Passage of the Day: Esther 5: 4 – 8 … 4 So Esther answered, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him.” 5 Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, that he may do as Esther has said.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet that Esther had prepared. 6 At the banquet of wine the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request, up to half the kingdom? It shall be done!” 7 Then Esther answered and said, “My petition and request is this: 8 If I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, then let the king and Haman come to the banquet which I will prepare for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king has said.”
My Journal for Today: Today’s devotional entry from Chuck Swindoll in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, hit home for me; and Chuck got a bit preachy with it today. He again points to the study passage in Esther for today (cited above) as an example of waiting patiently and quietly for God to work and not being quick to make critical decisions as well as not speaking out too quickly to put God in a box.
Swindoll explains his skepticism, and even a degree of cynicism, with people who seem to regularly blurt out that they’ve gotten a clear word from God, hearing Him say “this or that.” Oh, don’t get me wrong; … I’m not saying that God couldn’t speak to the minds of believers; but I’m not one of those who hears Him speaking directly to me. And I agree with Chuck that Esther was simply one who waited on God to move; and she used her mind and spiritual experience to help her discern God’s lead, even though she was limited to move ahead with Godly purpose as circumstances required definite decision and action, being so young. Esther had been raised by a Godly mentor, Mordecai; and she was steeped in prayer and used God’s moving in her life to discern His way. And finally, when she discerned where God was leading, Esther simply followed in faith.
When you see a need for God’s intervention, do you hear God speaking to you directly? Unlikely, I feel. I’m afraid I’m like Swindoll. When I hear someone say, “God spoke to me clearly and said ‘this or that,’ I’m admittedly skeptical or even doubtful of such proclamations. Most of the time, in my life, God speaks to me in a “still small voice.” But unlike Elijah (see 1st Kings 19: 12) or Moses with the burning bush, God, as I believe He does now in this age of grace, speaks to me primarily through the voice of His word, the Bible. Then, sometimes I discern God leading me through the advice of other Godly, biblically sound, Christians whom I seek out for counsel. And the final way He “speaks” to me is through my discernment of the timing and power of circumstances in my life. Oh, sometimes I hear “a word” of what I seem to know of “God’s truth” by hearing a sermon from my Pastor or a teaching from someone, like a Chuck Swindoll or a John MacArthur or an R.C. Sproul; and the timing of that message, which “speaks” to some moment or need in my life, just seems like God giving me direction, guidance, or encouragement.
Swindoll teaches in today’s devotional, and I agree, that Esther’s example is a good one with regard to seeking a “word” from God. And Swindoll writes, “God gave you a mind. God gave you reason. God gave you a unique sensitivity; it’s built into your spiritual system.” And like Esther, we need to use them to discern God’s will and His way; and I believe this “word” comes by our faith in and our following of God’s living Word, the Bible. Swindoll’s teaching rings true to me here as he writes, “Get into His word. Get on your knees. Accept counsel from those who are maturing and balanced believers, solidly biblical in their theology and in their own lives.” And then Swindoll teaches for us to be like Esther and … wait.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, let me use my mind and my “ears” of discernment to wait on you to speak to me in/through Your word and from the circumstances of my life. Help me to seek Your will, to follow Your way, and to follow Your lead, which I most often find in Your word. Amen