September 13

Esther 6:1-3 (NIV) 1That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 3"What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?" the king asked. "Nothing has been done for him," his attendants answered.

The queen took the chance and entered to speak to the king. He extended his scepter, which meant she could have an audience and not die. Instead of telling all, she asked the king and Haman (see September 26) to a banquet. As Haman left he saw Mordecai in sackcloth, still refusing to bow to him. Haman asked his relatives what to do, and they suggest a building a gallows and asking for the king's permission to hang Mordecai on it.

The hand of providence intervened that night in the form of insomnia. Nothing is so boring as the official records, so the King decided to read those. He came across the record of Mordecai uncovering a plot on the King's life. What a coincidence! Haman was in the courtyard waiting for the King to get up. The King called him in and asked for suggestions as to what to do for the man the king honors. Haman thought he was the one about whom the king was speaking, so he suggested an elaborate procession with the highest official leading it. Haman ended up leading Mordecai through the streets. The Jews knew now that the God of Israel was working for Mordecai and that Haman was ruined.

The next day Haman was brought to the banquet and his plans were exposed. The King was very upset, but when the King returned and saw him on the queen's couch pleading for his life, he was furious and had Haman hung on the gallows Haman intended for Mordecai. Since the former edict to attack the Jews couldn't be rescinded, the King issued a new edict saying the Jews could defend themselves. The day they were to be attacked, they attacked their enemies. Because Mordacai was now the highest official, many of the leaders sided with the Jews. In this way, the holiday of Purim was established.

Did Mordacai then have anyone criticizing his decision to have Esther become queen? Can anyone doubt the hand of God through it all, preserving His people and bringing His will to pass?

Consider: The same amazing hand of God is at work in your life to bring about His purposes for your good!

September 13

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 (NIV) 16What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 17"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." 18"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."

Paul ran together a string of phrases from the Old Testament, yet He picked up the Spirit behind them all. He was pleading with the Corinthians to be separated from the world they lived in. While Paul and his companions laid down their lives, the Corinthians seemed to be living it up. While Paul and company loved from their hearts and spoke openly and honestly, the Corinthians withheld their affection in a calculated way.

The disparity in their love was from a love for the world. He asked them to look at these promises of God. They were supposed to be the temple of the living God. They had the promise that He would live with them and walk among them. God promised to make them His own people. So, be separated! Don't be defiled by the world. Don't let sin constantly infect your life. Be wholly God's, and He will be your Father, and you will be His sons and daughters. It is not just the God of someone's imagination who says this, but the Lord Almighty. This is the God of all creation making these promises. This is the God that has the power to make it happen.

Until they cut off their love for the things of the world, Paul couldn't see them loving him with the love of Christ. If you are not able to love God's servants whole-heartedly, this may be a warning to you. Consider God's promises and how you should respond. Paul said that the proper response was to purify ourselves by perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Go on from salvation to sanctification. Don't be satisfied with just being saved, let God transform your heart, mind, and every area of your life. It is only then that you will be able to love others in a truly unselfish way.

Consider: Is my love for the world keeping me from loving my family in the Lord?