. . . on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. 2 The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples. 3 All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them.Esther 9:1b-3 ESV
Throughout the whole story of Esther, God whispers His presence to Esther, Mordecai, and His people Israel. Even without his name being directly mentioned in the entire book, it is quite clear that He dominates the plot of this much-celebrated historical story. When the Jews’ enemies thought victory was moments away, the Jews triumphed and even had the support of King Ahasuerus himself as they defended themselves and justly fought as fear paralyzed their opponents.
The feast of Purim was established and continues to be celebrated today, thousands of years later. As we read this chronicling of events and marvel at their boldness, we can take an introspective look at our own stance. Do I stand up boldly to those that oppose God? Do I step into those painful confrontations in defense of others? Do I have confidence in God’s protection and direction in my life and future?
‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.Revelation 3:1b-2 ESV
Jumping to the very last book of the bible, John brings a harsh message to a church that should have been following hard after God’s way also. Instead, they floated on a previous reputation of vitality. God knew their hearts, just as He knows ours. Are we truly alive, or just enjoying an extended time of ease on a previously earned reputation? What do my works indicate to those around me? Revelation does not mince words and these churches that keep getting gut-punched always challenge me to honestly evaluate my own current heart condition.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.Revelation 3:17 ESV
Sometimes as I look at where I am at spiritually, I focus too heavily on the good moments without full dissection. What I might judge as wealth and ease, might really be masking my poor, blind, naked self. God knows my heart, and I need to continually be still before Him and let Him open my eyes to what I truly shelter there.
Dear God, thank you for your powerful presence in my life. Thank you for the stories throughout Scripture and history, and even my own life, when you showed up in a tangible way. Expose my sin, my hesitancy to surrender, and make me fully alive, not lukewarm, not distracted by false treasure, but following you with that perfect blend of humility and boldness. In Jesus name, amen.