Devotional Week 44 Thursday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
Philippians 4: 7
“I take Thee for my peace, O Lord,
My heart to keep and fill;
Thine own great calm, amid earth’s storms,
Shall keep me always still,
And as Thy Kingdom doth increase,
So shall Thine ever-deepening peace.”
Annie W. Marston
“Here is written an assurance, a guarantee, that not at holy times and welcome intervals only, not only in the dust of death, but in the dust of life, there is prepared for you the peace of God, able to keep your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. It is found in Him, it is cultivated in Him. It is ‘the secret of His presence.’ Amidst the circumstances of your life, which are the expressions of His will, He can maintain it, He can keep you in it. Nay, it is not passive, it ‘shall keep’ you, alive, and loving, and practical, and ready at His call.”
Handley C. G. Moule
Today’s Study Text:
“But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, ‘If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shall surely fall before him. And while they were yet talking with him, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.”
Esther 6: 12-14
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“You Won’t Prevail Against God”Part 48
“At the foot of every page in the annals of nations may be written, ‘God reigns!’ Events as they pass away proclaim their original; and if you will but listen reverently, you may hear the receding centuries, as they roll into the dim distances of departed time, perpetually chanting ‘Te Deum Laudamus,’ with all the choral voices of the countless congregations of the age.”
How does it make me feel to know that my God prevails over everything in the universe as well as over my life too?
“’And I will thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall; and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee,’ saith the Lord. ‘And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.’”
Jeremiah 15: 20, 21
Is there an experience in my life when I witnessed first-hand God’s prevailing power?
“Behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above His own.”
James Russell Lowell
“Thou Great First Cause, least understood,
Who all my sense confined
To know but this, that Thou art good,
And that myself am blind.”
Alexander Pope, Poet
The Universal Prayer
It had been a terrible day for Haman, to say the least. The day had been made all the worse because when Haman arose early to be the first in line at the king’s palace to ask for permission to get rid of the human pest in his life, Mordecai, poor Haman falsely expected his request would be cleared immediately.
For all of us, unmet expectations can bring great discouragement and even despair. However, what subsequently transpired was more than Haman could tolerate. After being ordered to lead Mordecai around Shushan, lauding him as the individual the king wished to honor, Haman felt completely humiliated. In fact, in Esther 6: 12, we find that Haman felt so disgraced that as soon as he had finished leading Mordecai’s royal horse around the city, Haman “hasted” or as the Hebrew word “dâchaph” means “to press on or to urge on,” as fast as he could to get home where his wife and advisors awaited his return.
We must not forget that when Haman had left his house, early in the morning, his relatives and friends thought he would return with Mordecai who would be hanged on the gallows which was built during the night, right at Haman’s doorstep.
Instead, Haman arrived at home weeping with his head covered. If he thought those who were closest to him would be in any way supportive, he was totally wrong. His wife Zeresh was an expert at throwing gasoline on the fire. Talk about kicking a guy when he was down – that was Zeresh and Haman’s supposed advisors.
When Haman told those around him about the events of the morning and what had “befallen” him, the response was less than optimistic! In Esther 6: 13 we read that, “When Haman had finished telling his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his knowledgeable friends who were there and his wife Zeresh said, ‘If this Mordecai is in fact a Jew, your bad luck has only begun. You don’t stand a chance against him – you’re as good as ruined” (The Message Bible).
I have chosen to glean aid from one of my favorite Bible commentators, Matthew Henry, who makes these astute observations about this particular passage in Scripture. Writing about Zeresh, Haman’s wife, as well as his friends, Henry states that, “Miserable comforters were they all; they did not advise him to repent, and ask for Mordecai’s pardon for his bad design against him. Rather, they foretold his destiny as fatal and unavoidable. Two things they foresaw:
1. That Haman would be disappointed in his enterprise against the Jews: ‘Thou shall not prevail to root out that people. Heaven plainly fights against thee.’
2. That Haman himself would be destroyed: ‘Thou shalt surely fall before him. Haman must fall before Mordecai.’”
Additionally, Matthew Henry draws back the curtain of history by sharing his thoughts on how the enemies of God’s children should heed the word: “Beware!”
Specifically looking at Mordecai, Henry points to the fact that “he was of the seed of the Jews; feeble Jews their enemies sometimes called them, but formidable Jews they sometimes found them. They were a holy seed, a praying seed, in covenant with God, and a seed that the Lord hath all along blessed, and therefore let not their enemies expect to triumph over them.”
In Esther, Chapter 6, we witness the momentary rise of Mordecai along with the sudden fall of Haman. Often in history, once an individual finds themselves near the peak, if they begin to slide downwards, it is as if they fall as fast as they rose. Without a doubt this was the case with Haman whose family legacy was cursed by God. Our heavenly Father’s care of His embattled children as they left nearly 400 years of slavery in Egypt, was a prevailing care. The Amalekities who tried to defeat God’s children found out that God’s prevailing power is sustained down through time.
As the weeping Haman found no sympathy from his family and friends, at the same time, there was a knock on his door and we’re told in Esther 6: 14 that: “While they were yet talking, came the king’s chamberlains, and hasted to bring Haman unto the banquet that Esther had prepared.”
If the wily Haman had any momentary thoughts that his day might improve, he was sadly mistaken. Our God’s care for His children had kicked into high gear and it was time for Queen Esther to reveal what was in her heart. Beware, indeed, when God’s daughters are set ablaze with hearts on fire for Him.
“It fortifies my soul to know
That though I perish, truth is so;
That wheresoever I stray and range,
Whatever I do, Thou dost not change.
I steadier step when I recall
That, if I slip, Thou dost not fall.”
Arthur Hugh Clough
With Whom Is No Variableness
The Heavens Are the Mind of God
“The heavens are the mind of God, the systems are His word,
The message of the All-in-One, the Ever-Seen and Heard,
In planets He has marked His name, in galaxies His thought,
And the shapes of constellations are the dreams that He has wrought.
The star-swarms are His mirrors, and His glass the atom’s heart,
And earth’s a bright reflection of His never-resting art
He thinks in woods and mountains, and the storm-wind is His sigh,
And He smiles in every daisy-face, and every violet’s eye.
In lakes and hills and rivers, in a bluejay’s twinkling wing,
In patterns of a maple leaf, and hawthorns white with spring,
In the green sculpture of a fern, a palm, a redwood tree,
His spirit moves to an old design, the simple and pure may see.
The heavens are the mind of God, the systems are His word,
And He has left His signature on every bush and bird.
And deep within your breast and mine, though earth-clouds interfere,
The light of that which fires the stars is shining warm and clear.”
Stanton A. Coblentz
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus