Devotional Week 40 Friday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“By Your favor, O Lord, You have established me as a strong mountain.”
Psalm 30: 7
“We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
Shun not the struggle; face it.
‘Tis God’s gift.
Say not the days are evil – who’s to blame?
And fold the hands and acquiesce – O shame!
Stand up, speak out, and bravely,
In God’s name.
It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
How hard the battle goes, the day how long,
Faint not, fight on!
Tomorrow comes the song.”
Maltbie D. Babcock
“Do not pray for easy lives! Pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be a miracle.”
“Today’s Study Text:
“Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house; and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house.”
Esther 5: 1
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Holy Boldness” Part 32
“ God lends a hand to honest boldness.”
How would I define the phrase “holy boldness”?
“You can’t test courage cautiously.”
“Only he (she) who can say, ‘The Lord is the strength of my life,’ can say, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’”
It was a time of fasting and prayer among the Jews scattered throughout the land of Medo-Persia. As the Jews were calling upon Jehovah, along with Esther and her maidens, I can’t help but believe that Esther’s thoughts turned to the upcoming task she faced – going before King Ahasuerus to plead for the lives of her extended family living in a foreign country where they were exiles.
In her sermon “God’s Woman”, Pastor Suzan Johnson of Mariner’s Temple Baptist Church in New York City lays out a very thoughtful portrait of this orphaned girl, now elevated to a place of honor, serving as Queen of Medo-Persia. As Pastor Johnson wisely points out, “God, being who He is, always places someone around us who will remind us of who we are, just as Mordecai reminded Esther who she was.”
Many years ago, long before the car accident which I thought had derailed Jim’s life and mine, a close family friend asked me to work on a project for his company. One day when I was in his office going over the details of the work, he stopped for a moment and said to me, “You know Dorothy, someday God is going to get ahold of you and He is going to call on you to use that “pen” of yours to write for Him – I just know it.” I don’t know how this gentleman knew such a thing. What’s more, he passed away before Transformation Garden ever started. But I will admit, his words bored a hole in my spirit on more than one occasion. In fact, what he said was only confirmed years later when my literary agent, the fabulous Joyce Hart, encouraged me to write a daily devotional. I call these moments in my life, insertions from God.
As Pastor Johnson continues in her inspired words on Esther, “There’s always someone around whom God will touch to reveal the responsibility that’s attached to a position, whether it’s that of a queen, or a deacon, or an usher.” Then she shares this astute observation, “So in the midst of this crisis in Persia, God spoke through a man – Mordecai – to remind a woman – Esther – that she was God’s woman. And Esther realized that even though she was in a powerful position, in secular terms, she didn’t have the real power that she needed…She had to get the power before she could go in to see the king…Esther sought power through fasting and through prayer...This woman of God, fasted. Esther prayed. And when she came forth, she knew that she had a ‘holy boldness.’ She knew that she would not have to fight alone; she would have God to “fight for her.”
It is “Who” Esther could count on to give her “holy boldness” that made all the difference in the world as she walked into the “inner court of the king’s house.” She had not been called upon to visit the king. She came on her own. But with a nation of Jewish Prayer Warriors calling upon Jehovah, she could not fail.
It’s important for us to note in Esther 5: 1 that not only did Esther “put on her royal apparel” but that she also stood as she proceeded toward the king who was sitting on the royal throne. As Pastor Chuck Swindoll notes in his thought provoking biography on the life of Esther: “Because of this interlude with God, Esther was able to approach the moment of truth – to step into the presence of the king – calmly and wisely and confidently.”
In his detailed commentary of the book on Esther, Matthew Henry calls Esther’s entrance into the palace of the king, a “bold appearance.” Henry continues by pointing out that as we learn in Esther 5: 1, “when the time appointed for the fast was finished, Esther lost no time, but on the third day, when the impressions of her devotions were fresh upon her spirit she addressed the king.”
Knowing that the prayers of all her fellow Jews in Medo-Persia were directed to heaven on her behalf, Esther had to have been lifted in spirit herself. As Matthew Henry writes: “When the heart is enlarged in communion with God, it will be emboldened in doing and suffering for Him.”
Dressed in her royal finery, Esther stood before King Ahasuerus. Not with trust in her own royal position but with a boldness possessed only by those who are infused with power from on high. For as author Samuel Wells clearly lays out: “Her people are in dire jeopardy, and she alone can save them, but she has little hope that she has the resources to do so. The stakes could not be higher.”
I think that the paraphrase by Moulton in The Modern Reader’s Bible, penned in 1895 is a perfect summation of the feelings within Esther as she stood before the king:
“I had fainted, unless I had believed
to see the goodness of the Lord.
In the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord: be strong, (be bold)
and let thine heart take courage;
Yea, wait thou on the Lord.”
One of my favorite songs, written by gospel singer extraordinaire Morris Chapman is: “Be Bold, Be Strong.” This clarion call could have been written for Esther as well as you and me today. May we like Queen Esther take these words into our hearts:
“Be bold, be strong
For the Lord thy God is with thee
Be bold, be strong
For the Lord thy God is with thee
Do not be afraid
Do not be dismayed
Walk in faith and victory
For the Lord thy God is with thee…
I’m bold, I’m strong
For the Lord my God is with me…
I am not afraid
I am not dismayed
I’m walking in faith and victory
For the Lord my God is with me.”
No Star Is Lost
“Have we not all, amid life’s petty strife,
Some pure ideal of a noble life
That once seemed possible? Did we not hear
The flutter of its wings and feel it near,
And just within our reach? It was
And yet –
We lost it in this daily jar and fret,
But still our place is kept and it will wait,
Ready for us to fill it, soon or late.
No star is ever lost we once have seen:
We always may be what we might have been.”
Adelaide A. Procter
The Last Defile
“He (she) died climbing” – A Swiss Guide’s Epitaph
“Make us Thy mountaineers;
We would not linger on the lower slope,
Fill us afresh with hope, O God of Hope,
That undefeated we may climb the hill
As seeing Him who is invisible.
Let us die climbing. When this little while
Lies far behind us, and the last defile
Is all alight, and in that light we see
Our Leader and our Lord, what will it be?”
“Foes in plenty we shall meet,
Hearts courageous scorn defeat,
So we press with eager feet
Up, and On.
Ever onward to the fight,
Ever upward to the Light,
Ever true to God and Right,
Up! – and On!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus