Esther: Day 12

God’s People Remember and Celebrate

by

Today's Text: Esther 9:23-32, Esther 10:1-3, Leviticus 16:29-31, Ephesians 1:3-14

Scripture Reading: Esther 9:23-32, Esther 10:1-3, Leviticus 16:29-31, Ephesians 1:3-14

Things don’t always go according to plan.

Take the summertime of 1812, for example. Paris was warm and beautiful, and Napoleon’s army was 600,000 men strong. He was on top of the world, but Russia’s Czar Alexander was really starting to get on his nerves. He ignored French trade embargos, and worse, refused to let Napoleon marry one of his sisters. Frustrated but confident, Napoleon made his most ambitious plan yet: take Moscow and show Alexander once and for all who was the greater ruler.

Napoleon crossed from Poland into Russia, his vast army advancing deeper and deeper into the countryside as the Russian forces burned their crops and fled before him. But as he advanced, Napoleon’s supplies and men began to dwindle. And although he did finally limp into Moscow in October, the wind and snow had started to swirl and bite—winter was coming. With only a sixth of his men remaining, Napoleon had to retreat, defeated not by Russia’s military, but by her freezing, obliterating winter.

If you’ve ever engaged in a land war in Asia, or even parented small children, you know things hardly ever go as planned. So why do we continue to believe we can control our circumstances? History and personal experience prove God alone is in control. The Red Sea parted, Jericho’s walls collapsed, and fire fell on Mt. Carmel—we are not the ones running the show.

Haman planned to crush the Jews (Esther 9:24). He wanted to destroy them. We’ve seen examples of this kind of horrific racism all throughout history. In every era, men have shown this evil instinct to destroy other men for being different. They lay their evil plans, perhaps prevailing for a time, but in the end, their plans fall flat. They may cast the dice, but God alone controls the outcome.

In our own failed Napoleonic aspirations we are quick to become frustrated, lamenting, “Nothing ever goes like I plan!” But every failed human plan is actually cause for thanksgiving, because all things happen according to the good pleasure of God’s will (Romans 8:28). Likewise, when the enemies of God approach, armed with malice and intent upon blood, we can still give thanks. God Himself is our defense, and we should not fail to celebrate His good providence in all things.

At the end of the book of Esther, the Jewish people celebrate God’s deliverance. They not only celebrate in the present, but they vow to celebrate in the future—to remember who they are and what God has done:

“These days are remembered and celebrated by every generation, family, province, and city, so that these days of Purim will not lose their significance in Jewish life and their memory will not fade from their descendants.”
- Esther 9:28

May we also remember. May we remember, with Solomon, that “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). May our hearts respond in thanksgiving because He alone is God, and there is no one like Him (Isaiah 46:9). May we celebrate our freedom in Christ by remembering what we’ve been saved from, and Who has saved us from it.

Make your plans, but rejoice and remember: it is the Lord who had a good plan for us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Glory be to Him.

SRT-Esther-instagram Day12

  • This reading brought me relief today. Especially the reading from Ephesians. That through Christ we have redemption and that his grace has been lavished upon us. My plans go wrong and I heap blame and shame upon my self, obsessing about what I should or shouldn’t have done in a given situation. The truth here reminds me that what happened was part of God’s plan and it is meant for a purpose. I went to Him for forgiveness and that is what I needed. For today that purpose was to draw me to him and remind me of the Gospel. That can come to him for forgiveness and restoration. Now, I can walking into the mess I made with proper perspective, and I can talk to the other people involved, and admit my wrong doing.

  • This really hit home for me tonight! I have been studying for a really big test I’ll take in December and I feel OVERWHELMED!! I know that God is in control, but I always find myself thinking, “God, you are so great, so why am I so fearful?” I’m asking for prayers…prayers for reliance on God, prayers to pass my test.

    • Michelle

      I have a big test too and it’s more complex than I planned! But God knows what He’s doing…will keep you in prayer Taylor!

  • Is SRT suddenly Calvinist now? :/ all things DON’T “happen” according to the good pleasure of God’s will. God works all things for good. Genocide and the Holocaust are not of God’s doing. We can never understand why and how and when and if he intervenes, but I find this devotion a departure from the theology I’ve seen from SRT in the past.

    • Michelle Haak

      Agreed, Sarah!

    • Ashley

      I’ve also noticed a touch of Calvinism in this scripture series and to be honest that kind of theology is extremely deflating. We need to be clear as Christians that death and destruction comes from Satan alone. God only gives good gifts to his children and is full of mercy towards those who are not until the end of their days.

      • Vanessa

        Ashley, this was encouraging to hear. I was feeling like this message was a little too positive and optimistic because it felt like it ignored the horrible, horrible tragedies that still occur in the world. And I was like, “Okay, where’s God then?” But your comment, “Death and destructions comes from Satan alone” helped redirect and put things in a perspective I could process. Thank you.

        • Pat

          All things are not good…..but God can & does take every circumstance, good or evil, and miraculously works things for His good……for those who love Him & are called according to His purpose. I refuse to second guess His will or His plan. I choose to trust Him. He alone can turn our “own way” back onto the path of “His way”. He is the great Navigator of all time…..

  • Rachelle

    May we always always always remember that God is sovereign and God is good.

  • Praying Kathy… complete fulfillment of Gods promises over Charlie’s family and your church, divine appointments in this next week to usher in leadership with a Fathers heart to pastor your church family and speak in identity for this next season.

  • Diane Huntsman

    we are not the ones running the show.

    • Ashley Pullar

      Contrary to Shakespeare, all of life is not a stage. Consider all that Christ bought for you including giving us charge over the angels. We rather than waiting for God to move our tongues and hands need to know the heart of God and proclaim it in our spheres of influence speaking over the world the good news of redemption through Christ. He chose people to declare his glory and righteousness. We have authority as believers of God, take hold of it and be the ambassador we are called to be. I hope this encourages you, as it has me! :) 2 Cor 5:11-20

  • Exactly what I need to hear and be reminded. I’m so thankful for my loving community of Christian fellowship friends and family reminding me of His promises and that He has everything under control. It’s been painful and hard and I don’t like it but so thankful I’m His and His people have me covered in prayer

    • Ashley

      Important to note that sovereign means that God could be ‘in control’ but like a sovereign nation he has freed us to govern ourselves. We are not his puppets and i hope you find comfort in knowing that he can work all things out for our good but that he does not cause all things either good or bad in our life, he has limited his almighty power and actually given it to those who are in Christ. So stand and proclaim your victory to the earth, God IS with you but he does not force our or anyone else’s hand.

  • Just a few things I pick up while reading Esther:
    Esther’s regal position was no accident. She was in a position of influence for a very specific purpose.
    During our the Jews gave gifts of food to the poor as it was a special wish of Mordicai.
    Did you know Hamatashin-Hamans eats-He didn’t heat.
    And, for many years anyone caught with the book of Esther was executed because it was such an important book of the Jewish Nation.
    I have so enjoyed this study. Love the book of Esther.

  • In reading these accounts throughout the Old Testament, it is important to remember that God Is fulfilling His Covenant With Abraham to make the Jews a great nation and His covenant with David that the Messiah would come through his lineage. As history has moved along through the ages, Satan has been doing all he can to interrupt God’s eternal plan. Hamann’s evil and hateful plan to get rid of the Jews was placed in his heart by Satan seeking to use him to end God’s covenant with Abraham.
    However, God placed Esther in this particular spot “for such a time as this” and gave her the courage to be a part of His plan to save the Jews and fulfill His covenant promise. This is all part of the scarlet thread woven throughout the OT and culminating in the birth, life, sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of our Great Savior, Jesus Christ!
    Now, let’s ‘keep looking up’!
    He is coming! This is our great hope! He will see us through.
    May God bless you all, dear sisters.

  • I’d love to hear your thoughts on this: While I was reading today, I was thinking about how many holidays there are that Jewish (by blood and/or by faith) people celebrate that Christians don’t. I realize the coming of Christ gives us new things to celebrate, but why don’t Christians take the time to follow and remember, through celebration, the things God has done for His people. Any thoughts?

    • CJ

      Laura – yesterday I was thinking the same thing! I actually went and put Purim on my calendar because what a great holiday to celebrate!

    • Kelly Powers

      I really enjoyed celebrating many of the Jewish/ biblical holidays growing up. I am not Jewish, but we had Jewish/ Messianic friends and then we read the Bible and saw Jesus celebrating these holidays. Most of them are remembering God’s faithfulness in preserving his people: Purim, Passover, Feast if Tabernacles or Booths and Hanukkah. Jesus was Jewish and it is interesting to see the added meaning He gives to the holidays. His birth may have been during Tabernacles and dedicated at the temple on Hanukkah, and most importantly He is our Passover lamb, and resurrected on the feast of first fruits.

  • rosebergamot

    Much of my anxieties are based around the insecurity in this life. I often fear that pain is around the next corner and struggle to trust that he is enough to confront all that is ahead. I try to make plans to insulate myself from pain rather than put my trust in him and move forward with courage. I spend time building walls rather than trusting and praising him. I am reminded he is good. We can rest in his plans, moving forward with courage. I don’t have to try to avoid taking risks, but can live and love freely knowing he’s already got it all under control. I praise his holy name.

  • rosebergamot

    Praying for you and your church family. Praying for Charlie’s wife and children. My heart aches for them. ❤️

  • Sweet sisters, my heart is shattered this morning. A young man I go to church with died yesterday. They think he may have had an aneurysm. He was 39. His wife came home and found him. They have 6 year old twin boys. I have to be honest and say that this is almost more than I can bear. Right now we are without a pastor. Charlie was on our pastor search committee. He was also a deacon and one of the sweetest, most dedicated Christian men I know. Please pray for his precious family. Please pray for our search committee. They are being hammered – sickness, injuries, depression, anxiety, and now this. Satan is really doing a number. Please pray for my church. My husband is the youth pastor and right now every thing is on him and our minister of music. Pray that God will protect us from bitterness. That He will keep our hearts tender towards Him and each other. That He will keep us from doubt, worry, and anxiety. Most of all please pray that He will make this count for His kingdom.
    SRT, this study in Esther has been one of the most timely studies I have done. This morning when I opened my book I saw where I had written for yesterday’s study, “His plan is always right on time…Never early. Never late.” Thank you for being so tender towards God’s guidance and direction. I am so thankful for this community of sisters. One day we will all be together in heaven. Our faith will be our sight. What a party that will be!!!
    Be blessed. Hug your loved ones a little closer today.

    • Phoebe Amarante

      My condolences to you and your church family ❣️

    • Emily K

      Praying for you and your church Kathy! Our God reigns over all!

    • PursuedByHim

      Father, I am praying for Charlie’s family right now, comfort them with the knowledge of who You are and what You can do. Be with their church’s search committee and Kathy’s family. Give them strength, peace in your loving and caring arms, wisdom as they search for the pastor you have ordained ahead of time for them, courage to not just get through all this but to do it by giving God the glory and praise all along the way. Amen

    • candacejo

      God is faithful, always faithful, even when we do not understand His ways. He will comfort and strengthen your church family during this trial. Trust Him, lean on Him, call on Him and let Him be your everything. Praying for this family and everyone in the church. ♥

    • anne

      Kathy praying for your church this morning. God please be with Charlie’s wife and children;surround them with your love and strength and send your angels to protect them. Please be with Kathy and her husband for strength as they try be strong for the church.

    • Christy

      Praying for God’s strength and peace to surround you, your church, this family in their loss, that His presence may be felt by all of you, that you may rest assured that He stands with us and for us in all circumstances amen.

    • Leah

      Thank you for giving us the opportunity to pray for you and your church family, and for Charlie’s family. My heart goes out to you all and l pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit to be with you all.

    • Pam

      So sorry Kathy! Praying for your church, for you and your husband, your Minister of Music, and for Charlie’s family. Praying a big prayer circle around your church family right now-for the Lord to protect you all and send you the right leader/shepherd quickly. (Read the book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson).

    • Churchmouse

      Oh Kathy, Charlie’s death is tragic and so untimely in our sight. Dear Lord, let the church not stand frozen in shock but rather rally around this young family. Let their tears be a point of unity for the church. May this singular heart – breaking event propel this church into laying aside all petty grievances and propel them into being the loving arms of Jesus for this family. May they see that this is the church at its best – caring and lifting the burdens of one another. May this young mom and her two boys see and feel Jesus through their church community as they love them through, not just only today but years to come. Let this church be the church for the long haul. May this church see this as their renewed calling, a return to their first love – to comfort, nurture and grow up in faith and hope in Christ. May Charlie’s death be their calling card. And when You send that new shepherd to them, may he /she be amazed at the health of the flock. May You receive praise and glory for the great things You have done. We thank You that You welcomed Charlie home and that he is with You forever. May his untimely death be the time the church arose from the ashes to new life. May his wife and sons be strengthened in their faith and trust in You. Assure them that their faith is not in vain. Let Your Presence sustain them every minute of every hour. And may even more come to know You and believe because of what they see this church do. You are more than able to do even more than we ask. Amen.

    • Mari

      Kathy will pray right now for this family of this young man, your church family as they grieve and for all that’s going on in your church. As I see comments below YOU are covered in prayer dear sister!

    • Tina

      Oh Kathy, what heartbreaking news. I am to sorry for your church family’s loss. Prayers absolutely and without a doubt being prayed for you all. He is near to the broken hearted, and He will comfort those who mourn, and He promises to never leave nor forsake, God is near to each and everyone … sending love wrapped in hugs and prayers dearest… xx

    • Hollie

      Kathy, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’ll be praying for you and your church family. These are such difficult times. We don’t live far from Sutherland Springs, TX where 26 people died this past Sunday while worshiping in their church. Our heart breaks for that church as well and all the family members who lost loved ones. Praying for peace, comfort and help.

  • Today may we all be reminded and aware of God’s presence and plan as we engage in our calling to show His glory. I pray I will respond in love to all the various situations that arise. I pray we all will be aware of His leading and His control letting go of our own limited vision.

  • Tochi Heredia

    I love that redemption is a sure thing, that deliverance is guaranteed. It fills me with so much hope, knowing that it’s because of His goodness and His righteousness that I am saved, that I have been freed from the hold of sin and death only because it was His plan.
    Oh Lord, forgive me for believing that I can somehow save myself. I can’t, and there’s nothing I can add to what you have already done. It is complete, it is finished. Praise be to God!

  • Churchmouse

    Is this not always the challenge when confronted with hard and trying circumstances: to remember Whose we are and what God has done for us? Is this not the challenge: to persevere and in the perseverance to yet see God’s blessings still abound? Because I often have blinders on when times are difficult, I need Christian fellowship. I need others to remind me of God’s promises and God’s faithfulness. I need their encouragement and words of comfort. I need them to help me remember. God has been faithful to provide each and every time. I need to remember. I need to hear the testimonies of fellow pilgrims. So thankful today for the gift of community, the gift of friendship in Christ.

    • Tochi Heredia

      Yes!!! Thank you for this encouragement ❤

      • PursuedByHim

        Yes! After every difficult season, I can look back and see how God worked and kept me to Himself! Always!

    • Heather(MNmomma)

      I am currently in a very difficult season in my life…..lots of unexpected changes….but God has definitely provided me with amazing people to help keep my eyes focused on Him….to pray with me and support our family as we walk thru uncharted territory…So thankful for His never ending love!

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