Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Commit your way to the Lord, roll and repose each care of your load on Him; lean on Him and rely on Him; and be confident also in Him and He will bring it to pass.”
“Plan not, nor scheme – but calmly wait;
His choice is best.
While blind and erring is thy sight,
His wisdom sees and judges right,
So trust and rest.”
Adelaide A. Procter
“’Great peace have they which love My law.’ They see that from Me, the Sovereign Ruler of the world, who governth all things with infinite wisdom, order, and love, nothing but good can spring; and that I can take care of them and their affairs far better and more successfully than they could of themselves. Thus, considering that all that happens to them comes from Me, they are strong with an invincible patience, and bear all things, not only with resignation (acceptance); but with cheerfulness and joy, tasting in all things that befall them externally or internally the sweetness of My ineffable love…Even in the midst of tribulations and difficulties, it is I who sweetly dispose all things, and that whatever happens, springs from the inexhaustible fountain of my goodness.”
Catherine of Siena
Today’s Study Text:
Text 1. “What shall we do unto the Queen Vashti according to the law, because she hath not performed the commandment of the King Ahasuerus by the chamberlains?”
Text 2. “But the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Him (Jesus) a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in front, and then said to Him, ‘Now, Master, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. According to the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now, what do You say about her.’”
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Vashti’s Value ” Part 8
Definition of Value: “To regard highly. To esteem. To rate according to relative estimate of worth or desirability.”
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”
The Message Bible
“It is love which gives things their value.”
If asked, what “value” would I place on myself?
In what ways does other people’s opinion of me affect the “value” of who I am?
Who or what makes me feel valuable?
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.”
(Considering the time in history that the words above were penned or spoken by Marcus Aurelius, I have taken the liberty to place these words in the 21st century verbiage where women have been empowered to fulfill the plan God has designed for their lives.)
“I have often wondered how it is that a woman can love herself more than all the rest of women, and yet, set less value on her own opinions of herself than on the opinions of others.”
with assistance from Dorothy Valcarcel
“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it – we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”
1 John 3:1
The Message Bible
Something had to be done – immediately! The queen had ignored King Ahasuerus’ order. From her royal banquet feast, given for the women in the palace, the queen had refused to come when summoned.
Actually, her bold action was really a response to the reason and timing of the king’s dictatorial mandate. The Biblical narrative makes it clear that the queen’s refusal to obey Ahasuerus sent the king into a “crack-up” as the Hebrew called his furious meltdown. In a state of boiling rage, the king posed this question to his seven advisers, (and I am paraphrasing the words found in Esther 1: 15), “What are we allowed to do because of this willfully defiant rebellious queen? What is permitted by law? How far can we go?”
I find the thoughts shared by Jon D. Levenson in his commentary on Esther shed light on the harshness of the king’s inquiry:
“The question that Ahasuerus poses to his councilors in Esther 1: 15 is redolent (emits a smell) of legalism and altogether lacking in feeling. The issue is one of precedent and procedure; the element of human relations fails to come into the king’s view. Once again, the (king’s) office is paramount; the man who holds it uses it to hide from personal responsibility.”
It is the advice of Memucan, speaking on behalf of the other advisors that Levenson calls “satire.” Why? Because the princes came to the conclusion that Vashti’s behavior was so offensive that upon consideration, the “minister” concluded this wasn’t just a slap in the face to the king, but indeed, it was an act against “all the officials and even all the peoples in the empire.” As Levenson points out, this assumption “exhibits an extreme lack of proportion. The offense (if such it really was) was being vastly inflated. In the absence of Vashti or anything upon which to rely other than legal and astrological precedent, no reality check world be possible…Memucan’s belief is that if word gets out about what Vashti had done, all the ladies in the empire would imitate (her)…In Memucan’s anxiety about an uprising by the female population, the irony is exquisite, for at the end of Chapter 2, an insurrection will indeed be in the works – not against all the noblemen of the empire, but only against Ahasuerus.”
What is obvious in this interesting portion of Scripture is that no one, including King Ahasuerus tried to look at the human reasons behind the queen’s refusal to obey as ordered. The facts weigh heavy on the side of the minimal value placed upon Vashti’s entire being. Already we have witnessed her treatment as nothing but a trophy to show-off. With no one interested in her as the person she was, it is easy to imagine that the queen’s refusal was something she knew would have tremendous repercussions.
As I’ve been studying for the past couple of months, it wasn’t until this week, as I again read about the king’s insistence on using the letter-of-the-law against his queen that another experience came to mind, this time from the New Testament. Rather than the king asking his ministers to assist him in finding out what the law would allow in helping him rid himself from a queen he felt embarrassed and defied him in front of his supposedly closest allies, this time we find it was the religious leaders, the Pharisees and Saducees who brought an adulteress to Jesus. Their intent was nothing good. They didn’t have any concern for the woman they called an adulterer. To the contrary, they crowed about the fact that she’d been “caught in the very act.” Which begs the questions: How did these peeping-toms catch her in the first place? Were the stalkers laying a trap? And exactly what did these supposed paragons of holiness want out of their “letter-of-the-law” attack? What they hoped would happen was this – they wanted to be able to attack Jesus as a lawbreaker.
How revealing it should be to all of us that whether it was a foreign heathen king and his troop of prince’s or a “by the law” group of so-called “Holy men” – whenever we misplace the value God puts on all His children, every person in the entire world, and try to attach dehumanizing labels to those around us, we risk becoming no better than a heartless despot or a critical, gossip circle pointing fingers and accusing those we judge so very harshly.
When the Bible repeatedly tells us that God’s love is beyond our comprehension and that His mercy extends its hand to the very worst of us, it would do us well, when confronted by the Vashti’s of this world or the woman caught in adultery to recognize that God’s circle of love is a lot larger than ours. In the words of the Apostle Peter, one of Jesus’ dearest friends, who was on the receiving end of God’s infinite grace: “The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering, extraordinarily patient toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance” (II Peter 3: 9, Amplified Bible). This promise includes every person, including the Vashti’s and an unnamed woman who was caught in the act. That’s the “value” God places on you and me. He’ll go to every length to see that He gets to spend eternity – forever – with each one of us.
Several days ago, I came upon a list created by Israelmore Ayivor, a born-again Christian writer who identified seven things negative people do in our lives. I was so taken with his words I chose to include his list in today’s devotional for if the people we choose to associate with do not “value” us as God does, indeed they will have a truly negative affect on our lives.
Seven Things Negative People Will Do To You
1. Demean your value!
2. Destroy your image!
3. Drive you crazily!
4. Dispose of your dreams!
5. Discredit your imagination!
6. Defame your abilities!
7. Disbelieve your opinions!
Never forget, our Father in heaven places so much “value” on you that He has a list too:
1. He sent His only Son to rescue you! (John 3: 16)
2. He has a special plan for your life designed just with you in mind! (Jeremiah 29: 11)
3. He has indelibly imprinted a picture of you on the palm of each of His hands. (Isaiah 49: 16)
4. He collects every tear that drops from your eyes and puts them in His bottle of remembrance. (Psalm 56: 8)
5. He makes no mention of your past sins nor does He even recall them. (Zephaniah 3: 17).
6. He has blotted out like a thick cloud all our transgressions. (Isaiah 44: 22)
This is what our Father looks like. The Father who values you and me above any thing on earth. The Father who is our Rescuer and our Eternal Hope.
Blessing: Be blessed, you who were born in the very image of God. Be blessed, you who feast with grace and with care. Be blessed, you who dare to dream new dreams. In this turning of seasons, in this turning of life, be blessed!”
Jan L. Richardson
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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