Doing The Right Thing!

There is tremendous comfort and joy when you know that you are in the center of God’s will! Most of the time we rarely see that the events of our day are being ordered by one Who is infinitely wise in all His planning. When we can line our lives with His plan, we have reached the ‘sweet spot’ of life. God is preparing situations and circumstances long before we reach the intersections of life. He is pulling strings as a great Puppeteer to bring about his purpose and plan for our lives. Sometimes these things may seem to be out of control or strange and without meaning. But remember this: nothing is by chance; there is no coincidence; and nothing happens without His control!

One of the great works of literature that illustrates this the most is the Book of Esther, which happens to be one of the 66 books that make up what we know as the Bible. Esther is the only book in the Bible that never mentions God but He is in every chapter as the Blessed Controller of all things. There are four main characters in this book: 1. Xerxes who is the King of Persia. 2. Haman who is the king’s right hand man, and the villain of the story. 3. Esther, a young Jewish woman, and the winner of the first Miss Persia contest and the queen of Persia. 4. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle and step-father, who was a prominent member of the Jewish community.

The book of Esther focuses more on Mordecai than on Esther. It is Mordecai who is the most involved and most important human in bringing about the deliverance of the Jews from a planned extermination of them which is the main story of the book. Mordecai and Esther had risen to positions of prominence in King Xerxes’ court. But the king didn’t know Mordecai was Esther’s uncle and he also didn’t know that Esther was a Jew.

Esther 3:1-6 (GW)

Later, King Xerxes promoted Haman. (Haman was the son of Hammedatha and was from Agag.) He gave Haman a position higher in authority than all the other officials who were with him. [2] All the king’s advisers were at the king’s gate, kneeling and bowing to Haman with their faces touching the ground, because the king had commanded it. But Mordecai would not kneel and bow to him.

[3] Then the king’s advisers at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why do you ignore the king’s command?” [4] Although they asked him day after day, he paid no attention to them. So they informed Haman to see if Mordecai’s actions would be tolerated, since Mordecai had told them that he was a Jew.

[5] When Haman saw that Mordecai did not kneel and bow to him, Haman was infuriated. [6] Because the king’s advisers had informed him about Mordecai’s nationality, he thought it beneath himself to kill only Mordecai. So Haman planned to wipe out Mordecai’s people: all the Jews in the entire kingdom of Xerxes.

Here is another plan of Satan to stop the plans of God by wiping out the Jews and eliminate the lineage leading to the coming of the Messiah! Mordecai didn’t come to the conclusion that he shouldn’t bow down to Haman, all by himself. God specifically stated that in the 10 commandments. As a good Jewish boy, he had been taught this command from an early age. So, Mordecai didn’t have to guess at what was the right thing to do, he knew it based on God’s Word. Mordecai wanted Esther to approach the king on his behalf. Esther was not so instructed as Mordecai, we see this in her confusion and hesitancy in approaching the king.

Esther 4:6-8 (GW)

So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the city square in front of the king’s gate. [7] Mordecai informed him about everything that had happened to him. He told him the exact amount of silver that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasury to destroy the Jews. [8] He also gave him a copy of the decree that was issued in Susa. The decree gave permission to exterminate the Jews. Hathach was supposed to show it to Esther to inform and command her to go to the king, beg him for mercy, and appeal to him for her people.

Esther 4:10-17 (GW)

Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to say to Mordecai, [11] “All the king’s advisers and the people in the king’s provinces know that no one approaches the king in the throne room without being summoned. By law that person must be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to him will he live. I, myself, have not been summoned to enter the king’s presence for 30 days now.” [12] So Esther’s servants told Mordecai what Esther said.

[13] Mordecai sent this answer back to Esther, “Do not imagine that just because you are in the king’s palace you will be any safer than all the rest of the Jews. [14] The fact is, even if you remain silent now, someone else will help and rescue the Jews, but you and your relatives will die. And who knows, you may have gained your royal position for such a time as this.”

[15] Esther sent this reply back to Mordecai, [16] “Assemble all the Jews in Susa. Fast for me: Do not eat or drink at all for three entire days. My servants and I will also fast. After that, I will go to the king, even if it is against a royal decree. If I perish, I perish.”

[17] Mordecai did just as Esther had commanded him.

What are the underlying principles illustrated here?

  • Determine what is the right thing to do based on the principles of Scripture and when necessary, the counsel of godly men and women. Esther valued the counsel of Mordecai because it was based on God’s Word.
  • Take courageous action for I am here for such a time as this! Esther determined to make a courageous step because it was the right thing to do.
  • Leave the results to God: if I perish, I perish!

The end of the story, as far as Esther and Mordecai are concerned, is that Esther was successful. The King welcomed her. Haman was executed for his wicked plot against the Jews. The Jewish nation was saved from annihilation. And, even beyond that, Mordecai became the number two man in the kingdom. What a great ending to Esther and Mordecai’s story!

But what about your story? Are you going to take the safe, secure, easy route? Or will you determine what is right? Take courageous action and leave the results to God?

Total Forgiveness

This is one of my favorite books! It is ‘God Meant It For Good’ by R.T. Kendall. It is a fresh look at the life of Joseph. I don’t know that I have enjoyed a book as much as I have enjoyed this one. The chapter on forgiveness is the best I have ever seen. To erase the bitterness, we need to focus on real forgiveness.

Joseph demonstrated total forgiveness when he forgave his brothers.

1. Total forgiveness is when we protect the one we forgive. In Genesis 45:1, Joseph asked everyone to leave the room except his brothers. Why? because he did not want anyone to know what they had done to him.

2. Total forgiveness wants to make a person feel completely at ease. In Genesis 45:3, the brothers were troubled…and then Joseph asked them to come near.

3. Total forgiveness will not even allow the person to feel bad or angry with himself. In Genesis 45:4-5, Joseph says, do not be grieved or angry with yourselves.

4. Total forgiveness acknowledges that God was in charge thru the whole ordeal. ‘God did send me before you to preserve life!’

5. Total forgiveness is demonstrated when we keep someone’s sin hidden from the person who means most to him or her. Joseph said, tell dad that God sent Joseph before you to Egypt to preserve life for you.

Isn’t it time to totally forgive…in light of the cross. Aren’t you glad God totally forgave?

Trust God No Matter What Comes

The children of Israel were in captivity because they listened to the false prophets instead of the True God. King Nebuchadnezzar, enemy to the children of God, became an instrument in the hands of God in order to discipline the Lord’s children. The same thing is happening today. God is using the enemy to humble this country so that we will turn our faces back toward God.

While in Babylon the children of Israel started looking for a word from God. So they went to false prophets, but God sent a word by the true Prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah 29:10-11, For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I. God’s Time Limit

A. You’re not coming out until God says you’re coming out.
B. If it is a lesson to learn, the class must finish or if it is sin, you have to reap the harvest of the sins you’ve sown.
C. No matter what you do, you cannot escape the training of God or the judgment of God.

II. God’s Words

A. It’s been said that God whispers in our joy, but he yells in our pain. He had to get their attention.

B. He said, ‘I know the plans that I have for you.’

C. The reason some of us are in a mess today is because we thought we could plan our own lives.

D. Now we’re like Israel, in a strange place that has become our dwelling places.

E. God has to remind us that he knows what’s in front of us. In fact he’s gone before us, so when we get to the problem He’s already there.

F. Verse eleven isn’t just a reference to God’s Omniscience but it is a reference to his Omnipotence.

III. God’s Description of His Plan for Us

A. A Peace Plan
1. …with our enemies. …with God himself. God is literally saying I’m going to give you more of Myself. And I will be your peace. I will cause you to prosper.
B. A Plan without Calamity.

1. Calamity means disaster and misfortune.
2. Understand that the people of Israel during this time had gone through a lot. God had allowed the enemy to make them slaves. God knew that the people had a distorted perception of who he was. Trouble can make you see God in the wrong way. So the Lord says, the plans that I have for you does not include calamity, and if you go through something evil it will work for your good.
3. Some of us are still not trusting the Lord because of what happened in our past.

C. A Plan with a future and a hope.

1. God does not deal with his people based solely on their past or present condition but he consoles them and tells them that He’s working on their future. 2. God says I’m going to cause you to hope again. I’m going to cause you to believe again. And I’m going to bring you to an expectant end. Its not over just because it looks like its over, but theirs still time for me to connect you with what I have for you. But in the meantime, just hope.
3. In the meantime, have patience. So the Lord says, be encouraged in spite of your present situation, for I know the outcome. And don’t let anyone tell you differently.

IV. God’s Plan Unfolded

He says when you pray and come to me I will listen.

1. When you seek me and search for me with your whole heart I shall be found.
2. When you find me, I will restore you.
3. I will restore your fortunes.
4. I will pick up the broken pieces and put you back together.
5. I will bring you back unto myself.

God wants you to understand the need to;

1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.

2. That He alone is God and knows the set time for your deliverance.