A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Several years ago we stopped by some friends to see their baby lambs, one set of triplets and one set of twins, born a few weeks earlier.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Message summary: God's timetable is so often different than ours, and He proves His faithfulness again and again over the long haul of life.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
"During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king's officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were hanged on a gallows. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king" (Esther 2:21-23).
Teach us to know You, always among us,
Quietly sovereign, Lord of our now.
This afternoon we look forward to attending Sight and Sound Theater here in Lancaster County and watching one of their epic Bible-based live dramatizations on Esther. We are formally celebrating Ester's birthday (March 9th) by taking her and three of the Lapp family members with us to see Esther. Afterwards we'll enjoy a birthday dinner Anna Ruth and her "helpers" are preparing at the Lapp household on the Old Windmill Farm, with all of Ester's favorite dishes that Anna Ruth has prepared in the past.
This last year has been difficult for so many businesses including Sight and Sound but they have persisted and prayerfully expect to see brighter days ahead. At the present time they're only allowed 1/4 capacity. It is one of our county's premier tourist draws and has a ripple down effect on lodging, restaurants and other tourist attractions like the Old Windmill Farm.
In fact, one of the motels Brooksyne serves as chaplain is Comfort Inn in New Holland which has really struggled since the COVID pandemic since they usually host multiple tour busses that bring Christian groups to Lancaster every week for the distinct purpose of going to Sight and Sound. One by one every tour bus has cancelled since mid-March of 2020.
Perhaps you have attended Sight and Sound presentation either here in Lancaster or in Branson, MO in recent years and seen Daniel, Ruth, The Beginning or many other shows they have presented. Wonderful as it is to read the accounts in Scripture, it takes on new life when it is dramatized on stage. So today, while we can't load up our car and take you with us to Sight and Sound, we'll set the stage right here on our Daily Encouragement site and take you into the life of Esther who lived 2500 years ago.
There are only two books in the Bible named after a woman; Ruth and Esther. Ruth reminds us that God is at work in the lives of "ordinary people" while Esther reveals God at work among the "higher classes" (nobility).
Esther is a remarkable book and person. Most Bible students are aware of the fact that God's name is not specifically mentioned in the entire book (the only book of the Bible with this distinction), though His presence in the lives of those presented in the book is evident in their actions and attitudes and the causes they stand for.
Both Ruth and Esther remind us that God's work is often "behind the scenes". He is, as the beautiful hymn "God Of The Ages" states, "quietly sovereign". Whatever we are dealing with in life it's so vitally important to remember that God is still on the throne, that He is absolutely sovereign and He indeed rules over the affairs of humanity, both globally and personally.
There are two main characters in the book, Esther and Mordecai, and although Esther got "naming rights" both have essentially equal prominence. Today we will focus on Mordecai, tomorrow Esther.
The daily Scripture portion attests to what is surely one of the great mysteries of God's providence and sets the scene for a remarkable intervention by God later in the book. Mordecai had saved the king from an assassination attempt.
We wonder why Mordecai's act of loyalty was not immediately recognized by the King? After all, when Queen Esther reported the plot to the king, she specifically gave credit to Mordecai and it was recorded in his presence. But he forgot all about it! We wonder if this was discouraging to Mordecai. Other Biblical characters had similar experiences (Joseph comes to mind). And surely you and I have as well.
We try to figure it out and still it makes no sense. If we're not careful we can become embittered and even turn away from God or we can learn the importance of waiting for God's timing and rest in the assurance that He is "quietly sovereign". This requires the great character quality of patience. Delays can be an intense test of faith but also a great source of growth.
Many years later (according to my study, 8 years) a wicked man named Haman, who had gained great favor with the king, was determined to have Mordecai put to death and even prepared the gallows, intending to have him hung the following morning.
But that very night, at just the right time, the king was beset by a bad case of insomnia. Apparently sleeping pills were unavailable and he did something that seems very strange when one has a hard time sleeping. He called for the annals to be read (6:1) and this long forgotten incident set in motion a remarkable deliverance by the unseen Hand of God. God, after all, had not forgotten Mordecai or His people.
This same God is at work today. He hasn't changed at all in 2,500 years. We may at times wonder if God has forgotten all about us, or if He even cares. In a serious faith crisis some may even question His existence, not surprisingly given the dominant, sometimes crushing secularism that has an effect on all of us. But God's timetable is so often different than ours, and He proves His faithfulness again and again over the long haul of life. We can join the Psalmist with the joy-filled exclamation, "I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me" (Psalm 57:2).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You are the Giver of life and our hope for the lost is found in You. All of the earth shines with Your light and Your glory. You are the God who lives, the God who heals, You are my hope, my everything. You brought salvation to us and You offer Your peace to the world. You are my Lord, my everything. You are faithful as I cry out to You, my God Most High, who fulfills Your purpose for me in Your time and in Your way. Amen.
Prayer adapted from another song also titled "God of the Ages"
Brooksyne's Note: Four of the Lapp family members have already seen Esther at Sight and Sound and we were planning on joining with two of them today (Moses and James) but I called Sight and Sound this morning to see if we could add another child attendee, Lizzie (last minute, so to speak) which worked out just fine, even got us better seating.
I expected to talk to an employee from our local Lancaster County Sight and Sound office but the woman who took my call had a distinct Southern drawl (much like I had at one time many, many moons ago growing up in Tulsa.) I took a chance and commented, "You sound like you might be from Missouri". And, in fact, she said she lives in Branson and works with Sight and Sound from that location! It turned into a delightful call since the folks from the South/Midwest are typically very friendly and can easily turn a sales call into a warm conversation.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"God Of The Ages" Video This hymn, written in 1981 (contemporary to us!), has very rich lyrics and is set to a familiar tune but for whatever reason never seemed to be very popular at least in the circles we have been in.
"God Of The Ages" Video Charles Billingsley Another song with the same title.
Sight and Sound Theater "Our purpose is to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sow the Word of God into the lives of our customers, guests and fellow workers by visualizing and dramatizing the scriptures, through inspirational productions, encouraging others and seeking always to be dedicated and wise stewards of our God-given talents and resources."
Esther Information about the show we will see today.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
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