Sunday, April 1, 2012

When All Hope Seems Lost

I am not a Bible plan reader. I know that seems to be the new push in how to do Bible reading. You must follow a plan. I have read the entire Bible, many times. I have read the entire Old Testament all the books in a row. I have read the entire New Testament book by book. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it, but it seems to be the push of late. When I finish a book of the Bible I pray. I don't open it up randomly and just start reading. Well, okay sometimes I do when I am hurting badly and 99% of the time the flip to is a profound verse or verses. God can do that, you know. Anyway, like I said I pray. I ask God what to read next. Sometimes His answer is a book; sometimes a set of books, like the Gospels; and sometimes it is an entire Testament of the Bible. This week I finished Amos, yup He told me to read Amos, and asked Him what I should read. I was glad when He told me Esther.

I love the book of Esther. We women get two books about hero women of faith, Ruth and Esther, and I love both books. I know there are other women mentioned throughout the Bible, women of great faith, but I love these two the most. They have so much in common if you really take time to notice and yet are so different as well. So, I gladly flipped the pages to Esther.

I have seen some new things, have had new revelations since reading the book again. That is one thing that I love about the Bible. If you read the same book, passage, or verse again you can get new revelation each time. Disclaimer - Reading the Bible helps you know about the Author, just like reading an autobiography helps you know about its author. But it takes more than just reading the Bible to know the Author.

I just read chapter 6. This is the chapter where the king can't sleep and asks to have scrolls of daily records read to him. He hears the story of Mordecai warning him of the plot to kill him. He asks what was done for this man and finds out nothing. He asks who is in the court so he can get advice. Side note - this guy doesn't seem to have any mind of his own. He is constantly asking for advice, offering up half his kingdom, and quickly signing on to murder plots. Just an observation. Anyway, it is none other than Haman, the guy who hates Mordecai and has hatched the plan of the annihilation of the entire Jewish race. He's so vain he thinks the king is talking about him when he asks how he should honor a man.

Meanwhile, Mordecai is in deep mourning because of the impending destruction of his people. He is waiting for Esther, to hopefully, save her people. He is in the "when all hope seems lost" stage of his life. Then out of the palace comes the guy who hates him and plans to kill him himself. Instead he puts a royal robe and crown on Mordecai, both worn previously by the king, and puts him on a horse, previously ridden by the king, and proclaims for all to hear, "this is what is done for whom the king especially wants to honor!"

When this is all over and he is back to waiting for word from Esther I wonder what he thought. "Thanks, that was nice, but I'm still going to die and so are all my people." Or "About time king, that was years ago. But how about instead of a robe, crown, and horsey ride you spare my life and while your at it, all the lives of my people." Or "But God, what was the point of that?" I am sure that I would have thought all of those and probably much more. Little did Mordecai know but that very day Esther told the king of the plot, Haman was to be killed on the gallows he erected for him to die on, and the king would issue proclamation that allowed the Jews to defend themselves against the attack and to confiscate anything owned by their enemies.

Now I've never had a wearing the king's robe or crown and be paraded around on his horse kind of day. And I have not been lead around by my enemy while he proclaimed that the king was honoring me. But this story makes me think of the verse that says that all things work together for those that love God. It makes me think about how satan wishes to destroy me, but I am a daughter of the Most High King. He rejoices over me with singing, it says so in His Word.

Even when it seems like all hope is lost, God can use anyone, even your enemy, to proclaim His love and pleasure in you. He can give you your own parade of sorts. I am sure it would look different for each of us. But just like Mordecai, the parade and proclamation didn't change the circumstance. Esther's intervention changed it. They still had to fight. People still had to die. Blood was still spilt.

In the midst of your difficulties, God may show you off, He may have a parade just for you. You may not understand, it may seem pointless but He has a day, maybe even that very day, planned to rescue you in the situation. He may remove it, but He may not. He may just give you the tools to fight back. He will give you the victory and He may even give you the territory that your enemy had.

Ultimately, Jesus intervened for us on the cross. He died and rose again so satan's plan to destroy God's people couldn't succeed. Did that make the enemy go away? No. Did it mean the enemy wouldn't still attack? No, we still have to fight. But just like the Jews had the king's proclamation to back them up we have our King's proclamation, His salvation.

When all hope seems lost  know God has a time planned when you will be able to look back and see how His hand was at work. You'll be able to see that He intervened, and maybe He will even used a certain person or people to accomplish that. You will see that even though you had to battle through, He gave you the tools to defeat your enemy. You will even see that parade He gave you and see it as His show of love and affection for you. His reminder that it is you He loves and no circumstance, no difficulty, no sin will ever change that!

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