Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday, January 9th

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 6:1-13
Mark Driscoll's Esther series sermon - Jesus is a Better Servant

In this passage we see God's providence so clearly.  And God's sense of humour too!

I mean, it couldn't have been orchestrated any better.

Haman's just made his diabolical plan to have Mordecai crucified on a 75' pole for everyone to see, then King Xerxes has a sleepless night at which point he discovers that Mordecai had never been rewarded for saving the king's life years earlier, then Haman just happens to be in the court when Xerxes needs an opinion on how best to reward someone (because he apparently makes no decisions without consulting someone), Haman mistakenly assumes Xerxes is referring to him, and Haman ends up throwing a parade for the man he wanted to crucify.  For all that to line up that way?  The world would call it a coincidence.  But, as Driscoll says, coincidence is a non-Christian's word for providence.  This is the providence of God, no doubt about it.

The issue for Haman here is pride.  Pure and simple.

But before we bash Haman to much, aren't we guilty of the same thing?  Maybe not to the same level - I haven't planned anyone's crucifixion for injuring my pride (though obviously I also do not have the power to do so, and it does make you wonder how much more amplified our sins would be if our power was unlimited).

Almost all sin is rooted in pride.

Driscoll gives several points about pride and humility....
Pride doesn't know it's place and always wants to be top dog.
We're all proud in different ways, but we're often blind to our own pride yet very aware of everyone else's.
Humility is a never-ending journey.  We're always fighting our prideful nature.  But we still have to try.  Every day.
Pride is about my glory.  Humility is about God's glory.  The easiest, simplest way to clarify things is to choose the path that gives God the glory.  The goal of the Christian should be to always choose to live in a way that glorifies God.  In everything.   If we're wondering whether or not we should do something or react a certain way, almost invariably the answer is easy when we consider what we need to do in order to most glorify God.
Pride focuses on me.  Humility focuses on others and God.
The end result of pride is death, but the result of humility is life.

And then he's got some very pointed questions that left me squirming more than a bit....

Do you crave attention, honor, recognition, reward, and get angry when overlooked?

Number two: do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed?

Number three: do you always have to win?

Number four: do you lack ambition for fear of failing?...For some of you, the pride causes you to try and do more than you can do. For others of you, it causes you to be a coward and to not do all you can do.

Number five: do you have a pattern of lying about or hiding your failures?

Number six: do you have a hard time fully acknowledging you were wrong?

Number seven: do you have a lot of conflicts with other people?

Number eight: do you honestly feel you are superior to most people?

And number nine: Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness?..See, the truth is we deserve hell. Everything else is a gift.

Anybody else squirming right now?  I hope it's not just me.

We were designed to worship.  We were designed to worship God.  But our sin causes us to desire to worship ourselves instead.  To crave glory.  To be recognized for our accomplishments.  For people to think we're awesome.

Pride is what causes us to sin, and pride is what keeps us from repenting.

Haman demonstrated worldly sorrow.

Let me tell you what worldly sorrow is. Worldly sorrow grieves the effects of sin and not the offense of sin. Worldly sorrow causes you to feel horrible for what’s going to happen to you, not that you have offended God. It’s still about you. It’s not about him.

So oftentimes, Christians misinterpret worldly sorrow for true repentance.

Pride goeth before a fall, right?  And it can happen fast.  Oh, it can happen fast.

Haman started the day off great.  He just had dinner with the King and Queen and he's going to another one tonight.  He's 2nd in command of the Persian empire.  He's got power, money, a wife and friends.  He has the King's trust.  And it's all about to come crashing down.  And the bigger the are, the harder they fall, right?

The way out of your pride is not to focus on your humility, because that's still about you. The way out is to focus on God, to focus on Jesus.

Obviously, underneath the plan to destroy the Jews is Satan.  Satan knows the prophecy - that Jesus will come from the line of Abraham.  And if he can destroy the Jews he can stop Jesus from coming.  The funny thing is that he actually thinks there's a chance he can succeed.  (Note: this does not absolve Haman of any guilt whatsoever!)  But of course, he does not succeed.  God's hand of providence moves and His people are spared and Jesus comes and Satan is defeated.

Satan will only be finally defeated after the second coming, but that doesn't stop him from trying to win the battle that we know he can't win.  He's still fighting, he's still trying to do as much damage as he can, he still hates God's people - Gentile or Jew.  But God's plan will not be thwarted.  Jesus will come again and Satan will be defeated forever.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Esther 6:14-7:10
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Genesis 19-20, Psalm 8, Matthew 8


Miriam said...

Oh no, Tammy, you're not the only one squirming. Very, very good point near the end about the way out of pride being not to focus on your humility but to focus on God.

LaughingLady said...

I'm always amused by this part of the story too ~ what delicious irony!! Haman's wife's almost prophetic statement always kind of amazes me, too. I can imagine it frustrated Haman a little ~ I mean, seriously, where the heck was this little nugget of wisdom BEFORE I started plotting to annihilate the entire Jewish nation because of him?? Timing, woman ~ TIMING!!!

I struggle with pride issues like anyone else, but I think my entitlement issues have lessened over the years. That statement, "We all deserve hell. Everything else is a gift." is something that's become quite central to my appreciation for God's mercy and grace. And really helped me in my pursuit of joy and contentment DESPITE circumstances as well.

LaughingLady said...

That last sentence should say "And really HELPS me in my pursuit of joy and contentment..." I certainly haven't arrived!!

Pamela said...


""The way out of your pride is not to focus on your humility, because that's still about you. The way out is to focus on God, to focus on Jesus."

It's all about Him...not me.