Devotional Week 43 Tuesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
Psalm 27: 14
“It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of training…There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do. Vex itself by despair. Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty and plead His promise of aid. In dilemma between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him…Believe that if He keeps you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it…Accept your case as it is and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, ‘Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon Thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for Thee in the full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.’”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe, high above evil and strong.”
Proverbs 18: 10
Today’s Study Text:
“On that night could not the king sleep.”
Esther 6: 1
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“The Intervening Darkness” Part 41
“Who is among you who reverences the Lord; who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor in his heart? Let her/him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let her/him lean upon and be supported by her/his God.”
Isaiah 50: 10
“You can’t appreciate the miracle of the sunrise unless you’ve waited in the darkness.”
Have I found myself to be “waiting in the darkness”?
How does it make me feel when darkness surrounds me and I can’t see where I am going?
“Reconcile yourself to wait in this darkness as long as is necessary, but still go on longing after Him whom you love. For if you are to feel Him in this life, it must always be in this cloud of darkness.”
The Cloud of Unknowing
“Christ chargeth me to believe His daylight at midnight.”
It was from the words of well-known Bible commentator Matthew Henry, that the title of today’s devotional was gleaned. Writing about the first banquet feast which Esther prepared for King Ahasuerus, Henry notes that there was an “intervening night,” which occurred. A space of time which, as we study, became “providential time.” It was most likely a span of 12-14 hours when God moved in a most mysterious manner. I say this because specific events transpired in the lives of King Ahasuerus, Haman, Esther and Mordecai that took what was a disaster and turned it into a triumph. While none of these individuals were aware of what was happening in the lives of each other, every event which occurred under the cover of darkness, became of such significant importance and now serves to prove to me and you that no time in God’s hands is wasted time.
As we learned last week, when Esther went unannounced before King Ahasuerus and invited him, along with Haman, to a banquet feast at her palace, before making her grand entrance, she had already prepared for the king’s affirmative reply. While as watchers looking from the outside to the inside, we have no direct knowledge of how the king would react to Esther’s invitation, it was the queen, who with heavenly confidence, informed King Ahasuerus of a feast that was ready for him and Haman.
However, even though it appeared Queen Esther was prepared at the first banquet to ask the king to save her life and the lives of her people, the Jews, who the wicked Haman plotted to kill, something happened during that evening feast which up-ended Esther’s plans. Rather than share her request with the king, she instead, very politely told the king that if she had found favor in his eyes, “let the king and Haman come the next evening to the banquet that I shall prepare for them” (Esther 5: 8, K.J.V.). Here again we are enlightened by the “tense” of the verb for Esther notes that “I shall prepare.” Obviously, there was a lot to do before the “morrow” for Esther did not have the feast readied. It had to be prepared. This phrase of Scripture indicates that there was work ahead. Maybe beginning as soon as King Ahasuerus and Haman left the queen’s premises.
But Esther wasn’t the only one who had things to do in the “intervening hours” before the events of the evening to come. At the advice of his wily wife Zeresh and his supposed friends, Haman was urged, as soon as he returned from the first banquet, to build a gallows that would be the instrument of annihilation of his mortal enemy, Mordecai the Jew. In Esther 5: 14 we find that his wife and friends suggested the gallows be made as quickly as possible so that at dawn’s early light, Haman could get permission from King Ahasuerus to do away with Mordecai.
For Mordecai, who most likely was waiting through that long night for news of Esther’s response from the king, it must have been a long, dark night indeed. And for the king, his hours of sleep that particular night never arrived.
And where was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? What was your heavenly Father and mine doing when it was totally impossible to see His guiding hand at work on behalf of His earthly children? It may well be that for you today, at this very moment, you are lying awake trying to make sense of what appears senseless. As your clock slowly ticks off the minutes, as you mark off another day on your calendar and the darkness simply doesn’t lift, you may wonder, “What is God up to?”
Possibly at this very time in your life, your words could mirror those of Francis Quarles who wrote:
“My light Thou art without thy glorious sight;
My eyes are darkened with perpetual night.
My God, Thou art my way, my life, my light.
Mine eyes are blind and dark, I cannot see;
To whom, or whither, should my darkness flee,
But to the Light? and who’s the Light but Thee?
My path is lost, my wandering steps do stray;
I cannot safely go, nor safely stay;
Whom should I seek but Thee, my path, my way.
All during the “intervening darkness,” the almighty hand of God was ordering events to accomplish a purpose more grand than could ever be imagined. Don’t forget, all Esther desired was to ask the king for the deliverance of God’s children. But just like with you and me, in the most extreme darkness, God isn’t just doing some little thing we can’t see. For these are the times when He does His best work! When we fear His silence during the hours of the “intervening night,” we need to recognize His continual presence, even though we do not see or feel Him at all!
In the words of Brian Wren:
“When on life a darkness falls,
when the mist flows chilling,
paths and signposts lost in doubt,
reach us, Jesus,
though we feel forsaken;
keep us through the aching night
till new dawns awaken.”
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in the land of intense darkness and the shadow of death, upon them has the Light shined.”
Isaiah 9: 2
“The dark night of the soul
is not a desperate falling
into a state
of darkness and despair.
It is, rather,
a monotonous plodding
along an even, unremarkable path,
devoid of starling falls
and sharp edges
or anything that might arouse
a spirited response.
The dark night of the soul
is a gray pedestrian place which,
in its very bleakness,
slowly eats at passion
leaving one aware only
“Guide me in Your truth and faithfulness and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation, for You, only and altogether, do I wait all the day long.”
Psalm 25: 5
“I need simply and only
to wait upon God
resting in me,
of my soul.”
“I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait, and in His Word do I hope. I am looking and waiting for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning.”
Psalm 130: 5-6
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus