Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Fear not (there is nothing to fear), for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you, yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My victorious right hand of rightness and justice.”
“Do like a child and lean and rest
Upon thy Father’s arm;
Pour out they troubles on His breast,
And thou shalt know no harm.
Then shalt thou by His hand be brought,
By ways which now thou knowest not,
Up through a well-fought fight,
To heavenly peace and light.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Haman) thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai…And Haman said unto King Ahasuerus, ‘There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the providences of thy kingdom, and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep thy the king’s laws; therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed; and I will pay ten thousand talents (some say at today’s rate $300,000,000). of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries.’ And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jew’s enemy. And the king said unto Haman, the silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee. Then were the king’s scribed called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of the king Ahasuerus was it written and sealed with the king’s ring…The posts went out, being hastened by the king’s commandment, and the decree was given in Shushan the palace. And the king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city Shushan was perplexed (Hebrew: involved and entangled).
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Mordecai’s Not Enough” Part 22
“Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave and notice…Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Matthew 10:29, 31
In what ways do I think my heavenly Father takes care of me and notices everything that affects my life?
Have I ever felt that what is happening in my life everyday is really not important to anyone but myself?
“Listen to Me says the Lord and all the remnant of the house of Israel, you who have been borne by Me, from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age, I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you.”
Isaiah 46:3, 4
“We may all witness for God that He has been gracious to us. We have been borne by Him from the belly, from the womb…We have been the constant care of His kind providence, carried in the arms of His power and in the bosom of His love and pity…All that is in us which is born of God is borne up by Him, else it would soon fail. Our spiritual life is sustained by His grace as necessarily and constantly as our natural life by His providence. The saints (of God) have acknowledged that God has carried them from the womb, and have encouraged themselves with this consideration of it in their greatest straits.”
A Psalm of David
“I was cast upon You from my very birth, from my mother’s womb, You have been my God. Be not far from me, for trouble is near and there is none to help…I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is softened with anguish and melted down within me. My strength is dried up like a fragment of clay pottery; with thirst my tongue cleaves to my jaws.”
Within the closed walls of the palace in Shushan, the evil Haman, set upon revenge against his mortal enemy, Mordecai the Jew and he had finally come up with a scheme to get back at the man who refused to bow down before him. It is here in Esther 3 where we are witness to the evil tactics undertaken by individuals who live their lives, fed by the muddy shallows of revenge. As author Jo Berry so correctly observes, “Returning evil for evil is the childish attitude of ‘he did this to me so I’ll do this to him.’”
Indeed, this was exactly the behavior which Haman undertook as he fostered a wrathful spirit against Mordecai. In fact, when he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he didn’t decide to take on the one man he felt had not honored him and his advanced position within the Medo-Persian government, instead, as part of his grandiose plans, Haman made the decision to wipe out all the Jews in Medo-Persia.
The 17th century English clergyman, Thomas Manton, stated “A revengeful spirit is contrary to our heavenly calling.” And there was nothing heavenly in any of Haman’s actions. Nor in any person who lives by the law: “I’ll get even with you!”
With paper and pen in hand, Haman took his complaint to King Ahasuerus, laying out his unscrupulous plan in nearly identical terms as the hostile men in King Darius’ regime. Sadly, the Medo-Persian kings appeared to fall quite easily to the stroking of their immense egos for without checking on the motives of those who came with tattle-tales about others in the government, we find that both Daniel and Mordecai, two of the most faithful loyalists to Medo-Persian kings, could easily have been killed. But instead of checking on the “why” behind the call for murder of so many people under his rulership, King Ahasuerus “took his signet ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman…the Jews enemy.” But the foolish king didn’t just stop there. He called for his scribes who constructed notices, in the languages of all the different provinces and then had these “death warrants” “sent by posts” and “published unto all people.”
What’s more, we find in Esther 3: 15, and I’m quoting The Message Bible for its descriptive language clearly underlines both the cavalier behavior exhibited by Haman and the King Ahasuerus: “At the king’s command, the couriers took off, the order was also posted in the palace complex of Susa. The king and Haman sat back and had a drink while the city of Susa reeled from the news” (Esther 3: 15, The Message Bible). It’s very likely that there were many people of Jewish heritage who faithfully served the king and this outlandish idea by Haman took them completely off guard as we will learn tomorrow.
For today, I want to ask you a question that came into my mind when I read the entirety of Esther Chapter 3 in The Message Bible, especially Esther 3: 6, “Meanwhile having learned that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman hated to waste his fury on just one Jew.” As I prayed over the words of Scripture, the phrase “just one Jew” really touched deep in my heart.
With memories of pictures I’ve recently seen from the time of the holocaust, I thought how evil people, who didn’t want to kill just “one Jew” had allowed themselves to become involved in an atrocity that is totally incomprehensible. But this is what happens when evil is given shelter and nourishment in a sin-filled heart.
There’s also another insight which came to my mind as I read that phrase, “just one Jew.” So often we may get the mistaken idea, as we witness one world tragedy after another, that “just one person” doesn’t seem to matter. We talk about the “earthquake in Italy;” the “war in Syria;” the “Boko Haram kidnapping of young Chibok school girls;” and the “record flooding of homes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana;” and the words can roll off our tongues so easily at times. Because there’s so much heartache and pain, we hardly know where to start when we pray.
Unfortunately, the larger the disasters, the more difficult it can become to think that God’s attention and care includes even me and my needs today. Maybe like myself, you have felt embarrassed bringing your prayer requests to God because there are so many other needs that seem so much bigger and more critical than your own needs. Maybe you haven’t sent a prayer request to Transformation Garden because as someone wrote to me a few days ago, ‘I really didn’t think I should send this request because there are others whose load is so much heavier than mine.” If you may feel this way today, I want you to remember that we serve a loving Father whose heart breaks for the one sparrow that falls to the ground and for the one heart that is breaking and for the one man, Mordecai, who was too insignificant for an evil Haman to care about killing so he decided to just kill all the Jews in Medo-Persia.
This story in Esther calls out to each of God’s precious children down through time – “ONE” matters to our Father and always will. You matter to Him even when you feel you are the only person on earth that is facing a challenge too big for you to carry alone, all by yourself! In the touching words penned by Graham Maule who is from Scotland:
A Touching Place
“Christ’s is the world in which we move,
Christ’s is the folk we’re summoned to love,
Christ’s is the voice which calls us to care,
And Christ is the “One” who meets us here.
To the lost, Christ shows His face,
To the unloved, He gives His embrace;
To those who cry in pain or disgrace;
Christ makes, with His friends, a touching place.”
Love Soars Where Eagles Cease To Fly
“Love soars where eagles cease to fly,
Love sounds the grief beneath a sigh,
Love ponders how or why,
Love always lives.
Love sings when silence chills the air
Love stills when chaos shatters care,
Love understands our calm despair,
Love always lives.
Love enters into joy and pain,
Love fills the dead with life again,
Love will endure, will still remain,
Love always lives.
Love joins our hearts and minds as one,
Love shares our grief, our joy, our fun,
Love works, love’s work is never done,
Love always lives.
Love offers insight to our care,
Love breathes compassion through the air,
Love thrives when life is foul or fair.
Love always lives.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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