Today’s Reading: Esther 3:1–7:10, 3 John 1–4, Ps 117:1–118:16
Today’s Theme: God’s Providence
The 4 chapters that we read today in Esther, tell us the main story of the book of Esther and show how God’s providence is always at work in the background of our lives. Esther is a unique book in that God is not mentioned, but we see Him at work through the events and people in the story. Romans 8:28
Do not bow
And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage. Esther 3:2 (ESV)
We should not bow to compromise, we should be like Mordacai, bowing only to God and His word. Read 2 Corinthians 6:15–7:1
Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. Esther 3:13 (ESV)
The same demonic spirits that drove Haman are alive in the world today, moving entire nations and states to call once again, for the complete annihilation of the Jews. It happened in Hitler’s day and is being called for today by states like Iran and terrorist organisations like Hezbolah.
This hate was so extreme that it sent the city into confusion, at that irrational call to destruction.
The devil meant it for evil but God would turn it around.
We should advocate for Israel against this sort of Anti Semitic hate. If you want to know more about advocating for Israel, check out the 2013 production by the Ezra Foundation called “CHOSEN” and agencies like BICOM.
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (ESV)
God knows everything and plans ahead of time. You have been called to His kingdom at this time, like Esther, to fulfil God’s purpose.
Don’t spend your life wishing you were somewhere else or someone else. God has planted you where He has chosen for you to fulfil His purpose.
We are reminded in Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…”
Willing to die
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16 (ESV)
We should be like Esther in our determination to fulfil God’s purpose, even if it means we are at risk of harm or even death.
Life with God is not safe, we are called to lay it all on the line for Him, it is not a gamble, instead it is a calculated risk. We know our God is able and even if we are harmed or die, God still gets the ultimate victory.
Like Esther, we just need to throw ourselves into God’s hands so that He can use us as He wills. James 4:13–15
John Piper has a great short book called ‘Risk Is Right’ which is worth reading if you have time. You can read it for free (or buy it) online here http://www.desiringgod.org/books/risk-is-right
The need to be validated
And Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the servants of the king. Esther 5:11 (ESV)
Our self centred culture has bred people like Haman, who need to be validated by others and external awards etc.
We should not live like this as Christians. We need to ask God to heal us from “approval addiction” and find our sufficiency and security in Christ.
Paul reminds us not to compare ourselves with each other in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” Also see Corinthians 12:9
God at work
On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. Esther 6:1 (ESV)
God took sleep from the king and this is an example of God’s providence in the story.
We can pray that God would take sleep from leaders around the world today, to the benefit of God’s people.
God’s master plan
And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated. Esther 7:10 (ESV)
God works all things together for our good, this is the providence of God at work. The enemy has fallen into his own trap and we will read tomorrow about the way God turns the whole thing on its head. We can trust in our all wise and powerful God. He is working it out!
3 John 1–4
Walk in truth
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4 (ESV)
John prays that Gaius will be in good health physically, because he is healthy in spirit already. He is healthy in spirit because he walks in the truth.
We are called to walk in truth and to benefit from all the fruit that God brings into our lives, including health and long life.
Walking in truth means we know and obey the truth from a sincere heart.
Do not fear man
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6 (ESV)
We give thanks to the Lord, because He is so good to us. If God is God and by His providence He works all things for our good, then we do not need to fear what man can do, like we read in Esther.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition 3 John 1