord’s decision that victory is won by those who deserve it. 

Use the scripture links to learn more about Nicanor, Razis and Judas Maccabeus.

Tomorrow, God’s skirmish.  

Written on February 28, 2009.

Image from http://www.artnet.com/artists/frans-floris-the-elder/the-triumph-of-judas-maccabeus-_40ZvRvvvz4hHJDvb7i3sA2

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joyWednesday, November 26, 2014

1 Maccabees

Joy and Misery

The Books of Maccabees are fraught with violence, rebellion, abhorrence and fear. We may be surprised to find that joy threads its way through these stories. As we examine the tales of the Maccabees family, let us consider how our own families are caught up in global and local affairs . . . and how miserable circumstances may well be hiding glimmers of joy . . . if we might only look. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of misery.

The opening verses of this story are simple and straightforward; yet they tell a complex story of warring tribes that fill a civil void to wreak havoc on the people.

Verses 1:1-9: This history begins when Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedonia, marched from Macedonia and attacked Darius, king of Persia and Media. Alexander enlarged the Greek Empire by defeating Darius and seizing his throne. He fought many battles, captured fortified cities, and put the kings of the region to death. As he advanced to the ends of the earth, he plundered many nations; and when he had conquered the world, he became proud and arrogant by building up a strong army, he dominated whole nations and their rulers, and forced everyone to pay him taxes. When Alexander had been emperor for twelve years, he fell ill and realized that he was about to die. He called together his generals, noblemen who had been brought up with him since his early childhood, and he divided his empire, giving a part to each of them. After his death, the generals took control, and each had himself crowned king of his own territory. The descendants of these kings ruled for many generations and brought a great deal of misery on the world.

This is a story that is as old as time; yet it is also fresh as it announces events we witness daily.

Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Reubens: The Triumph of Judas Maccabeus

Verses 1:34-40: They brought in a group of traitorous Jews and installed them there. They also brought in arms and supplies and stored in the fort all the loot that they had taken in Jerusalem. This fort became a great threat to the city. The fort was a threat to the Temple, a constant, evil menace for Israel. Innocent people were murdered around the altar; the Holy Place was defiled by murderers. The people of Jerusalem fled in fear, and the city became a colony of foreigners. Jerusalem was foreign to its own people, who had been forced to abandon the city. Her Temple was as empty as a wilderness; her festivals were turned into days of mourning, her Sabbath joy into shame. Her honor became an object of ridicule. Her shame was as great as her former glory, and her pride was turned into deepest mourning.

This is a story that is as old as humanity; yet it is one that offers an opportunity to find joy even in the midst of violence and abuse.  This is a story that repeats itself too often; yet it is a tale that begs for change in stony hearts.

Let us pause to consider how we might break the cycle of violence and misery that seizes the world all too easily. And let us call one another to a new dedication of ourselves to God.

For more Noontime reflections about this tumultuous time, enter the word Maccabees into the blog search bar and explore.

Read more of this story and look for the times that joy finds a way to break through the chains of misery that enslave the people. Look especially at 3:7, 3:45, 4:56-59, 9:41, 13:52 and 14:11-21.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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As we draw close to the end of this week in which we give thanks, let us reflect on winning and losing, gain and loss, living and dying, the eternal and the mortal.

Saturday, November 24, 2012 – 2 Maccabees 8 – Nicanor

Gustave Dorè: Judas Maccabeus before the Army of Nicanor

Here we return to the heroic story of Judas Maccabeus from an earlier portion of the Maccabees’ story; and the role the Maccabeus family plays as a thorn in the side of the Selucid Empire as it struggles to retain control of its territories and holdings.  We see Judah gathering his troops’ we watch military maneuvers and battles.  Winners divide spoils; they celebrate victories.  There is not much different from the evening news except the level of technology we use in killing one another. 

The last verses of this chapter focus on Nicanor, a man who intensely dislikes the Jewish people and all they stand for.  He will appear later in Jewish history and he will eventually be killed in battle; his head and right hand will be on display in Jerusalem for all to see.  But here we read of a time of humiliation for him and we might spend time with this verse: he was eminently successful in destroying his own army.  So he who had promised to provide tribute for the Romans by the capture of the people of Jerusalem testified that the Jews had a champion, and that they were invulnerable for the very reason that they followed the laws laid down by him. 

This new Champion is Judas Maccabeus; the laws are those of the Lord.  The man who intended to be slave-dealer flees like a runaway slave, leaving behind him the clothing that designates him as “A Friend of the King”.  He will later return, but his end will be ignoble.


All of this brings me to thinking about those who float through life establishing their worth as friends of those in power; rather than finding a way to live a genuine life of devotion to God. 

It brings me to thinking about how those who “live by the sword also die by the sword”; ending their lives in the very way they had intended to end the lives of others.

It brings me to thinking about my own life, my own circumstances, and how and where I spend my spiritual and emotional self.  Whom do I value and why?  What do I value and when?  How do I value anyone or anything . . . and do I come to my evaluation with or without God?

We might eliminate a good deal of treachery and betrayal from our lives if we first find a way of doing all things through, and for, and with God alone . . . for God alone guarantees an honorable path for living.  God alone assures us a life spent in eternal serenity.  God alone makes promises that are fully and truly kept. 

For more on Judas Maccabeus and the Selucid Empire, go to: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/353851/Judas-Maccabeus  and http://www.britannica.com/search?query=selucid+empire

Written on November 24, 2010; re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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