Devotional Week 45 Thursday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
John 3: 16, 17
The Message Bible
“There is no human wreckage, lying in the ooze of the deepest sea of iniquity, that God’s deep love cannot reach and redeem.”
John Henry Jowett
The Aching World
You took upon You the yoke of humanity and the burden of love, and did not find it easy; let us learn from You to share the weight of all this aching world, that our souls may be light, our hearts rested, as together we are carried by You in Jesus Christ.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king.
Esther 7: 7
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Three Little People and a Hill of Beans” Part 52
“God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of Him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him.”
In what ways do I feel that the problems of Haman, King Ahasuerus and Esther affected God’s plan for His children?
What have I learned about God’s supremacy in my life from the book of Esther?
“The Lord God Almighty, since before He spoke creation into being, has been orchestrating all things to harmoniously converge and culminate in the glory, honor, and worship of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
“How often, Lord, our grateful eyes
Have seen what Thou hast done;
How often does Thy love surprise
From dawn to set of sun.
How often has a gracious rain
On Thine inheritance
When it was weary, wrought again
An inward radiance.
Thou who upon the heavens dost ride,
What miracle of love
Brings Thee more swifty to our side
Than even thought can move?
Our love is like a little pool;
Thy love is like the sea;
O beautiful, O wonderful,
How noble ‘Love’ can be.”
As I’ve shared in the past, I’m a fan of old movies. Even those filmed in black and white, long before color emerged to tantalize our vision even more.
One of my favorite classics is the movie, “Casablanca,” an all-time great tear-jerker for “softies” like me. Recently, because of the wondrous world of technology, I was able to find a site on my laptop computer which listed 50 timeless quotes from the movie. Unfortunately, one of my personal favorites wasn’t on this particular list. However, I did find, with a little research that indeed the words I thought were so unforgettable, just happened to get a mention on another website.
Here are the words from “Casablanca” that left a strong impression on my mind. These words were spoken by “Rick Blaine,” better recognized as the talented actor Humphrey Bogart. As Rick explained to his beloved Ilsa near the suspenseful ending of the film, “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.” Well, in my opinion, the banquet of Esther was also about “three little people” whose problems, thankfully, had the attention of the Almighty!
As I reflected on the sudden ending to Esther’s “banquet of wine,” as the Bible repeatedly calls her second feast, the trio of players, King Ahasuerus, Esther and Haman, were all seen for who they really were.
It struck me that King Ahasuerus was acting as he frequently did – flying off the handle and leaving in a huff. Albeit this time it was an over-the-top huff! Commentator Samuel Wells describes the behavior of the king this way: “The king gobbles down Esther’s version of the story, which enables him to be her protector and gives him a chance to assert his high status in a moment of crisis. Now for the coup de grace, Esther, while remaining vulnerable identifies the source of the threat, which is now not just to her and her people but to the king as well…She and the king are now one like never before…There is no sign that Ahasuerus yet appreciates Esther’s true identity…The king shows himself incapable of controlling his emotions and leaves the scene.” This is the reaction of the king in a time of critical crisis. And scholars have been lead to wonder why King Ahasuerus would exhibit his wrath in such a strange way.
As noted by commentator Jon D. Levenson in his study on the book of Esther, there can be a myriad of reasons but he looks to a summary of thoughts expressed by Author Lewis Paton in A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Esther:
“Perhaps, for example, (Ahasuerus) wanted ‘to avoid sight of the hated Haman’ or ‘to think about his decision.’ Perhaps ‘he was still friendly to Haman and hesitated to condemn him.’ or on the other hand, he was ‘uncomfortably heated with wine and anger.’ Whatever the reason, the image of Ahasuerus, lord over127 provinces from India to Ethiopia, absenting himself just at the climactic moment is a comic touch that reinforces our sense of him as weak, malleable, and devoid of self-control.”
However, the king is only one in the trio of individuals facing an immense life-decision. Haman also had a key spot in this group for it was his action, taken in the first place against Mordecai the Jew that brought the events to a head. Faced with the revelation by Esther of his wicked behavior, Haman is turned into terrorized flesh, knowing full-well that the king’s wrath will most likely be demonstrated in his own death. And so with his misplaced cry for help, he turns to the queen, hoping that there might be some relief from his ill-advised action against the Jews.
Obviously, Esther’s knowledge of Medo-Persian law, which was supposedly unchangeable, left her little leeway if she had even wanted to assist the evil Haman, which she did not. For Esther, the events at that “banquet of wine” were transformative as she witnessed first-hand an intervention by the Almighty God of Israel. The record of God’s guiding hand has become one of the points in Biblical history which still encourages God’s children down through the ages.
During those times in our own lives when we find ourselves confused by the perceived inaction of the Almighty, the story of Esther can serve as a significant moment when we are called to move courageously under the canopy of God’s supreme love and guiding care. Praise God for the stability of this divine intervention in the midst of chaos!
“God will be no different tomorrow than He is today. His love for us is the same. His power to meet our needs is unchanged.”
Jim Cymbala and Dean Merrill
“Almighty and eternal God, the Disposer of all the affairs of the world, there is not one circumstance so great as not to be subject to Thy power, nor so small but it comes within Thy care.”
Queen Anne of Great Britain and Ireland
ever renewing God;
may we never lose
our sense of awe,
wonder and sheer amazement
at this universe
of which we are
so insignificant a part.
Yet may we be never so overawed
that we forget
that great as You are,
and vast and intricate
as are Your works,
You know and love
each one of us,
and we are ever in Your care.”
Psalms of Glory to Our God
1. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent,
majestic, and glorious is Your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8: 3
2. “Ascribe to the Lord, O sons (and daughters) of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…the voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.”
Psalm 29: 1, 2, 4
3. “Glory is His holy name, let the hearts of those rejoice who seek and require the Lord as their indispensable necessity.”
Psalm 105: 3
4. “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers and judges of the earth! Both young men and maidens, old men and children! Let them praise and exalt the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted and supreme! His glory and majesty are above earth and heaven!”
Psalm 148: 11-13
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus