When I was a kid, NBC ran a bunch of infomercials called “The More You Know.” One featured Matthew Perry who played the character of Chandler on the tv show Friends. He asks all those watching to think of the things they want most in the world. In the few seconds the audience has to think, Matthew Perry writes down what he says the audience needs to do if they want to get what they want most.
The fellowship John has with Jesus motivates him to share all that he has seen and heard concerning the Word of life with others. He writes to make his joy complete. It’s easy for me to fall into introspection where I’m so concerned with my own relationship with God that I neglect shepherding others into fellowship with Him.
Working for the good of people and caring for their welfare ultimately matters. King Xerxes isn’t consistent, as we’ve seen, in honoring people because of such merits. It’s good to recognize and honor those who do so much for others. Who are such figures in your life? Who are some of the people that have made a significant impact?
Has anyone ever accused you of having selective memory? In telling stories, do you tend to embellish some parts and leave out other parts? Anytime Papaw would tell us stories about his childhood, he would always get to a point of reminding us how he had to walk barefoot in the snow to get to school. In every re-telling, the weather became more severe. The distance from his house to school increased.
When you think of sin, what are the first things that come to your mind? Maybe you think of the seven deadly sins? Or, maybe you thought of a definition? Rebellion against God. Missing the mark of his good and perfect will. Being self-centered rather than God-centered. All of these and more can work as basic definitions for sin.
Max always wants more chocolate milk. More play time. Depending on what he wants and who hasn’t said no yet, more of mommy or more of daddy. If you could have more of something in your life, what would you choose? God is a God of more.
Passages like these are difficult for me to interpret. It’s hard to know what I, Shea Reyenga, am supposed to receive from these violent words. And yet I believe wholeheartedly that God has something for me and you here. All of scripture is God breathed. Even the parts that are hard for us to apply to our lives.
Out of the shadows of the empire, the Jews can assemble and protect themselves publicly. Joy and gladness characterize this time. Others are becoming Jews out of fear but it isn’t clear what motivates this fear. Is it the honor and esteem the Jews are rewarded? The favor of the king? How they’ve already started avenging themselves on their enemies?
“19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21)
Esther bravely stands her ground and becomes God’s agent of deliverance. As Haman is destroyed by the very thing he had made, I’m reminded of the words from Mary Chapin Carpenter’s mid-nineties hit “Why Walk When You Can Fly?”
What a turn!? Haman, thinking of himself, planned the celebration for the man he has already taken steps to have killed. Now, he’s in an impossible position to carry out his plan. If he tries, he surely risks his own life as he’d be opposing the man who saved the king’s life. We know of no such act Haman has done for the king.
Maybe it’s the rain hitting my window as I write this but, again, I’m reminded of the rain and dark clouds that keep falling and hovering around God’s people. All the recognition and pageantry in the world isn’t enough to keep Haman’s mind off of his hatred for men and women made in the image of God.
Esther fasted and prepared for this moment. She stands in the inner court where her life hangs in the balance. The golden scepter is extended which is the sign revoking the death sentence. To appear in the king’s inner court without being summoned is to forfeit your life unless the king extends his scepter.
In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). One of the great challenges of life is identifying what time it is. Being mindful of the time we’re in as individuals and as a people is critically important.
Lament is a good and proper expression of faith. The book of Psalms is our prayer book in the middle of the Bible and it’s full of prayers of lament. Passionately crying out to God in grief and sorrow is a fundamental aspect of our walk with the Lord. It’s a way we prayerfully acknowledge the world is not alright right now.