Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5: 14-16
“We are the only light the world has. The Lord could come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we do not give it the world will not have it. God does not put a meteor in the sky to tell us when to shine. We are to be giving light continually wherever we are – at home, among friends, or in church. We should have the attitude that we may never have another opportunity, and so we should always be shining for Him. Let our lamps be trimmed and full of the oil of the Spirit. Above all, let us be a steady light to those without Christ.”
A. B. Simpson
“Let me dwell in Timnath-serah,
Where the sun forever shines.
Where the night and darkness come not,
And the day no more declines.”
A. B. Simpson
Days of Heaven on Earth
Today’s Study Text:
“Esther had not shewed her people nor her kindred; for Mordecai had charged her that she should not shew it. And Mordecai walked every day before the court of the women’s house, to know how Esther did, and what should become of her.”
Esther 2: 10, 11
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Esther’s Big Secret” Part 16
“Secrets are rarely betrayed or discovered according to any program our fear has sketched out.”
What is a secret that has been kept hidden in my life?
If I had been in Esther’s sandals would I have found it easy or difficult to keep hidden my heritage and nationality?
“In the mind and nature of a man (or woman) a secret is an ugly thing, like a hidden physical defect.”
“Secrets are kept from children, a lid on top of the soup kettle, so they do not boil over with too much truth.”
The Joy Luck Club
I have a “secret!” What does the word “secret” trigger when you think about what it means? Do you remember something that was hidden in your own life or the life of another person you care about? Recently a dear friend met his “birth” mother. As his life-story began to be put together, the question was asked, “Did anyone in the family know that the young girl who left home suddenly was pregnant when she was sent out of town to stay with a friend? Everyone said, “No! ” except for the girl’s younger sister. Like my niece Bethanie said to me, “Effie, sisters tell each other everything!” And I’d have to agree with her conclusion on that. It’s rare for sisters to keep secrets from each other. And I’ll add, it is hard for families’ to keep secrets as well.
However, having grown up in a family where there were way too many secrets hidden under the rotted foliage of time, I’ve found myself wondering how much easier life might have been at times had I understood the secrets that served as catalysts for some of the decisions that were made, for without the proper context surrounding specific choices, the perplexity as to how conclusions were arrived at only led to bewilderment and even confusion. Maybe you can recall some of the secrets that were kept hidden in your life as well.
From my perspective, I’ll have to state that at this time in my life, having just celebrated another year on planet earth, I am in total agreement with author Gertrude Bell, in Janet E. Courtney, An Oxford Portrait Gallery, who penned in 1931, these words she emphatically stated, “I will have no locked cupboards in my life.”
When I read this statement, my thoughts whirled with recollections of times when I remember being forced to hide not only circumstances but feelings when in fact, the truth would have relieved the burdens borne in silence.
This is why I find our study texts today to be so interesting. As much as I believe Mordecai loved Esther, his instruction that she hide her Jewish heritage while most likely prudent when Esther found herself in the “Persian Pageant” to replace Queen Vashti, may have also been a decision which caused great concern for the young girl. In fact, in a few weeks, as we follow the continuing story of Esther, we will come upon the truth which often happens. The big secret that Esther kept at the behest of her cousin Mordecai, that she was indeed a Jewish exile, was finally revealed. While I’m certain Mordecai had his doubts if Esther would become the chosen queen if her bloodline had been exposed, it does make me wonder how God would have worked on behalf of His people to deliver them from what appeared to be certain death even if Esther had been identified as a Jewish follower of God.
The fact is that not only was Esther a young girl facing the daunting task of being the queen of Medo-Persia, but everyday when she awoke, she was hit with a daily reminder that someone out there in the land of Medo-Persia might tattle and become the source for the “Persian Enquirer” with this salacious headline: “King In Bed With Jewish Maiden.” For as Margaret Robinson so insightfully notes, “Hiding leads nowhere except to more hiding.” And I really feel for young Esther having to keep hidden the fact that she worshipped a God not well known in Medo-Persia and what’s more, she wasn’t really a Persian after all.
The fact that Mordecai walked by the place where the king’s “women” were kept has to have at least raised a few eyebrows for I can’t help but believe that the keeper of the women, Hegai, must have wondered about Mordecai’s almost obsessive concern for the maiden Esther.
I want to underscore the reality of young Esther’s double life, trying to keep her heritage in the shadows of darkness while living with the spotlight of fame shining glaring lights on all she did. The darkness and light balance in life which sometimes plagues our “real lives” can also affect our spiritual lives as well for we too easily forget that as the Scripture tells us, “God sees all.” We have no secrets from our heavenly Father. In fact, our heavenly King is the one individual who sees all and knows all and yet He loves us all. No secret that we hold close in our heart is absent from His heart. What a relief that the “One” who has seen me in the darkest shadows, loves me even when the light of His glory pours into my most hidden spaces.
Thus, what we can indeed learn from the “Big Secret” that a young girl carried about herself, is that her “secret” did not separate her heavenly Father’s providential light of love, leading her every footstep right into the throne room of the king of Medo-Persia. In the words of Agnes Sanford, “God’s light shines both within us and without us, and by learning to receive Him within we begin to perceive Him without.” As the words to the song tell us: “Let your little light shine!” “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9: 2)
“I have walked with people whose eyes are full of light but who see nothing in sea or sky, nothing in city streets, nothing in books. It were far better to sail forever in the night of blindness with sense, and feeling, and mind, than to be content with the mere act of seeing. The only lightless dark is the night of darkness in ignorance and insensibility.”
“When I look into Your holiness,
When I gaze into Your loveliness,
When all things that surround become
shadows in the light of You.
When I’ve found the joy of reaching Your heart,
When my will becomes enthrall’d in Your love,
When all things that surround become shadows
in the light of You;
I worship You,
I worship You,
the reason I live, is to worship You.”
Cathy and Wayne Perrin
“May the light and love of God shine in our hearts and through the universe that the whole creation may be transfigured to glory, in and through Jesus Christ, radiant in the splendor of the wounds of love.”
“The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.”
Matthew 4: 16
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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