Devotional Week 41 Monday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, ‘Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where was thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof…whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?...when I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling for it…canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?...Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are? Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? or who hath given understanding to the heart?...Hast thou an arm like God…He beholdeth all high things; He is King over all the children of pride.’ Then Job answered the Lord, and said, ‘I know that Thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee…I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee.’”
Job 38: 1-9, 31-15
Job 40: 9
Job 41: 34
Job 42: 1-5,
God of the Stars
“I am the God of the stars.
They do not lose their way;
Not one do I mislay
Their times are in My Hand;
They move at My command.
I am the God of the stars,
Today, as yesterday,
The God of Thee and Thine,
Less thine they are than Mine;
And shall Mine go astray?
I am the God of the stars.
Lift up thine eyes and see
As far as mortal may
And stay thy heart on Me.”
“Today’s Study Text:
“And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight.”
Esther 5: 2
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Fountain of the Landscape”Part 33
“ Nothing can permanently please, which does not contain in itself the reason why it is so, and not otherwise.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
After reading today’s study text, how would I describe the way King Ahasuerus felt when Esther came into his line of sight?
What does the word “gracious” mean to me in my daily living?
“Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.”
Elsie Wolfe, in Mrs. Falk Feeley
A Swarm of Wasps
“It’s a rare thing, graciousness.”
The Scriptures give us no hint as to the time of day when Queen Esther chose to go before King Ahasuerus. Speculation doesn’t do the story justice. What we do know is that Esther was arrayed in her “royal robe” which possibly indicates to us that she wanted the king, with one glance, to be able to not only lay his eyes upon his beautiful queen but to also be reminded immediately of the position she held in Medo-Persia as well as his own life.
As I was reading the first few passages in Esther 5, I tried to get a picture in my mind of exactly what the scene may have looked like to the individuals serving in the king’s court. As Esther entered the “royal or inner court,” she would have found herself directly opposite from the king’s throne. This would have given the monarch direct visual contact with his queen.
In Esther 5: 2 we are told that “when the king saw Esther…she obtained favour in his sight.” The Hebrew translation of the words “obtained,” “favour,” and “sight” help us get a clearer idea of what the Bible means. The word “obtained” in Hebrew is “nâcâh” and is used in a number of applications including “honourable, magnify, regarded, respected, exalted and desire.” These words helped me understand that the king was certainly put into a positive spirit by what he saw. This past week, my husband Jim helped me unravel a rather traumatic situation that developed with a new doctor I visited. One of the other physicians in the group asked Jim if we would like to make an appointment with a different physician in the group and Jim very kindly noted that often “first impressions are lasting impressions.” I thought about that phrase as I pictured Esther in her royal attire standing regally in the line of sight of the king. Who knows, maybe the royal outfit she chose was the one she wore when the king, at first glance, place the royal crown upon her head and the sight of the beautiful Esther overwhelmed him again with the fact that her outward beauty reflected the beauty of her inward soul.
However, there is also another example which came to my mind from the book of Exodus. Having spent 40 days and 40 nights with the Lord on Mount Sinai, we are told that, “when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, he did not know that the skin of his face shone and sent forth beams by reason of hisspeaking with the Lord” (Exodus 34: 29, Amplified Bible. Notice that “speaking” with the Lord gave Moses a heavenly radiance that he was not even aware of but that those who looked upon him were able to see. In fact, Exodus 34: 30, 31 – reports that “when Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they feared to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and he talked with them.”
It should not be lost on you and me today, that Esther and her extended Jewish family in exile throughout Medo-Persia had spent three days in fasting and prayer and on the third day, as Esther came before the earthly king, it is quite possible her heavenly King’s presence was infusing her life in such a way that she may well have been radiant with the presence of the King of Heaven whose rulership over her life was her prime focus.
One can only gather that a tremendously important impact was made by Esther for we are told that she found “favor in the sight” of the king. Here again, the Hebrew helps expand our understanding by use of two Hebrew words: chên – favour and ‘ayin – sight. The phrase “favour in the sight” is found at least 22 times in the Old Testament and it means “to bring pleasure by the presence of an individual.” Favour in the sight also in the Hebrew means “the fountain of the landscape or the center and core of the being.”
What this tells us is that the impact of Esther’s presence wasn’t just to bring about a lustful desire by the king, but there was what I’d call “loving favour to the core of his being.” The queen who was God’s person, at God’s time in history was also beloved by King Ahasuerus.
In a world where gracious and favourable behavior is terribly lacking, I believe that those individuals who spend time with their heavenly Father will radiate a spirit that stands clearly defined especially against a backdrop of greed, envy and hate. Indeed, as we walk day by day with our Lord, may we too shine with the favour of heaven flooding all that we say and do.
“Gracious Father, guard Thy children
From the foe’s destructive power;
Save, O save them, Lord, from failing
In this dark and trying hour.
Thou wilt surely prove Thy people,
All our graces must be tried;
But Thy word illumes our pathway,
And in God we still confide.”
From Character of the Happy Warrior
“Who is the happy warrior? Who is she
That every one in arms should wish to be?
It is the gracious spirit, who, when brought
Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought
Upon the plan that pleaseth their thought:
Who high endeavours are an inward light
That makes the path before them always bright;
Who, with a natural instinct to discern
What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn;
Abides by this resolve, and stops not there,
But makes her moral being her prime care;
Who, doomed to go in company with pain,
And fear, and bloodshed, miserable train!
Turns her necessity to glorious gain:
Who is she is called upon to face
Some awful moment to which heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human-kind,
Is happy, and attired
With sudden brightness, like one inspired.
This is the happy warrior; this is she
That every one should aim to be.”
(Adapted to the life of Esther)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus