Devotional Week 40 Monday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord has said, ‘This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing.”
“Why do you worry yourself? What use can your fretting serve? You are on board a vessel which you could not steer even if the Captain put you at the helm, of which you could not so much as reef a sail, yet you worry as if you were captain and helmsman. Oh, be quiet; God is Master!
No, His coursers rush furiously on, and His chariot is the storm; but there is a bit between their jaws, and He holds the reins, and guides them as He wills! Jehovah is Master yet; believe it; peace be unto you! Be not afraid.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Today’s Study Text:
“Then Esther bade them return to Mordecai this answer, ‘Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther commanded him.”
Esther 4: 15-17
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Decisive Step” Part 29
“Because of the Holy spirit’s witness and illuminations, you never have to be alone in your decisions – but this is true only as long as you’re seeking the mind of God and wanting to do His will.”
In what ways has God made a way for me when I’ve been confused as to where I should go or what I should do in my life?
“When we fail to wait prayerfully for God’s guidance and strength, we are saying with our actions if not our lips, that we do not need Him.”
“Where God guides, He provides.”
“Sometimes we need to face facts to rouse action. Sometimes we need a friend, a loved one to appeal to us even on the low level of self-preservation. We need to stir up each other to do what God expects.”
Esther: Courage In Crisis
You can’t help but admire a man like Mordecai. Living in a foreign land where the Almighty God was not worshipped, this Jewish follower of Jehovah had not only raised his young cousin, but he had also instilled in this beautiful young woman, Esther, an abiding love and loyalty to the God of heaven and earth.
Now in a moment of severe crisis, Mordecai had to confront Esther, who had become the Queen of Medo-Persia. He had to, as the quote above by author Margaret Hess tells us, “appeal to (her) even on the low level of self-preservation.” As Mordecai pointed out, “Do not flatter yourself that you shall escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews” (Esther 4: 13, Amplified Bible).
However, Mordecai didn’t just stop by telling Esther that her true identity would eventually come to light. He knew that someone in Shushan would spill the beans and the secret that she too was a Jew would get her into trouble eventually.
I have to believe that Esther’s words in Esther 4: 15 only tells us a little about what went through the mind of the queen: “Then Esther told them to give this answer to Mordecai.” She had to weigh the good and bad. As author Margaret Hess lays out Esther’s choice, her decision came down to “die for certain in 11 months, or risk dying now. She undertook her responsibility with all the elation of a person going into a heart operation: possible death as against sure death.”
Biblical scholars point to this pivotal moment in the relationship between Esther and her cousin Mordecai. As commentator Samuel Wells reveals, “Mordecai cannot know that there will be deliverance for the Jews or that Esther would be excluded from it. But it creates a poignant picture…The rhetoric is masterful and rests on status. Esther is low because she is a Jew like any other. She is uniquely low because she is alone among even the lonely. Yet suddenly she is stratospherically high because she alone has royal status, and this is the defining moment in her and her people’s existence, and only she can take the decisive step.”
I want to ask you a question today: “Has God called you to take a decisive step in your own life – whatever it may be?” Just imagine the critical moment in the life of Esther, a beautiful young woman whose desires were fulfilled by a host of pampering Medo-Persians. But now, she has to make a decision so critical, it literally meant life or death for not only the thousands of Jews scattered throughout Medo-Persia, but her life was on the line as well.
The British Bishop and scholar Brooke Foss Westcott, writing about the guiding Hand of God, especially in those times in our life when we need Him to help us make the right decision and walk in the path He has carved our for us, states:
“It is not enough to hold that God did great things for our fathers (and mothers); not enough to pride ourselves on the inheritance of victories of faith; not enough to build the sepulchers of those who were martyred by men unwilling, in their day of trial as we may be in our own, to hear new voices of a living God. Our duty is to see whether God is with us; whether we expect great things from Him; whether we do not practically place Him far off, forgetting that, if He is, He is about us, speaking to us words that have not been heard before; guiding us to paths on which earlier generations have not been able to enter.”
Since it is common in studies on the book of Esther to make the point that God’s name isn’t specifically mentioned, at the pinnacle of this crisis, when the “heroes” of the book of Esther, Mordecai and Esther, are pressed against an apparently immoveable and unchangeable law written by Haman against all the Jews in Medo-Persia, believe me, as the quote above emphatically reveals, “He is, He is about us, speaking to us words that have not been heard before.”
In the case of Esther, her time to move forward – to take the necessary steps – to be God’s called at this moment in time which arrived not only with Mordecai’s message, but also with the reality that it may have been human hands that placed a crown on her head, but it was actually God’s hands that guided all the events that transpired in the life of this orphaned Jewish girl, reminds us today that our God is always present and active.
Be assured, just as God was working behind the scenes in Esther’s life so He is working in your life and mine this very day. As the old gospel song states, “The Lord will Make a Way Somehow.” You may not see Him. You may not feel Him. You may not hear Him. But don’t let the devil fool you into believing you have to go it alone. We have a partner at our side to protect and guide – every moment of the day and night. You and I are in the hands of the Almighty!
“Our God, we will trust Thee. Shall we not find Thee equal to our faith? One day, we shall laugh ourselves to scorn that we looked for so little from Thee, for Thy giving will not be limited by our hoping.”
“Show me Your ways, O Lord,
and teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth, and guide me,
for You are the God of my salvation,
and my hope is in You all the day long.
Psalm 25: 45
The Lord Will Made A Way Somehow
“Like a ship that’s tossed and driven, battered by an angry sea.
When the storms of life are raging, and their fury falls on me.
I wonder what I have done, to make this race so hard to run.
Then I say to my soul, soul take courage.
The Lord will make a way somehow.
The Lord will make a way somehow.
This teacher’s journey may not be easy, you did not say it would be.
Sometimes I get so lonely and disheartened, and I just don’t want to be bothered.
Then I began to think Lord what I have done, to make this race so hard for me to run.
Then I say to my soul, soul take courage
The Lord will make a way somehow.
The Lord will make a way somehow.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus