Devotional Week 43 Wednesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
Job 38: 31-15, K.J.V.
Job 40: 9, K.J.V.
Job 42: 2, K.J.V.
The Night Sky
“‘Oh God, when I stand under the stars, I am filled with nameless awe at the immensity of Your presence, and I wonder how, in my daily thinking, I can make You so small. Oh Holy One, the All of existence, how can I claim to know Your mind? How can my tiny words describe the Word that brought this universe into being? Could it be that I worship an idol of my own making? In Your all-pervading presence, You know the limitations of the human heart . Have You given us this night sky this vision of galaxies growing and unfolding, to remind us that we have two gods, one that we make in our image, and the One who made us? Oh God, I stand under the stars, filled with nameless awe!’”
“We must welcome the night. It’s the only time that the stars shine.”
Today’s Study Text:
“On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.”
Esther 6: 1
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Divine Insomnia” Part 42
“If you find it hard to sleep, stop counting sheep and talk to the Shepherd.”
Have I ever found myself tossing and turning at night, unable to sleep?
During my times of insomnia, has God revealed something to me that I feel I would not have grasped had I not been awakened?
“Dreams grow holy put in action.”
“I pillowed myself in goodness and slept righteously.”
It never ceases to amaze me how God chooses to communicate with His children – morning, noon and night. Throughout the Bible we are made aware of times, especially in the darkness of night, when God entered the lives of those He wished to instruct. Think for a moment about Joseph who was shown, what ended up becoming, a historical picture of his life as he dreamed in the night about sheaves of wheat bowing down before him. And then, a few verses later, we come upon the Pharaoh’s butler and baker who shared their night dreams with Joseph, asking for his wisdom in explaining the meaning of the puzzling events they witnessed in the dark hours of night. We can’t forget that Pharaoh also called upon Joseph to remedy the confusion he had regarding a dream that plagued his night of sleep. Almost on a continual basis in the Old Testament, dreams and visions become interwoven in the lives of kings and rulers, as well as prophets.
When we get to the book of Esther and find that King Ahasuerus, after a delicious banquet feast, finds himself suffering with insomnia, it might be easy for us to just right-off this occurrence as indigestion. The other night my husband Jim couldn’t pass-up a bowl of Baskin-Robbins “Gold Medal Ribbon” ice cream. However, what tasted so good in the mouth, about an hour later, brought on what’s called a “sour stomach.” Poor Jim looked at me and asked, “Why didn’t you tell me not to have that ice cream?” His words sent me into a fit of laughter for as I told him, “Do you really believe I could have stopped you from eating your favorite treat?” Sadly, though, the rest of the night, neither one of us slept much as Jim’s upset stomach kept him tossing about nearly all night long. Possibly King Ahasuerus faced the same challenge for I believe Esther had laid out quite a feast for him to eat.
But there’s a second reason Ahasuerus may have been awake rather than sleeping. In his terrific book, Divine Providence, Howard D. Wilcox who is both a Medical Doctor (M.D.) and has a Master’s Degree in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, offers a perceptive take on the potential cause of Ahasuerus’ insomnia by asking this question as well as giving an answer: “Why was the king having trouble sleeping? Men, has your wife ever called you in the middle of the day and told you something is troubling her and then put off telling you what it is? What if she said you have to wait until the next day before she will tell you? Is it easy to concentrate and go back to work? Is it easy to sleep that night? So why did Ahasuerus have trouble sleeping? Was it intrigue concerning Esther?” I might add, to all the women who come to Transformation Garden, what if your husband had told you something was on his mind and you had to wait 24 hours to find out what it was. How would you have slept through the night?
Along with Dr. Wilcox, I’ve identified a third reason for King Ahasuerus’ sleeplessness. I choose to call it “Divine Insomnia!” It’s what caused King Darius in the book of Daniel to stay awake all night long when because of the devious plans of evil men, Daniel had been thrown into a den with hungry lions. Daniel 6: 18 tells us that “the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.” With his trusted prince and friend in jeopardy, how could Darius sleep? In fact, this to me is a perfect example of “Divine Insomnia” for how can any of us sleep when our actions are in direct conflict with our Father in heaven?
Rather than counting sheep or taking a potion or pill to put him to sleep, King Ahasuerus came up with a rather interesting way to help him potentially drop off in peaceful slumber. Possibly because author Howard Wilcox is a medical doctor I find his expression perfect when he asks, “What does the king do regarding his inability to sleep? I find his solution quite interesting! How many of you, when you can’t sleep, pull out house or business records from the past five years and start to read them? Remember, Ahasuerus became king in 486 B.C. and it was now 474 B.C. That means there were 12 years of records for the king to review. Those would be the records during his reign only…It was not clear if the king was really interested in what was being said in the chronicles of if he was trying to get sleepy.”
No matter the exact reason the king chose to have the chronicles read to him, God had His own reason. And so by providential leading, the history of Medo-Persia, under the rule of King Ahasuerus, was God’s chosen method to intervene in the dark of night by “Divine Insomnia.”
When it comes to what I have referred to as “Divine Insomnia,” I rather feel like an expert for after our car accident, I spent the first 5 plus years, lying wide-awake, night after night from 1 a.m. until 4 a.m. every single night. Believe me, I tried everything I could think of in order to get some sleep – all to no avail. Finally, I made the decision to get up and read the first four books in the New Testament – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And just for the fun of it, I began to make a list of the names of all the women in those books. This is how I ended up with stories about 18 women. It was this list which became the outline for my bookWhen A Woman Meets Jesus. However, the earlier working title for my book was The Man Who Loved Women and because I’d never written a book before, finding a publisher wasn’t an easy task. So Jim and I decided we would take the money we were saving for our “retirement” and use it to self-publish the book, not just one time but two times. After selling out, my agent was able to persuade a publisher to take on the book project. Thank You Jesus!
But here’s the back-story. I was so busy with my regular work during the day that I ended up writing only at night – 1 a.m. - 4 a.m.
It ended up that those long night hours, became a time of “Divine Insomnia.” How do I know? I could relate many stories from the letters I received from people who found Jesus during that time but two will be enough.
One day I got a letter which was very difficult for me to read. I finally made out the name and address. The note was from a man in Africa. He related the fact that he had been on a bus with other travelers from a small town in Nigeria. He said that the man across the aisle from him was reading a book with a cover picture of a man holding a red rose and it was the picture that caught his eye. He asked the other passenger what the book was about and he replied, “Jesus!” Surprised, the gentleman asked if he could take a look at the book and he told me, “I am writing to ask if you’ll send me a book. I don’t have enough money to pay for it but I would be so thankful if you could send me that book so I can learn about Jesus.” Two individuals, riding on a bus, traveling down a dirt road, somewhere in the desert of Africa, reading about Jesus! And then there was a young woman here in the United States who wrote and said that one year earlier, she was alone in a motel room contemplating taking her life. Then she said, “Someone sent me your book and through the words, I met Jesus. I’m living a changed life which I could never have imagined would be possible. These testimonies are more than enough to make me a believer in “Divine Insomnia!” These are the times when our heavenly Father has something He wants done in the middle of the night, when it is dark and quiet and His voice is able to be heard – loud and clear. And He awakens us or places thoughts and dreams in our minds and we recognize without a doubt that our Father’s “Divine Insomnia” is meant to provide miraculous heavenly intervention in the lives of His earthly children.
“Often darkness fills the pathway of the
pilgrim’s onward track,
And we shrink from going forward-trembling,
feel like going back;
But the Lord, who plans so wisely, leads us on
both day and night,
Till at last, in silent wonder, we rejoice
in Wisdom’s light.
Though the tunnel may be tedious through
the narrow, darkened way,
Yet it amply serves its purpose –
soon it brings the light of day.
And the way so greatly dreaded,
as we backward take a glance,
Shows the skill of careful planning;
never the result of chance!
Is your present path a tunnel,
does the darkness bring you fear?
To the upright, oh, remember, He doth
cause a light to cheer.
Press on bravely, resting calmly,
though a way you dimly see.
Till, at length, so safely guided,
you emerge triumphantly!”
Tennie Boman Spann
Grandmother’s Lost Poems
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus