Devotional Week 45 Friday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
1 John 2: 17
“Are we willing to give ourselves entirely to God; to let Him do with us whatever He pleases; to follow anywhere at His bidding; to renounce anything at His call; asking only, in return, that He will give us of Himself, with all His infinite love, to be ours from this time forever? If we are thus willing, let us kneel down this moment and tell Him so. Alone with God, let us give Him ourselves, all we have and are and shall be, to be unreservedly His.”
William R. Huntington
“There is no stay so strong as an unreserved abandonment of self into God’s hand.”
H. I. Sidney Lear
Today’s Study Text:
1. “Then the king returned out of the palace garden into the place of the ‘banquet of wine’; and Haman was fallen upon the bed (couch) whereon Esther was. Then said the king, ‘Will he force the queen also before me in the house?’ As the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.”
Esther 7: 8
2. “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?” And he said, ‘I heard Thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.’”
Genesis 3: 8-10
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“You Can’t Cover the Face of Sin”Part 53
“We’ve tried calling sin ‘errors’ or ‘mistakes’ or ‘poor judgment’ but sin itself has stayed the same.”
Peace With God
How would I define the word “sin”?
Like the act of covering Haman’s face, have I ever felt like I needed to cover myself because I was so ashamed by my behavior?
“No matter how cool, sexy, glamorous, accepted, justifiable or right the world makes it look, nothing is ever okay that is out of the will of God.”
“We are never better for having sinned.”
After walking in the gorgeous palace gardens in the refreshing night air, we find that evidently King Ahasuerus had calmed himself enough to choose to return to the “banquet of wine.”
But as he entered the room where he left Esther and Haman, much to his shock, who should appear to be trying to “have his way” with the queen than Haman. Now we must remember, even if Haman had been a close friend of the king’s, trying to physically take advantage of the queen would have infuriated not only the king, but the queen as well. Commentator Samuel Wells gives a spot-on description of the scene when he writes that “Haman panics and makes a drastic attempt to plead to the queen for his life. By the time the king returns, Haman had thrown himself on the ‘couch’ where Esther was reclining. Haman had done nothing illegal, (maybe stupid!), and by retaining his status he could have talked his way out of (trouble). But by losing status from his own volition at the key moment, he makes himself look guilty, leaving aside the misinterpretation of his advance on the queen. The king, of course, imagines things only in sexual terms.”
It doesn’t take a genius to come to the conclusion that this event would not end well. Having been the instigator of a murderous plot to annihilate all the Jews in the kingdom certainly should have been bad enough for Haman’s reputation to go down the drain in the eyes of the king. But the sight of the queen apparently being accosted by the vile Haman was just too much and as the New International Version of the Bible states: “The king exclaimed, ‘Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?’” It’s as if King Ahasuerus was asking out loud: “How low will you go Haman?” As we see, once Haman made the choice to harbor evil in his life, there wasn’t really “a place too low!” As author Erroll Hulse points out: “Sin is like the poison of a mamba snake. It’s exceedingly deadly. It kills. Every sin if permitted will become imperious in its demands and every lust will aim at its maximum expression. Sin is like the devil its originator. It is limitless in its capacity for evil.”
If we need any proof of the truth contained in Hulse’s statement, we need look no further than the first book of the Bible where we find God’s children, Adam and Eve, seeking to hide from the face of God because they knew they had chosen to believe the words of the serpent – the ultimate deceiver.
Sadly, God’s children down through the ages don’t have a stellar track record when it comes to thinking we can handle “sin” on our own.
This is why we find King David, one of God’s close friends, crying out, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy loving kindness; according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51: 1, K.J.V.) After lusting for another man’s wife; then having her brought to his bed in the palace; David stooped to a level of low I doubt he ever imagined he could fall this far. In a final act of violence, King David, God’s chosen, had the woman’s husband actually deliver his own death warrant to his commander who was at war. No wonder David pleaded with God to “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51: 10, K.J.V.).
Author Henry Smith offers this insight which is so appropriate in describing the actions taken by the chamberlain present at the banquet: “Any cloth may cover our sores, but the finest silk will not cover our sins.”
How informative to note that at the end of Esther 7: 8, the Bible tells us that, “as the word went out of the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.” Indeed, this action didn’t remove the wicked Haman’s guilt. But as commentator Jon Levenson shares, this symbolic gesture made reference to “a ceremony of disgrace directed at a criminal or a person otherwise out of favor.” In the end, the wicked Haman chose the path that “leadeth to destruction.”
How filled with hope we can be today for the words of King Solomon, ‘He (she) who covers his (her) transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28: 13, K.J.V.). And in the words of King David, “’I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide’ I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, continually unfolding the past till all is told – then You instantly forgave me’” (Psalm 32: 5, Amplified Bible). If you and I aren’t convinced of the unlimited merciful grace of our Father’s unchanging love, the beloved Apostle John leaves us these words which I pray will bring eternal gratitude to your heart as they do to mine:
“If we freely admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just, true to His own nature and promises, and will forgive our sins and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness, everything in conformity to His will in purpose, thought and action.”
1 John 1: 9
“Sin has sired a thousand heartaches and broken a million promises. Your addiction can be traced back to sin. Your mistrust can be traced back to sin. Bigotry, robbery, adultery – all because of sin. But in heaven, all of this will end!”
A Song of Degrees
“Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
If You should keep account of our sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
so that You may be revered.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for Him,
and in His word is my hope.”
Psalm 130: 1-5
God of Grace
“God of grace, I turn my face
To You, I cannot hide;
My nakedness, my shame, my guilt,
Are all before Your eyes.
Strivings and all anguished dreams
In rags lie at my feet,
And only grace provides the way
For me to stand complete.
And your grace clothes me in righteousness,
And Your mercy covers me in love.
Your life adorns and beautifies,
I stand complete in You.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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