Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday, January 10 ~ Miriam

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 17-18; Psalm 7; Matthew 7.
Today's scripture focus is Esther 6:14-7:10.
Driscoll sermon for this passage:  Jesus is a Better Esther

Boy, the king must have been pretty curious by now, right?  His wife had approached him without being summoned, knowing that this could possibly result in her death, so he must have known that whatever it was that she wanted was important.  She invites him to a banquet, not once, but twice.  I can't know for certain, but I imagine he must have been burning with curiosity by now.  He may have been delusional enough to think that she merely wanted to bask in the glow of his presence, but I don't think so.  I get the sense that he was at least smart enough to figure out that she didn't just miss him after not having been summoned for a month and want to dine with him.

Now Esther speaks.  Before his curiosity becomes aggravation, she respectfully makes her request.  Notice how she gets right to the heart of the matter and makes it very clear that if this was not of the utmost importance, she would not have troubled him with it.  I wonder what he was expecting?  I'm sure it wasn't for her to say that her request was that he spare her life and the lives of her people!

From Driscoll's sermon:

And let me say, this is, to this moment, the most important moment of Esther’s life. You need to know this: not every day is equally important. Not every moment is equally important. Not every opportunity is equally important. There must be times where the Holy Spirit gives us discernment that it is an urgent matter, that this is a one occasion that cannot be missed. These are sacred windows in life. That is, they pass by. If we miss them, they’re gone forever.
Sometimes among God’s people, there’s no sense of timing, there’s no sense of urgency, and it’s often because we’re absolutely, continually, selfishly consumed with our own affairs. Esther’s eyes are up, not in. She’s not looking at the chance that she might die, that she might suffer, she’s looking at the fate of others and the urgent situation that is set before them.
There are days when you will make a decision that alters the course of your whole life, and the more authority and power you have, it will affect everyone who is under your authority: parents, spouses, pastors, business leaders, ministry leaders, teachers. Keep your eyes open, keep your heart affixed toward the needs of others, and don’t be a coward and miss the opportunities to make a difference that God gives you.
And some of you say, “I don’t know if I’ll ever have an opportunity as Esther did.” None of us will, but God will give us our providentially appointed opportunities to love, serve, make a difference for others, and if we’re self-consumed with our own interests, we’ll overlook the interests of others. Esther, here, is a magnificent example by the grace of God, and she’s not always been a magnificent example, so there’s hope for those of us who have much to learn and grow. 

I really like what Driscoll says later in the sermon as well.  He says "I want you to see that divine sovereignty and human responsibility work together. There are basically two perspectives theologically. One emphasizes God’s sovereignty. “God’s in charge, God’s in control, God works it out, God takes care of it, God’s in the details, he’s got it all handled.” Others will go to other parts of the Scripture and say, “You need to speak, you need to give, you need to serve, you need to try, you need to help, you need to care, you’ve got to do your part.”
And the truth is it’s like two pedals on a bike. You do your part, God’s certainly going to do his part. You give what he’s asked you to give, he’s going to ask everybody else to give. He’ll make up the difference. You show up, that’s okay, God’s already going to be there. God is at work in the story of Esther, and part of his work is through Esther. She’s working with God.

Isn't that awesome?  Two pedals on a bike.  God gives the victory, but you still have to swing your own sword.  You can't just stand there and wait for Him to do all the work.  But if you step up and are obedient to what He's asked of you, He's right there, giving you the strength you need, giving you the words to say, preparing the way for your next step of obedience.  I love that.

Happy Thursday!  God be with you.


Tomorrow's scripture focus:  Esther 8.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage:  Genesis 19-20; Psalm 8; Matthew 8.


LaughingLady said...

I like that analogy, too. I find myself often debating (usually with myself!) the issue of God's sovereignty vs. man's responsibility, even though I think each time that I've finally settled it for myself. But it doesn't matter from which angle I argue, I never reach a definitive conclusion! So every single time, I'm forced to concede they simply work together in a way I just don't understand. Just like Jesus being fully God and fully human at the same time, or God being one God, but existing in three beings. Those things don't really "make sense" either, but we accept them by faith anyway.

It's really true that "if God was small enough to understand, He wouldn't be big enough to worship."

(I don't know who said it, but it's a quote I've seen and heard periodically that I agree with!)

TammyIsBlessed said...

Those exact points jumped out at me too!

One thing I noticed in our OT readings for today - this is the 2nd time Abraham has lied about Sarah being his sister. This time it very specifically says that the king did not sleep with her. Does that mean that... 1) The first time the king did sleep with her or 2) This time it was more important to make sure we knew that the king didn't sleep with her because she got pregnant with Isaac around this time and there needed to be no question about his parentage.

Pamela said...

Two pedals on a bike...great image to remember.

Tammi --I like that quote too and it helps when I just can't wrap my head around stuff.