August, 2009 Topic: Esther … Continued from July 31, 2009
2009 – Day 212.Aug 01 – Take Heart
Passage of the Day: Esther: 8: 1 – 8 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Wow! King Xerxes (i.e., Ahasurerus) really did a turnabout, didn’t he? He went from supporting Haman’s evil plot to being putty in the hands of Esther in just a few days. How could that be? Well, the answer to that is obvious. God had answered the cries and prayers of Mordecai and Esther, both of whom believed in a God Whom they knew could do what He did to protect God’s people. And they laid their lives on this faith by taking their pleas to the Persian King as well.
And Swindoll uses this story of God working to soften the heart of Esther’s husband, the King, to illustrate a truth that is difficult to believe at times. We see people in our lives who have hearts which are hardened against God or who have anger or hatred for us personally; and it’s easy for us to think that it’s impossible for that person’s heart/mind to change. Perhaps you’ve got a boss who’s got it in for you. Maybe you’re spouse has held a grudge against something you did to wrong him/her in the past. Maybe you see someone in power carrying out some evil agenda; and in your human heart you just don’t see this person’s attitude changing.
Well, we’ve probably all faced someone with a heart set against us as Esther faced in Haman and her own husband. But when God’s will was carried out in the Persian palace, the King’s heart did a “180” and he saw Esther, and her people, the Jews, in a whole different light. The point here is … if God can change the heart of a King Xerxes, he can change the hearts of any of us.
And I, personally, can give witness to that. About 30 years ago, I was a die-hard, and somewhat cynical atheist. Oh, I called myself an “agnostic,” because I thought it was a softer term to describe my attitude about the concept of a personal God. It’s a rather long story involving a chain of rather incredible events in my life; but after denouncing God at age 20 in college, at age 39 my whole attitude about God did a 180; and in 1983 I surrendered my life to Christ. And the Lord has transformed this formerly hard-hearted God-hater to an ardent God-lover … an agent of Satan to a Minister of God’s Gospel. And anyone who knew me back in the 60s would have never thought it possible for this spiritual heart transplant to take place.
So, my life is a testimony, as is the story we’ve been following about King Xerxes and Esther, to the incredible truth that God can soften or change the heart of anyone. Why God would do that is God’s business. God is God; and he will work His will as He chooses. But if God can change Bill Berry from atheist against God to advocate for God, He can change anyone. If He can soften the heart of a King Xerxes the way He did to protect Esther and the Jews. He can change your boss’ attitude or the hardened heart of your spouse. I’m sure you’ve read it in the Bible, … that NOTHING is impossible for God! How many lives have we read about changing or being transformed in the Bible to believe this truth?
Now, the question is, do we believe it when it applies to someone in our life whose heart is hardened against us or against God. I have a sister who cannot seem to see Jesus as Savior. You may have a wife who’s so angry at you, she would never seem to be able to get over it and forgive you. Perhaps you see a powerful figure, maybe even our President, perpetuating evil agendas in our world; and you have trouble believing that God could or would do business in the background to change the heart of any of these people. Well, God can; and He will – if it is His will.
And what does God want from us as we agonize over the hardened hearts of those in our lives who, as I’ve described above, have come against us or our way of life? He wants us to cry out to Him. He wants us to wait on Him. He wants us to trust in Him. And when we’ve done all we can, praying all we can, and patiently waiting as long as it takes, God will do what is right. He will always do what it right.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I wait on You. Amen