The widow Judith, hearing of the people's harsh words to Uzziah and the city elders, invites these leaders to her house for a discussion. She tells them forthrightly that they should never have laid down conditions like this for God or put God to the test. "God is not man, that he should be moved by threats, nor human, that He may be given an ultimatum." If Bethulia falls she says, all of Judea will fall, and the Holy Sanctuary of the Lord will be destroyed. She reminds them of how God has always taken care of His people through their leaders Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They need to personally pray to God, and ask Him what they should do.
Uzziah, recognizing the truth and wisdom of her words, asks her to pray for them. Instead, she says "Listen to me! I will do something that will go down from generation to generation among the descendants of our race. Stand at the (city) gate tonight to let me pass through with my maid, and within the days you have specified before you will surrender the city to our enemies, the Lord will rescue Israel by my hand."
After the elders agree and leave, Judith prays "O God my God, hear me...a widow. The present also and the future you have planned....Lord, shatter the Assyrians' strength in Your might, give me, a widow, the strong hand to execute my plan....You are the God of the lowly, the Helper of the oppressed, the Supporter of the weak, the Protector of the forsaken, the Savior of those without hope. Please, please, God of my forefathers, God of the Heritage of Israel, Lord of Heaven and earth...hear my prayer."
Judith dresses in her finest garments, packs food and fine wine, and proceeds to the Assyrian camp, where she is captured by the guards. She tells them that she is fleeing the Jews and wants to see Holofernes to give him a report to show him the best way to capture the city so she can save her life when the city falls.
When she is taken to Holofernes' tent, he is amazed by her beauty and plans to seduce her. After three days and nights, she consents to eat and drink with him. She waits until he lies intoxicated upon his bed, prays, grabs his sword, asks God for strength, and cuts off his head. She and her maid put his head in their food pouch and take it back across the enemy lines to show to their city elders. The city rallies and routs the panicked Assyrians. Judith, like Moses, has saved her people.
The Book of Judith is not necessarily historically true. But it is spiritually true. Judith is a woman who speaks freely to others and freely to her God. She speaks freely to God because she KNOWS God with her heart her soul, her memory of what He has done for His people in the past, during their salvation history. She knows God has been faithful! She knows that because her people have been faithful to God, He will remain faithful to them. She prays constantly; she prays to God to inspire her with an "action plan," and she prays during the whole time she is accomplishing her plan.
When we are in crisis, do we take the time to remember our salvation history as Judith does, remind ourselves of how God has always come to His people's aid through Abraham, Moses, and our other leaders? Do we remember Jesus, God in the Flesh, Who personally saved us and lives forever to save us and heal us? Do we remember our own personal life history with God, our Heritage, how He has helped our family and us in the past? Do we remember that God is the One Who has sworn to help and protect the lowly, oppressed, weak, forsaken, hopeless?
Finally, knowing God so well, do we call Him to help us NOW? Do we quietly listen to the plan He has for us? Do we actively pray for a strong hand to execute this plan? He's not asking us to behead Holofernes. But there are fears surrounding us, sapping our energy, making us forget Who God is and who we are and can be if we act in His Name. With God's strength, we can behead every one of those fears!