Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Initial Reaction

Esther 4:1-3

Have you ever received news that was either so devastating or overwhelming you didn't know what to do?  I remember receiving the news that a friend's child had passed away in an accident.  I was so overwhelmed by this news that all I could do was cry and pray.  I couldn't sleep for nights because all I could think about was my friend mourning the loss of her sweet daughter.  Those sleepless nights were spent asking God why this had to happen and to pray for my friends to feel God's arms around them.  Today's section of scripture shows how a nation had a similar reaction to terrible news by fasting and mourning.  The story I'm looking at is in the book of Esther, and at this point in the story Haman had just plotted to have all the Jews in the Persian Empire annihilated.  Please read Esther 4:1-3 to see Mordecai's reaction along with the rest of the Jews.

We are told that the Jews were all fasting, weeping, and wailing.  In their culture the term "wailing" was not used lightly.  This was a reaction that made everyone in the area know that you were in distress.  I cannot imagine what kind of a scene this had to be in Susa and throughout the empire.  They were also fasting.  I cannot help but think that during this time of fasting that Mordecai was turning to God for wisdom on how to handle this situation along with prayers for deliverance.  I don't know if the Jews living in Susa were familiar with the book of Psalms, but Psalm 109:20-27 may have been his prayer:
 May this be the LORD’s payment to my accusers,
   to those who speak evil of me.
 But you, Sovereign LORD,
   help me for your name’s sake;
   out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
For I am poor and needy,
   and my heart is wounded within me.
I fade away like an evening shadow;
   I am shaken off like a locust.
My knees give way from fasting;
   my body is thin and gaunt.
I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
   when they see me, they shake their heads.
 Help me, LORD my God;
   save me according to your unfailing love.
Let them know that it is your hand,
   that you, LORD, have done it.

Looking at more of Esther chapter 4, tomorrow I want to look at another way the Jews fasted in this situation.  What I do want to consider is that God helped give Mordecai wisdom to go to Esther to plead with her to help her fellow Jews in this situation.  Please look at how Mordecai responded to Esther's concerns and hesitation with the task of approaching the king in Esther 4:12-14.  I think when we approach God in a situation where we have no idea how to respond and seek His wisdom, we will receive wisdom.  Please look at James 1:4-6.  When we seek God, we must believe that He will guide us through our difficult situations in a way that is best for Him.  In fact, Psalm 109:27 sums it up nicely, "Let them know that it is Your hand, that You, LORD, have done it."  Let the world know that God gets all the glory!

Have you sought God for wisdom in your situation?

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