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Day 174

Good morning, dear family and friends—

 

Esther 9-10            God is Sovereign; Raises up Leaders; Triumphs over Evil; Gives Favor.

9:1-4  So on March 7 the two decrees of the king were put into effect. On that day, the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but quite the opposite happened. It was the Jews who overpowered their enemies. The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the king’s provinces to attack anyone who tried to harm them. But no one could make a stand against them, for everyone was afraid of them. And all the nobles of the provinces, the highest officers, the governors, and the royal officials helped the Jews for fear of Mordecai. For Mordecai had been promoted in the king’s palace, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces as he became more and more powerful.

9:10 But they did not take any plunder.

And so it was on the day the Jews were to be slaughtered by decree, they were allowed to defend themselves and defeated their enemies instead. In fact, they had a decided victory, and yet chose to take no plunder. This event is celebrated to this day as Purim, named because of the lots Haman cast to determine the day assigned for the extinction of the Jews.

9:22 This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.

Mordecai’s life demonstrated servant leadership. He raised his orphaned young cousin, Esther, as his own daughter; uncovered a plot to assassin the king; placed honoring God above honoring man; encouraged Esther to approach the king on behalf of the Jews; and wrote letters providing his people a chance to defend themselves.

10:3 Mordecai the Jew became the prime minister, with authority next to that of King Xerxes himself. He was very great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem, because he continued to work for the good of his people and to speak up for the welfare of all their descendants.

God honors those who honor Him.

 

Acts 6:8-7:21            Sovereign; Raises up Leaders; Develops Leaders; Trains Leaders; Uses Leaders; Anoints; Enlightens; Guides; Directs; All-Knowing; Authority; Responsible; Commander of the Heavenly Army; Witness; Accused.

Among those selected to serve as deacons in the early church, caring for the needs of the widows was…

6:8 Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, [who] performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.

Some men from the synagogue started a debate with Stephen.

6:10-11 None of them could stand against the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. So they persuaded some men to lie about Stephen.

The people and the religious leaders arrested and brought Stephen before the high council.  Although he was falsely accused, instead of defending himself he gave a history lesson of God’s providential care for the Jewish nation beginning with the nation’s formation with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He reminded his audience of Joseph, who was sold as a slave by his jealous brothers, but was then elevated from being a slave to being Second in Command for the preservation of the people from a great famine.

7:17 -21 “As the time drew near when God would fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. But then a new king came to the throne of Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. This king exploited our people and oppressed them, forcing parents to abandon their newborn babies so they would die. At that time Moses was born—a beautiful child in God’s eyes… Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and raised him as her own son.

Moses chose to honor God and served as leader for the nation of Israel taking the people out of slavery into the promised land.

In today’s reading we see God’s providential hand in the establishment of the Jewish nation and in His protection and favor given to His people while in slavery in Egypt, as well as in exile in Babylon. In each case God kept his promises and raised up leaders (Joseph as second to Pharaoh, Moses as leader of the Jewish nation, Esther as Queen, and Mordecai as second to the king of the Medo-Persian Empire).

The distinctive of each of these leaders was he/she honored God by living in responsive dependence on and obedience to God. Each one placed the Lord above man while working for the good of others. Each of us has a sphere of influence, and each of us faces adversity at some point. Let’s purpose to be responsively obedient, honoring God, and serving others to God’s glory.

We praise You, our sovereign God, for raising up leaders and triumphing over evil. You give favor, anoint, enlighten, guide, direct, train, and use those You have called to lead. In the face of adversity, You mold character. Thank You for preserving these stories in Your Word as beautiful reminders of Your sovereignty over the affairs of men throughout history. Thank You for forming and preserving the Jewish nation and for raising up godly leaders to be an influence for good. Through times of adversity only You can turn sorrow into gladness and mourning into joy. We pray for our leaders on every level, in every area to honor You and work unselfishly for the good of others. Thank You for times of adversity, designed to develop godly character in each of us. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, we desire to be responsively dependent on and obedient to You in order to honor You as we serve one another to Your glory. Develop leadership traits in us to lead those in our sphere of influence with devotion to You, doing that which is in the best interest of others —just as Jesus has done for us.

Blessings in His life and love,

Sally

 

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