Devotional Week 44 Wednesday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“There is no path in this desert waste;
For the winds have swept the shifting sands,
The trail is blind where the storms have raced,
And a stranger, I, in these fearsome lands.
But I journey on with a lightsome tread;
I do not falter nor turn aside,
For I see His figure just ahead
He knows the way – my Guide.
There is no path in this trackless sea;
No map is lined on the restless waves;
The ocean snares are strange to me
Where the unseen wind in its fury raves.
But it matters naught; my sails are set,
And my swift prow tosses the seas aside,
For the changeless stars are steadfast
And I sail by His star-blazed trail – my Guide.
There is no way in this starless night;
There is naught but cloud in the inky skies;
The black night smothers me, left and right,
I star with a blind one’s straining eyes.
But my steps are firm, for I cannot stray;
The path to my feet seems light and wide;
For I hear His voice – ‘I am the Way!’
And I sing as I follow Him on – My Guide.”
Robert J. Burdette
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the king said to Haman, ‘Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as thou hast said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sitteth at the king’s gate; let not fail of all that thou hast spoken. Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, ‘Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor.’ And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate.”
Esther 6: 10-12
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“Let Me Take Care of Your Problems” Part 47
“Don’t take it on yourself to repay a wrong. Trust the Lord and He will make it right.”
Proverbs 20: 20
How would I have felt if I had been Mordecai and Haman arrived in front of me, ordering me to climb on a royal horse and then he hands me the royal clothing and the royal crown?
How would I have reacted if I had been in Haman’s spot, running through the city in front of Mordecai who was sitting on a royal horse calling out, “Thus will it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor”?
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Romans 12: 19, 21
“O Lord, deliver me from the lust of always vindicating myself.”
Augustine of Hippo
“No cruelty, no crime, no injustice escapes the attention of God.”
“Haman, blinded by conceit and immersed in the thoughts of his recent triumphs…foresees an unexpected honor which could surpass all the others that had already been bestowed upon him. Here was an opportunity to add one more jewel to the heavy crown of laurels resting so majestically on his proud head...If there is any glory which he hasn’t gotten for himself as yet, he will gather it in now.”
“He made a pit, an digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head; and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own scalp.”
Psalm 7: 15, 16
I don’t think there is one of us that finds it a bit fair when mean and evil people, who seemingly have few problems themselves, appear to get away with causing havoc and heartache in the lives of innocent victims.
Sadly, in this day and age you can’t turn on the T.V. or listen to the radio, or look at your computer without hearing about some charlatan who has disrupted the lives of others, sometimes even family or friends; in ways that could make our blood boil.
And when these treacherous events happen, if you are anything like me, you’ll ask yourself, “When is God going to make things right?” Frankly, I’m certain that all the Jews in Medo-Persia asked themselves this very question. Think for a moment about Mordecai who was stationed at the king’s gate and his precious cousin, Esther, who he treated like his daughter, was Queen of Medo-Persia. One day everything in his life was running as smooth as could be and the next day, with Haman’s “death decree” released, poor Mordecai was asking the question, “What’s going on? Where’s God?”
All through the Bible, we find times in the lives of God’s children, when God is so quiet…so apparently absent…so silent – that we wonder whether He exists at all. For many people, it is during these times when God doesn’t seem to hear us that we find doubt and despair to be constant companions.
Just think for a minute about the prophet Elijah. One moment he was on top of Mt. Carmel where God had displayed His presence by sending fire from heaven which destroyed the altar Elijah had built. And I might add, this magnificent display of God’s presence happened in response to Elijah’s prayer of faith and the humbled hearts of God’s repentant children. But two days later, when we look for Elijah, he’s in a wilderness, alone and discouraged; asking God to let him die. Elijah wasn’t the only child of God to see his life turned upside down within minutes. Think about Joseph, the favored son of his doting father, Jacob. He was living the life of luxury until the hatred of his own brothers spilled over and sent him on a detour to the land of Egypt where he went from being a servant to the overseer in Potiphar’s house to being falsely imprisoned for something he didn’t do. Then one day, which most likely started out as many others, Joseph got a call from the royal palace in Egypt. Pharaoh, the ruler, needed what Joseph was good at – interpreting dreams. One day Joseph was in prison and the next day he was in the palace. I happen to understand something about one day believing things couldn’t be going better in your life and the very next day – fighting for your life. One minute you are on your way home, feeling relief that your mother-in-law is going to recover from the surgery she had for lung cancer, never in the world imaging that by the end of the day she will be the one who is worrying that her son won’t live through the night.
Well, Mordecai fits right into the scenarios above. His life in Medo-Persia had never gone better and then without notice he received a royal decree that the lives of all Jews living in Medo-Persia, were on the line. What would he do? How would he react? How could he protect Esther?
Like so many of us, Mordecai went to his knees and asked God, “Why? Where’s the justice promised by the God of heaven and earth?” For days I’m certain that Mordecai kept praying wondering why God wasn’t doing something – anything at all!
Then without any notice at all, who should appear before Mordecai as he performed his daily duties, sitting at the king’s gate, watching out for anything and anyone who could hurt the monarch, Haman appeared. Yes, the evil Haman and he was bearing gifts. Sent by the king. Royal clothing, a royal horse and the royal crown.
I can only figure that when the wicked Haman handed these items to Mordecai and told him to get on the royal horse, that Mordecai’s teeth nearly fell out. But the shock didn’t stop with the king’s generous gifts. The next thing you know, Haman was leading a procession through the streets of Shushan announcing that, “thus shall be done to the man whom the king desires to honor.” In other words, old Haman whose “life-goal” was to take the place of King Ahasuerus on the throne of Medo-Persia, now found himself announcing that the king was bestowing upon Mordecai the highest honor possible. Let’s just say that Haman felt like the props had been knocked out from under him and Mordecai must have rubbed his eyes a few times, wondering if he was only dreaming.
You see, what Haman had not counted on was that there is a God in heaven who, even when we feel He is absent, as Kay Arthur so perfectly states: “No cruelty, no crime, no injustice escapes the attention of God.” I may think God doesn’t see because He doesn’t act when and how I’d like Him to act. But make no mistake, His heart of love is touched by every pain in the lives of every one of His children. In fact, the book of Esther is probably one of the most incredible revelations of a God who appears to be absent because His name is not mentioned, however, I want to assure you, His actions are revealed in verse after verse.
Right at the pinnacle of what Haman thought was his perfect power-play, the tables were turned because the king couldn’t sleep and so he asked that the historic chronicles be read as a way of helping him get some rest. Here again though, the passages chosen as the king’s sleep-aid were the words penned by a scribe about the heroic action of a Jew named Mordecai who saved the king’s life when he foiled an assassination attempt.
By the dawn of the following day, when the early-bird Haman arrived at the king’s palace to get a sign-off on the decree to hang Mordecai, the king was in search of the perfect prince who could bring honor that was long over-due to Mordecai. As Mordecai sat at the king’s gate, who should arrive but Haman. Author George Dickinson captivatingly describes the scene:
“Make haste,’ King Ahasuerus commands, ‘and take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew.’ Haman, struck dumb with dismay, scarcely believing what he had heard, almost collapsed on the floor. For a moment he stood transfixed, confused by this incredible turn of events.”
Just when it appeared that evil had triumphed, God’s Almighty Hand moved on behalf of His imperiled children. And soon a procession was making its way through the streets of Shushan with the conceited Haman proclaiming the importance of his archenemy Mordecai.
It is this momentary rise and fall that brings us back to the words penned by the Apostle Paul to the young Christians at the church in Rome. During a time when the early Christian church faced extreme persecution at the hands of governing officials, Paul advised: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord” (Romans 12: 19). In the wise and thoughtful words of commentator Matthew Henry: “Do not answer wrath with wrath, but rather with love…Instead of meditating on how to (take) revenge, prepare to receive another. ‘Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matthew 5: 39)…We should not avenge ourselves, if vengeance be God’s, we step into the throne of God if we take His work out of His hand.” As our devotional today is titled, “Let Me Take Care of You!” all we have to do to know that our Father will take care of us is to ask Joseph, Elijah, Mordecai and yes, Dorothy, too! Maybe the next moment in your life will be shocking as God lifts you from a pit and places you on a pinnacle!
it is Your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of Your great love shine on the waste of our wrath and sorrow, and give peace to Your children, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.”
A New Zealand Prayer Book
“O God, make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.”
Clement of Alexandria
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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