Pride and Destruction (Word to the Wise)

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, NKJV). “Pride” is one word in our English language that is both good and bad. For instance, when one says, “I am proud of my grandchildren because they graduated with honors from high school.” One does not hear this is any negative sort of way. The word “pride” in this proverb means, “an inordinate self-esteem, conceit” (Webster’s 1451). This is perfectly illustrated in the story of Esther, where Haman was so consumed with himself and his defeat of Esther’s guardian, Mordecai, that he failed to see clearly that his plans for the queen’s fatherly figure was actually a trap he laid for himself. P-R-I-D-E equals personalridicule toward other individuals wherein one’s personal destruction of ego is forthcoming! How’s that for a definition! However one might try to describe p-r-i-d-e, it will surely lead to a downfall! RT


#esther, #mordecai, #providence

Did you know Esther did something for you?

Did you know Queen Esther – yes that Queen Esther – did something for you?

After Mordecai and Esther exchange some serious messages about the newly legislated Persian law concerning the Jews and the seriousness of inviting one’s self into King Ahasuerus’ presence, the Bible says: Continue reading

#esther, #genealogy-of-jesus-christ, #plan-of-god, #salvation

The silent cries of people only you can help

esther-timeThe scripture for today, April 14, is Esther 4:14b as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

“And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Today’s scripture is about a reluctant young lady who won a beauty contest and was chosen to be queen of Persia. Time has passed, and now a command had just gone out to kill all Jews. Esther was a Jewess but had not told anyone at the royal court. She could continue to hide her nationality and let all her people die, or she could intervene with the king. She was the only Jew the king would have listened to. So she took the chance that she, too, would be killed and spoke on behalf of her people. They were saved. Continue reading

#esther, #timeliness, #uniqueness

Some “Virtues” in Esther (2)

Yesterday we considered some lessons to be learned from the Book of Esther. Today, there are five additional points to consider.

1. Virtue in being principled (3:3). Mordecai must have been some kind of man. His home destroyed and his family ripped apart. Before him was a little girl (his niece) named Hadassah (Esther). He raises her to be a young woman who understands authority and respects it highly. While he had a prominent position before the king, he was principled enough to lose it rather than go contrary to what he conscientiously believed – though it probably helps when arrogance presents itself. However, even with this Mordecai had much to lose (Keil & Delitzsch has some useful remarks in this regard). What Mordecai could have lost was of less importance than what he insisted on maintaining – his integrity and devotion to the One who loves all.

2. Virtue in location (4:14). Esther, a modest woman, was one who resolved to have great courage. Yet, this courage was not so obvious at the instant of her learning about the destruction planned for her people; it was Mordecai who brought it out in her. If there was a time in which he wondered about what would happen to his niece, perhaps he is now assured that she was raised for this purpose (cf. Romans 9:17). However, this was not obvious to her. Nevertheless, she prepares herself to do the right thing. Reflecting on our own lives, are we in our respective locations for the purposes of the Lord? Whether we are or not; whether we know or not, let us live and serve the Lord as the beacon of righteousness He wants of us.

3. Virtue in self-evaluation (6:7). Arrogance is one attribute that turns people off as quickly as it is recognized. Haman must have been some kind of arrogant man, but because of his position, people feared him and didn’t dare to tell him to “tone-it-down.” There is a difference between arrogance and confidence. When one is arrogant, he (she) thinks much of self in spite of the evidence to the contrary. When one is confident in relation to the Lord, he (she) has assurance because of the Lord who has already walked the path which we are on. This confidence, though, is one that encourages and demands self-evaluation by a standard different that self (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

4. Virtue in presumption (7:5). The NKJV reads the Haman’s actions were interpreted by the king as presumptuous (though the king did not immediately know it was Haman until Esther identified him). It mattered not whether the king interpreted correctly or not, for he was in position to interpret however he wanted to interpret it. So interpreting as he did, the king could surely see that as ambitious as Haman was, his interpretation was not far wrong. One does not have to be ambitious, however, to be presumptuous. All one has to do to be presumptuous is to attribute authority to self and then begin to move on that self-aggrandizement. Is there virtue in presumption? Not in the way it unfolded for Haman, and not in the way it unfolds for those who presume on the Lord’s authority.

5. Virtue in reciprocity (9:25). Moses told those who prepared to live on the east side of the Jordan River that if they did not follow through with their commitment, be sure their sin would find them out (Numbers 32:23). Justice has a way of tending to those who violate her!

#esther, #mordecai, #virtue

Some “Virtues” in Esther

The book of Esther is known for a number of things. We learn of the virtue of Queen Vashti, the principled Mordecai, and the providence of God. As important as these points are, there are some additional lessons to learn in the book. I hope to bring some of these to your attention in two postings.

1. Is there virtue in parading another person, especially such a prominent person as Queen Vashti (1:11-12)? Whatever “virtue” there might have been in the minds of some prominent men, the queen certainly saw nothing in their form of virtue, if it can be called that! In Scripture, parading one in the presence of others suggest the one paraded is a conquered foe, and the queen was going to have none of that! She stood her ground and it cost her. What did it cost? It cost her royal position, protection, and possessions. In what it cost her, she had something that she would not sell – her dignity.

2. Virtue in leadership (1:22). Most assuredly there is virtue in leadership, but is leadership to be compelled or earned? A quality of leadership is respect and when another is commanded to respect a position (or person), that respect has a hard time making its way into the heart of the one so commanded. The wife is to lover her husband, respecting his God-ordained position of leadership. It is likely that a wife will readily submit to a loving husband that she respects, but if she does not respect him, will there be submission or resistance?

3. Virtue in beauty (2:9, 12). The harem of the king was to be prepared on the outside, but beauty is to have more depth than that. Peter told the women of his day that beauty was to reside in the “hidden person of the heart,” something that had depth and not only in appearance. Men and women want to look attractive to the opposite sex, but being attractive on the outside without the inside makes for a short and disruptive relationship. Those who have already experienced this can’t tell you adequately the heartache endured.

4. Virtue in modesty (2:15). Modesty, in religious circles, is generally associated with one’s apparel. Modesty, however, goes to the heart. When the heart is interested in virtue, is there a need to promote self? Esther was in a difficult circumstance, and when she went into the king, imagine the apprehension, fear, dread, and the other emotions that might have come over her. Whatever she might have thought (or felt), she goes in at the advice of the king’s servant. Perhaps it is not unreasonable to think that one of the attractive features of Esther was this little thing the Holy Spirit notes for us.

#esther, #mordecai, #virtue

A project I would like to finish in Marc…

A project I would like to finish in March is a book, more of a homiletic commentary on the Book of Esther. It has been proofread by two sisters, and I am re-doing parts of it. Then it goes to my daughter Stephanie who works at 21st Century Christian and she will do the editing for me.