Devotional Week 42 Monday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
John 16: 24
“Saints have never yet reached the limit in the possibilities of prayer. Whatever has been attained or achieved has touched but the fringe of the garment of a prayer-hearing God. We honor the riches both of His power and love only by large demands.”
Dr. A.T. Pierson
“Make thy petition deep.
It is thy God who speaks with love overflowing.
Thy God who claims the rapture of bestowing.
Thy God who whispers, all thy weakness knowing.
Wouldst thou in full reap?
Make thy petition deep.’
Make thy petition deep.
Now to the fountain head thy vessel bringing,
Claim all the fullness of its glad upspringing;
At Calvary was proclaimed its boundless measure;
Who spared not then, withholds from thee no treasure;
This word – His token, keep,
Make thy petition deep.”
“You cannot think of prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish that you had made it larger. Pray not for crutches, but for wings!
Today’s Study Text:
“Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart; but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai. Nevertheless Haman refrained himself; and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promised him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover, ‘Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and tomorrow am I invited unto her also with the king.”
Esther 5: 9-12
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Hear Him Crow” Part 38
“As pride is the resemblance of the devil and what brought him to ruin, so humility is the resemblance of Christ, which exalted Him to honors.”
How would I define the word “pride”?
“Those who wish to be praised in themselves are proud.”
Augustine of Hippo
In what ways have I found that a spirit of pride can enter my life unexpectedly?
“The greatest fault is to be conscious of none.”
“The core of pride is impatience and its offshoot is the lack of any discernment.”
Catherine of Siena
She was a woman with heavenly discernment. Instead of rushing ahead of God, Esther patiently waited for God’s help as she prepared to share her petition with King Ahasuerus.
I find it interesting the way the unknown author of the book of Esther is able to take two of the characters in this book and highlight their vast differences as they stand in stark contrast – Haman the Agagite and Esther the Jewish Queen of Medo-Persia. We first meet Haman in Esther 3: 1 where he is identified as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite. If his family lineage sounds familiar it should. And here’s a little historical review.
When God delivered His chosen people, from 400 years of bondage in Egypt, as they traveled through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, there were repeated times when God’s own children were very petulant, to put it mildly.
If you have the time, I encourage you to read the entire Chapter of Exodus 17. The first seven verses are a record of the whining of the people because when they pitched their tents in Rephidim at God’s command, no less, they found out there was no water! The Bible tells us that the people “chided” Moses and ordered him to, “Give us water to drink!”
Well, for those of you who have been studying the Bible here in Transformation Garden for nearly 10 years, in year two we did a study about the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan. If there was one familiar word that kept appearing again and again, it was the word “murmur.” Here at Rephidim, not only did the people “chide” Moses but they also “murmured” against God’s chosen leader. By verse 4 in Exodus 17, the situation got so bad that “Moses cried unto the Lord, saying ‘What shall I do unto this people? They be almost ready to stone me!’” I have to tell you, one of my favorite heroes in the Bible is Moses. To say his job was thankless would an understatement. God heard Moses cry, as He always hears the cries of His children and He provided water from the rock in Horeb that Moses smote with his rod “in the sight of the elders.” Moses named this place “Massab and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us, or not?’”
After this overt show of distrust in the hand of God and His leading, in Exodus 17:8 we find that “then came Amalek, and fought Israel in Rephidim.” This particular war is memorable because as Joshua was leading out in the battle at Moses order, Moses himself went on top of a hill with Aaron and Hur and when Moses “held up his hand, Israel prevailed.” But as the day went on, Moses got weary and so Aaron and Hur stood by his side and held up his arms until Israel won. However, it is the last verse in Exodus 17, which relates directly to our studies in the book of Esther. Exodeus 17: 15, 16 – tells us that: “Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, ‘Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’”
Years passed! The Israelites again rebelled against God and said, “We want to be like all the other nations around us. We want a king!” Rather than tell these ungrateful grumps to “get lost and the sooner the better,” God gave them what they asked for and He chose Saul as their king. Sadly, the record of Saul’s lack of leadership begins not long after he was crowned king. 1 Samuel 15 is a detailed discourse on the way Saul second-guessed God’s instructions as given by the prophet Samuel. Right after Saul was anointed to be king, God sent this very direct message: “Now go and smite Amalek, andutterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not” (1 Samuel 15: 3, 4, K.J.V.). Thinking that he knew more than God, King Saul decided to take “Agag the King of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy; but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.”
The very next verse in I Samuel 15: 10,11 – God came to his prophet Samuel and in no uncertain terms told him that: “’It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night” (1 Samuel 15: 11, K.J.V.)
If you read all of 1 Samuel 15, you’ll find a rather gory narrative and it is one of those times in the Bible where God can appear rather harsh as it appears that the young victims of destruction were killed as well. However, one of the most critical lessons which becomes evident when we run into Haman in the book of Esther is that God knew the destructive behavior of the Amalekites. And He also knew their hate of the Jewish nation. By the time we get to the book of Esther in the Old Testament we find that one Amalekite relative – Haman – was in a position to have ALL the Jews exiled in Medo-Persia slaughtered.
Looking down through time as we are by studying through Scripture, we are able to see that God understood the vicious hearts of the Amalekites and for the protection of His chosen children, had King Saul and the people under his rule obeyed God, who knows if Haman would have been around to cause havoc in Medo-Persia for the Jews.
But indeed, he was there and after Esther was crowned queen, as the Bible tells us, “after these things,” Haman was promoted and “set his seat above all the princes that were with him” (Esther 3: 1, K.J.V.).
With his elevated position in government, Haman let his power go to his head as he strutted around Shushan requiring all the “lower subjects” to bow before him as the king had instructed. With one private dinner with the king and queen under his belt, just imagine how Haman was gloating when invited for another banquet on the very next night! And as today’s study texts show us, this proud man thought he had reached the pinnacle of power and prosperity. As the writer George Eliot so aptly notes, “He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.” Poor proud Haman! He thought he was running the show. When in fact, the word of God is true from generation to generation – all through time. We must not forget the words in Exodus 17: 16 – “Moses built an altar and named it, ‘God My Banner’ He said:
‘Salute God’s rule!
God at war with Amalek.
Always and forever!”
God’s word is true today and forever: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16: 18, Amplified Bible).
A Psalm of David
“Help, Lord! For principled and Godly people are here no more; faithfulness and the faithful vanish from among the sons of men. To his neighbor each one speaks words without use or worth or truth; with flattering lips and double heart, deceitfully they speak. May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and the tongues that speak proud boasting. Those who say, ‘With our tongues we prevail’ our lips are our own to command at will – who is lord and master over us? ‘Now will I arise,’ says the Lord, ‘Because the poor are oppressed, because of the groans of the needy: I will set (them) in safety and in the salvation for which (they) pant. The words and promises of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in an earthen furnace, purified seven times over. You will keep them and preserve them, O Lord; You will guard and keep us from this evil generation forever. The wicked walk or prowl about on every side, as vileness is exalted and baseness is rated high among the sons of me.”
“Save me, Lord, from the distraction of trying to impress others, and from the dangers of having done so. Help me to enjoy praise for work well done, and then to pass it on to You. Teach me to learn from criticism, and give me the wisdom not to put myself at the center of the universe.”
“Take away from our hearts, O Christ, all over-confidence and boasting, all high and vain thoughts, all desire to excuse ourselves for our sins, or to compare ourselves proudly with others, and grant us rather to take as Master and King you who chose to be crowned with thorns and to die in shame for us all, Jesus our Lord.”
“He (she) who guards his mouth and his (her) tongue keeps (themselves) from troubles. The proud and haughty (person) Scoffer is (their) name-deals and acts with overbearing pride…deliverance and victory are of the Lord.”
Proverbs 21: 23, 24, 31
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus