Friday, December 30, 2011

An Unlikely Treasure—God Sees Differently


Good Afternoon dear Readers. I feel great today! Today in particular I felt like blogging before I busy myself up. I want to give you, my lovely friends, an update and something to inspire you as well. Who doesn't want to get inspired, right? I myself get inspired by your blog posts and as God has placed in my heart, I'd love to give back. You see, a certain topic has been bouncing off the top of my head and I just can't wait to share it with you: How God transforms something ordinary into something rather extraordinary! And so...let the story unfold...


One Night With the King: The Story of Esther





Oofuh! Let me just blow the dust off of my imaginary ancient bible. Many, many, many years ago, in a country called Persia (Babylon), there was a king named Xerxes and a queen named Vashti. King Xerxes ordered his wife Vashti to appear before him at a party so that he could display her beauty for all to see. When she refused, the king was furious.
In case that wasn't bad enough, a horrible man named Haman was one of the King's advisers. Haman warned the king that if word got around, all wives would disrespect their husbands in the same manner. At Haman's urging, King Xerxes ordered that his wife be "banished."
King Xerxes, with Haman's advice, ordered a search through the kingdom for a beautiful virgin girl to be his bride. These women underwent tedious beauty tests, just like a Ms. America Pageant. It wasn't too long before the King's scouts happened upon Esther. Esther was beautiful, gracious and kind -- just what the king was looking for.  After she won the King's favor, Esther was married to the king Xerxes.








Now Esther was a Jew. The Jews had been driven out of Israel, their home, about 70 years before and exiled in Persia. Although they did there best to make a living in this strange land, they prayed that someday they would be able to return to their home. Esther's uncle Mordechai, was the leader of the Jews. Mordechai encouraged Esther to hide her faith from the King and his advisers, which she did.



Haman had, by this time, become a powerful man in the kingdom - Prime Minister of Persia in fact. He decided that given his rise in power, it would be appropriate for everyone to bow down to him. But Mordechai refused to bow down to a man. Haman was very angry and asked the King to authorize a royal decree to annihilate the Jews.







Haman cast lots to determine the day this was to happen. And so it was decreed that in Adar of the coming year, on the 13th day of the month, all the Jews were to be killed, in every province and every nation of the land. There would be no place to run, and no place to hide.

This is where our courageous Queen Esther comes into the picture -- Mordechai, having found out about Haman's evil intentions, sent Esther a message. He told her what Haman was plotting and asked her to go to the King on the Jews behalf.

Esther was terribly afraid. She hadn't been allowed to see the King for a month. In fact, no one could see him without being invited. But she fasted and prayed for three days, mustered up her courage and went to see the king. Her exact words were, "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish" Esther 4:16. Although he was initially angry at her, King Xerxes spared her life and offered "half [his] kingdom for [her] wishes,"



All she asked was that the King and Haman join her for dinner that night.
As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, "Now what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted." Esther replied, "My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king's question." Of course, both the King and Haman agreed to attend a second banquet with the lovely young Queen.

Haman was very pleased that he'd been asked to dine with Achashveyrosh and Esther two nights in a row and was filled with pride. But then he saw Mordecai at the king's gate and still Mordecai refused to bow to him. Haman was filled with rage. He decided that night to build a gallows with which to hang Mordechai and planned to speak to the king about it the very next morning. That way, he'd have the whole matter dealt with during the day and be able to enjoy the next evening's banquet in peace.
That same night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. The book was turned to the day Mordecai exposed a plot to assassinate the King. The King was reminded of this tale and asked what reward Mordecai had received. The king's attendants told him that nothing had been done for Mordecai.

The next morning, just as Haman was arriving to ask that Mordecai be hanged the king asked him, "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?" Haman, still filled with pride, mistakenly thought the king was referring to him. So he answered the king, "For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king's most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, `This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!'"
Imagine Haman's embarrassed face when the King commanded, "Go at once. Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king's gate." Haman obeyed. He was very upset that Mordecai, his enemy, was being honored by the king. Immediately after leading Mordecai around the city proclaiming, "This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!", Haman had to go to the banquet with the King and Queen.
 
Finally Esther shared the secret of her faith and proclaimed herself a Jew. She begged the king to spare her people. Harbona, one of the king's attendants told the king of the gallows that Haman had built to have Mordecai hanged. The king was furious with Haman and ordered that he be hanged on those gallows. Haman's pride and cruelty had led to his own destruction and the brave, young Esther had saved her people.



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At first Glance, to many, Esther might have looked average. Just like any other "Jewish" girl but she was not. In God's eyes she was a brave hero, while she herself probably looked in the mirror and saw a frightened young nobody. Because Esther feared and obeyed God, she saved the lives of her beloved people. Did Jesus not do the same for us? The difference here is that God did not spill her blood. God honored Esther because like David, she did not fight greatly... she believed greatly. What must she have felt in those trying moments of life and death? We too face moments in our lives where we have to make a decision: Are we going to listen to what God commands us to do or are we going to run from the call? Like Esther, we must have faith that our God will come through for us. Yes, our situation may seem impossible and, yes, it might seem like there is no hope but...we serve the true and living God who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. A God, like the word says, who is not a man to lie nor a son of man to change His mind. If He said that He would never leave then He will never leave us;However, it's up to us to believe. Like Esther was told that if she did not obey God she would either way perish, we will also face worse things if we do not obey God. He would never let us suffer without He Himself being there on the other side to comfort us, but we have to be brave and go forth in the name of the most powerful God in whatever we do or face. You and I might think of ourselves as ordinary but God sees differently. And what God sees is far more important than what man sees.


(1 Samuel 16:7) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

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