Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Principles for living with difficult situations found in Esther

More notes from Charles Swindoll's book "Esther"

Okay, so here Haman is and it is really getting at his goad that Mordecai refuses to bow to him because Jews did not bow to any person. Bitterness turned into hatred, and hatred festered into uncontrollable rage. It wasn't good enough to kill Mordecai, Haman wanted all the Jews killed. But in the meantime, Haman personally had a gallow built BESIDE his house! According to the book the gallow was 75 feet tall or 7 1/2 stories (pg 106). Persia didn't hang them. They impaled them. "A stake was thrust into the body, and then the body was hung on a pole." What an excruciating death.

On page 107 there is a list of four principles for dealing with difficult situations:
1. When preparing for an unprecedented event, wait on the Lord before getting involved
2. When dealing with an unpredictable person, count on the Lord to open doors and hearts
3. When working through an unpleasant situation, trust the Lord for enduring patience
4. When standing against an unprincipled enemy, ask the Lord for invincible courage

The edict had been issued that all the Jews were to be killed and the date given was almost a year away. For those who like to worry and for those who don't tend to worry, this is plenty of time to develop an ulcer. Waiting for the Lord can be quite difficult. I'm not a good sitter. I don't wait well. As my friend Lee calls it "God's waiting room" -- not my favorite place, but acting without the Lord's direction can be detrimental. For the dealing with the unpredictable person, we are to rely on God as well. I have found the principle in Matthew 5:44 to hold true. When you pray for your enemy or the one who is giving you grief, God changes things. He not only changes the person for whom you are praying but also the one who is doing the praying. In Proverbs 21:1 says the kings heart is in God's hand and He directs it where He wills. If God can do that with a king, He can most certainly do that for anyone He desires. God provides what we need when we need it whether it be wisdom, timing or courage. He is faithful.

On page 113, he sites 4 principles for all of life:
1. When all seems lost, it isn't.
2. When no one seems to notice, they do. (King overlooking rewarding Mordecai. King eventually does reward. God notices. God cared and brought it to the king's attention the night the gallows were being built. Mordecai never tried to get back at Haman. To me, this also shows that God has a sense of humor and irony. There are people who get bogged down in "I've been wronged," "I deserve better than what I go." When we take the focus and attention off ourselves and trust God to take care of it, life is so much better. God sees it. Let Him be the judge as to whether or not you've been wronged and then let Him do the sentencing. As my Mammaw says, "It all comes out in the wash."
3. When everything seems great, it's not. (Esther 6:10). After being promoted throughout the city, Mordecai returned to the king's gate -- back to his old job WITHOUT COMPLAINT. There aren't many people in today's world who would be able to that.
4. When nothing seems just, it is.

When God seems distant or unseen, remember the song, "When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart."

I thought not hearing from God or feeling God move for a period of 3 months was the worst feeling, but what about the period between Malachi to Matthew -- 400 YEARS -- God was silent. Does that mean He isn't moving? Absolutely not.

"In the mystery of God's timing, subtle things occur that the sensitive heart picks up. That's the role wisdom plays in life. Reading life's subtleties is what Christian maturity is all about. And rather than thrashing around, thinking, 'I will not make it through this. I will never hear God's voice,' we determine, in wisdom, to watch for the slightest turning of events." Pg 129
There is a book out title "When God Winks at You" by Squire ______(I can't remember his last name). His book is about when God allows us to see or catch a glimpse of his working. That is my next book to read.

Are you sensitive and patient enough to wait on God's timing? Esther was asked three times before she answered the king. There is a time to be quiet and a time to speak up (Eccl. 3:1-7). When it is time to speak up, word selection is crucial. Esther utilized such self-restraint, diplomacy and yet she effectively used her words for the most effective blow not only to Haman but to the king. She used the words "I and my people."

One of my favorite people in Esther is Harbonah in Esther 7:9-10 -- Harbonah is the one who tells the king that Haman has just completed that gallows meant for Mordecai. You can hang Haman on his own gallow. Can you imagine being at the dining table that night with Harbonah? "And then I told the king..."

Silence does not mean absence.

Pg 135 Concepts about silence:
1. Silence is neither accidental nor fatal. Don't panic. Listen.
2. "The workings of God are not related to our clocks, they are related to our crisis." Pray.
3. "The surprise in store are not merely ironic or coincidental, they are sovereingly designed."

Impending doom had still been ordered and since the king's orders could not be revoked another provision had to be made. He gives his ring to Esther as well as Haman's household which she gives to Mordecai.

Stay tuned...
More to come.

2 comments:

Leebird said...

I tried to leave you a comment on your Christmas post, but there was no place to leave one...weird.

Thanks for your prayers as I travel tomorrow...can't wait to get there! Love you! Lee

Laura said...

Yes, I couldn't comment either! Hope your holiday was sweet, Kristy! I bet those precious children had a ball on Christmas morning.

Can't wait to read more about ESther!