In Esther 5, Esther bravely went into the court of the king under the penalty of potential death. However, when he saw her, he held out his scepter which was a sign that she would not be killed for breaking the rules of etiquette.
Personally I am sure that Esther must have been relieved. She wasn’t going to be killed, but she still needed to muster up the courage to ask to save the Jewish people. In doing so, she was asking king Ahasuerus to overturn a ruling that he had already permitted. Assuming that he was probably a rather proud man, I wonder how often he entertained requests like this.
Interestingly though, Esther did not immediately ask for mercy toward the Jewish people.
Est 5:3 Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom.
Est 5:4 And Esther answered, If it seem good unto the king, let the king and Haman come this day unto the banquet that I have prepared for him.
He was willing to give her a lot. Half of the kingdom would presumably be more than enough authority to save the Jewish people, but all that she asked was that the king and Haman, the main persecutor of the Jewish people, would dine with her at a banquet.
Part of me has to wonder what she was doing. She had permission to ask for an awful lot, and she didn’t immediately address the most important problem at hand. None of the Jewish people on the outside really knew what was going on with Esther most likely, but if they had, they might have been a little bit disappointed that she wasn’t moving faster.
Sometimes, I think we can think the same thing about God. We can wonder why He isn’t moving at the speed that we want Him to. However, we need to rest assured that God is watching over us, and He does care about humanity. At the result of both of those attributes, even if we run into circumstances that really don’t make sense like Esther asking for company at dinner rather than the rescue of her people, we can know that everything is unfolding as God wants it to.
Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
Mat 10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Sometimes I feel like I’m on a roll. Everything is going right, and I want to keep moving ahead because I don’t want to lose that streak. On top of that, I might even try to move faster than I was before just to make sure that I get as much good stuff as possible done before the momentum goes away.
I wonder if David felt that way in 1 Chronicles 14.
He was just named king of Israel which would make to a really good start of the day. Then, a short while later, the Philistines heard about David becoming King and decided that they wanted to go to war. Maybe they had bad memories about David. The war went pretty well to begin with.
1Ch 14:9 And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.
1Ch 14:10 And David enquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the LORD said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.
1Ch 14:11 So they came up to Baalperazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baalperazim.
Then came the hard part. God told him that he needed to wait and be patient.
1Ch 14:13 And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley.
1Ch 14:14 Therefore David enquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees.
1Ch 14:15 And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines.
I am sure that David wanted to keep on rolling. I’m sure it had to be hard for him to slow down. However, God told him that he needed to wait, and he did.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing that we keep moving ahead regardless of what God wants us to be doing. I hope that we had the wisdom to discern when we need to continue moving, and one we need slow down.
The Great Temple was just getting underway in 1 Kings 5. Solomon recognized that he had been given rest from war, and he knew that David had told him that he would be the one to build the amazing structure.
1Ki 5:3 Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.
1Ki 5:4 But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.
1Ki 5:5 And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
The prophecy that he is referring to seems to come from 1 Chronicles 28. To get back to the other day, this passage makes it seem like Solomon was indeed ordained by God, and his rise to power was not the result of political maneuvering by his mother.
1Ch 28:5 And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
1Ch 28:6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
The reason that I liked these parts of the chapters is because Solomon saw his opportunity and was ready to act decisively. He understood that the conditions were all in place for him to build the temple.
I think that this is a picture of what we need to do at times. God will give us opportunities to do certain things, but that window is not open forever. We need to be ready to do what God wants us to do as soon as He wants us to do it.
In Genesis chapter 41, Pharaoh starts dreaming, and he wants his dreams interpreted. The butler remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dreams and recommended that Pharaoh talk to him.
Gen 41:15 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
Gen 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Again, before I move on with this story, I wanted to point out that Joseph wasn’t taking credit for any of this interpretation. It was God who was explaining it, and He was simply using Joseph to communicate His message. Joseph properly recognized this relationship.
The interpretation of his dream was also not quite so optimistic.
Gen 41:29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
Gen 41:30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
Gen 41:31 And the plenty shall be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.
Pharaoh ended up listening to Joseph, and they planned to use the surplus from the years of plenty to prepare for the inevitable famine.
If Joseph had not been in that place at that time, God would not have used him in such a powerful way. Of course, God can use anybody to accomplish any task, so He obviously still could have had someone else interpret that vision.
However, His plan was to have Joseph in that position to interpret that vision and to essentially have Pharaoh put him in charge of all of Egypt. That is why Joseph had to go through what he did.
From God’s perspective, He knew that He wanted to do great things through the life of Joseph. However, everything would not have worked out the same way if Joseph had never been sold into slavery and thrown in jail. God used every one of those challenges to mold Joseph into the person that he needed to become.
Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
God knew what the end was going to be. I know that happens in our lives as well. Sometimes, we don’t understand what is happening, but we need to persevere.
Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is definitely difficult to accept at times, but when you shift your perspective and realize that there is a greater purpose to every obstacle in life, it becomes a lot easier to persevere.
I wrote a few days ago about the importance of being on time. I talked about how the Bible says that Noah had a deadline to when he had to be ready for the rains to fall. He met that deadline, and all was well. He followed the directions that God had given him.
Today, we’re going to talk about a similar idea, but with Abram, he wasn’t waiting for God’s timing. He wanted to take matters into his own hands.
Keep in mind through all of this that God had already promised Abram an heir. According to Genesis 13:15, we know that Abram had heard this promise directly from God.
However, Abram and Sarai were concerned that they were going to have children, so Sarai actually told Abram to have children with her handmaid Hagar.
Gen 16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
Gen 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
Again, I cannot stress enough the fact that Abram knew that he would have a child enough. There was no ambiguity in this promise from God.
Despite this fact, he was still willing to try to rush God’s timing.
We all tend to do this a lot. I know that I want certain things to happen right now simply because I want them. That definitely is not right as what we really need to do is wait on God’s timing.
Psa 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
As a result of the aforementioned rushing, we see that Ishmael was born. Here is what God told Hagar about her son.
Gen 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Essentially, all of that could’ve been avoided if Abram was willing to wait and not rush God’s timing.
Again, I know that we do this all the time, and I know that that isn’t right. Please help us all remember that Your timing is perfect, and even though we may not understand everything that happened at the beginning, we can be assured that God makes everything happens according to what You will.
Quickly, as a slight continuation of yesterday, we see the fact that Noah was obedient in verse five and did exactly what he was commanded to do.
Actually, I think that this entire post will be mainly a continuation of yesterday but with a little different twist.
If you recall from yesterday, Noah was commanded to build the ark in a very specific way. He was given exact dimensions for everything, and I talked about how while it might not have practically mattered, it mattered because that was what God told him to do.
Today, we see another reason why it mattered.
Let me give you the verses to start us off.
Gen 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
Gen 7:14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
Gen 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
Gen 7:16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.
Gen 7:17 And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
God had previously told Noah that in seven days it would rain. He was under a time limit so to speak, and everything had to be prepared at the end of this seven days. In fact, we see in verse 16 that they did enter the ark on time and God shut the door.
Referring back to yesterday, if Noah had decided that he wanted the ark to be bigger, he would not have been able to finish the ark on time. Of course, if God wanted to, he could have easily extended the deadline, but I think that the important part here is that He didn’t have to.
Noah did what he had to do. He made sure that his project was done on time and was in accordance with the directions that God laid out.
I think that this is the take away for all of us again. When we do what God wants us to do, we also will be able to survive the floods that come into our life. We all have tough times, but we fortunately have a power source who can help us rise above all of it.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
We know that Noah built the ark because God told him to. He probably would not have done something like that on his own. Similarly, we might think that situations are far too much to handle, but if we follow the will of God, He will provide us with the strength to make it happen.