Today’s Reading: Esther 1:1–2:23, 2 John 7–13, Ps 116:1–19
Today’s Themes: God’s Order
Today we see the importance of God’s design for the family and wider society. The western world is in clear rebellion against God’s plan for the family, that we need to make our stand for God’s order even more clearly defined.
And drinking was according to this edict: “There is no compulsion.” For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired. Esther 1:8 (ESV)
The king made an edict that there was no compulsion to drink. This may at first sound positive, that the king was saying that no one would be forced to drink anymore than they wanted, but it also means that no one would be restrained from drinking however much they wanted.
We need laws in our lives to bring restraint. We are called to have self control. Anything in excess is sin. An activity in excess becomes idolatry, eating in excess becomes gluttony and drinking in excess quickly becomes drunkenness.
Instead we should be filled with the Holy Spirit as Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
The king has opened the door to the libertarian rebellion and egalitarian defiance of the queen, with his charge to throw off restraint.
God desires that we live self controlled, ordered lives, in line with His word and Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 9:25, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Timothy 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:7
On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha and Abagtha, Zethar and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who served in the presence of King Ahasuerus, Esther 1:10 (ESV)
“The King was merry with wine”, he was basically drunk and the wine caused him to act irrationally and impulsively.
One of the reasons why many Christians forgo drinking entirely, is that alcohol impairs human judgement and when the line of drunkenness is crossed, we would be in sin. This is why I and many other believers, choose to stay away from drink entirely, as the bible calls us to be sober in judgement and spirit.
Peter reminds us “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” in 1 Peter 5:8. Also see 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8, 2 Timothy 4:5 and 1 Peter 1:13
God’s design for family
For the queen’s behaviour will be made known to all women, causing them to look at their husbands with contempt, since they will say, ‘King Ahasuerus commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, and she did not come.’ Esther 1:17 (ESV)
Wives are called to submit to their own loving husbands, who lead their homes in sacrificial service in the Lord.
God has designed an order for our marriages, families and the wider society. God desires and has designed us to flourish as humans, He has set up the order of the family with this in mind.
What we do affects others, it is important that we show self restraint and portray a picture of God’s order to the outside world. Christian men should not be harsh and unloving to their wives, wanting to show them off as some trophy, as the king did, for example. Also, women should not defy their husbands in open rebellion.
The new testament has a lot to tell us about God’s order, which itself is a witness to the world, in passages like Ephesians 5:22-6:4 or Colossians 3:18-20, where the whole family is addressed in terms of God’s design.
Peter speaks well in today’s passage, for wives who may have unbelieving husbands, in 1 Peter 3:1–3 “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct…”
A fathers care
And every day Mordecai walked in front of the court of the harem to learn how Esther was and what was happening to her. Esther 2:11 (ESV)
Mordecai was like a father to Esther, we read in verse 7 that he brought her up because her mother and father (his uncle) had died.
You can see his care for her as he passes by everyday to see how she is doing. It is important for us as fathers to take an interest in our children’s lives and see how they are doing.
Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
If we ignore our children, leave them to themselves, do not look out for their welfare or take an interest in the events of their everyday lives, this will provoke them and make them angry.
An obedient child forever
Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. Esther 2:20 (ESV)
Esther won favour with everyone and it was not because of her obvious physical beauty, it was her conduct and manor. At heart, Esther was still a submissive and obedient child to her adopted father, Mordecai.
Esther is a grown woman now and she still respects and obeys Mordecai. We can learn so much from her example. We should honour our parents as long as we live and should have humble, submissive, obedient hearts, when they speak.
If we (as children and adults) cannot obey our parents who we can see, how can we claim to obey or relate to our heavenly Father, who we cannot see?
We are all called to be God’s obedient children. Peter teaches in 1 Peter 1:14–15 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
2 John 7–13
A full reward
Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 2 John 8 (ESV)
We are called to watch ourselves. Think of this as watching the road while driving, if you do not, you can easily veer off course and crash your car. We need to keep an eye on our walk as believers.
If our Christian life is marked by constant crashing and veering off course, we will end up with less reward than we could have had, if we had stayed faithful.
It is simply not true that a faithful Christian receives the same reward as a constantly failing or lazy Christian. The only thing that we all receive in equal measure is eternal life. There are rewards to be given in heaven for faithful and lively service. The reward may be expressed in the responsibilities given in heaven.
We should live our lives so that the work of the Apostles like John in the bible, our Pastors and leaders in discipleship and our own work in serving the Lord, will win a full reward.
Run for a full reward, the best reward, run to win.
Stick with the teaching
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9 (ESV)
Our faith is not new, it is over 2000 years old. The Cannon of scripture is closed. We need to stick with the clear and accepted teaching of God’s word.
Those that abandon the teaching of scripture do not have God, only those who stick with the teaching of the Gospel have God.
We need to be on our guard against “new teachings” and stick with that which is faithful to the scriptures.
Precious to the Lord
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15 (ESV)
When one of God’s saints dies, it does not pass as nothing, it is precious to the Lord. When a saint dies, they go home to be with the Lord, the race is won and the fight is over.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on 2 John 1