Anglican Morning Devotion for 8 June 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
O Zedekiah king of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of thee, Thou shalt not die by the sword: But thou shalt die in peace: and with the burnings of thy fathers, the former kings which were before thee, so shall they burn odours for thee; and they will lament thee, saying, Ah lord! for I have pronounced the word, saith the LORD. Then Jeremiah the prophet spake all these words unto Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, When the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem, and against all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish, and against Azekah: for these defenced cities remained of the cities of Judah. Jer 34:4-7 (KJV)
Lights are important to reveal things otherwise hidden in darkness. Trains, automobiles, and ships have running lights to light the path of safety and purpose. Aircraft, too, have such lights for landing and to identify direction of flight. Even the absence of light can be the signal precursor of finality, sorrow or tragedy. During my years as a cadet, it was not a happy moment when the bugler sounded Last Post which proclaimed the moment of ‘Lights Out!” It mattered not if we had finished our class assignments or not, Lights Out announced the end of the day’s labor and all activity ceased.
Sailing vessels of olden days depended upon the sweeping beams of the Lighthouse for coastal navigation as well as the harbor lights for navigating the harbor to anchorage. Lights are important and they have been used from ancient days. Traversing the high deserts of central Iran (ancient Persia) I observed watchtowers built on mountain peaks some of which were at the 14,000 ft. level. These were used to signal approaching enemies of invasion. I suppose they must have dated back to Cyrus the Great. They seemed completely inaccessible by any ordinary means.
When Zedekiah was king in Jerusalem, Nebuchadrezzar, King of Babylon, sent his armies into Judah to subjugate the cities thereof, or else destroy them. The cities of Judah resisted and all were destroyed save the principal cities of the land – Azekah, Lachish, and Jerusalem. These three cities were surrounded by the armies of King Nebuchadrezzar so that no man could travel from one to another of the cities. The men of these three cities built signal fires to burn on the walls of the three cities at night so that the King in Jerusalem would know that they still were defended. According to Letter #4 of the Letters of Lachish (found in the ruins of Babylon), Azekah fell first. Then the letter states that the signal fires were not seen on the fateful night of the city’s fall, and King Zedekiah was informed that Lachish, too, had fallen. Thus was left only Jerusalem whose fate was sealed owing to their disobedience of God.
The city fell to the Babylonians and all the princes and chief men of the city were put to death. King Zedekiah and all his sons were brought before Nebuchadrezzar who had all the kin of Zedekiah slaughtered before the eyes of Zedekiah. This was the last thing Zedekiah ever saw for the King of Babylon had his eyes put out and he was carried away captive to Babylon.
America has been called a City of Light set on a hill. It provided the signal fires of freedom to all the world. If those signal fires are ever extinguished, there will remain no place else to go on this earth to find freedom.
May I venture to say that the signal fires of freedom in our beautiful land are growing dim and flickering. Shall we, too, face such a horrible destruction as Jerusalem owing to our disobedience to the God of our Fathers? Or shall we repent of our evil ways and seek the face of our Lord in humble prayer?
If my people, which are called by my name (Christian), shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.2 Chron 7:14 (KJV)