Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Time for today is provided by Cami King of JCC.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. 16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. 17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.
There are moments in life when God’s faithfulness comes into focus, when we go past trusting in God’s promises to experiencing them in their fullness in our personal lives. Those are precious moments. Mordecai and the people of God are having one such moment. They have walked through hardship and persecution, through fear and uncertainty, they’ve fasted and prayed, hoped and depended upon the Lord; and now they are delighting in the fruit of God’s faithfulness. And moreover, because of their dependence upon God through difficulties, many others have come to know the Lord as well – they saw that God’s blessing was upon the Jews and wanted in.
In John 12:32, Jesus says, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” In this, of course, Jesus was predicting the manner in which He would die and the pervasive salvation that would be made available to all people as a result. And in a small way, when God’s people walk faithfully through adversity, we are used by God to make Him known (lift Him up) and draw others into a relationship with Him. This should encourage us whenever we face adversity – knowing that the work God is doing in and through us is more than worth the sacrifice. But even more so than encouragement to persevere, our passage for today should elate us at the possibilities of what the end result will be for those who trust in the Lord. God is truly able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, and His track record shows that He is not only able, but He is willing.
Though we may find ourselves walking through difficulties and facing obstacles, may we be encouraged by the story of Mordecai, Queen Esther, and the people of God! Let us remind our hearts of God’s faithfulness and celebrate not only what He will do for us, but what He is able to do in the hearts of others through us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. You are a promise keeper and I trust in You. Help me to walk faithfully through the storms of life, for I know they will come, and to wait upon You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: John 18
Lunch Break Study
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
3 He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
Questions to Consider:
- What keeps David from fearing evil in verse 4? How have you experienced the truth of his words when you walked through valleys?
- What do you think it means that goodness and mercy shall follow (v. 6)? How have you experienced this in your life?
- One Bible translation renders “valley of the shadow of death” as “darkest valley” – this accurately describes the feeling of suffering. It’s hard to make sense of what’s going on around us; we can’t see very far ahead of us, and we definitely can see all the way to the end of the struggle. But David does not fear because the Lord walks through the valley with him. Not only does David have the comfort of not going alone in the dark, but he has the reassurance of knowing that He is with the One who knows all and holds all power in His hands.
- What is translated as “follow” can easily be translated “pursue” – and I think the latter paints a better picture of God’s care for us. God’s goodness and mercy (loyal-love) are so great and so persistent that they hunt us down, no matter what dark valley we’ve stumbled into. His love will find us and care for us.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:21-26)
Spend some time meditating on these truths tonight (read, then reread – slowly and thoughtfully – and contemplate with the Lord). Allow the Holy Spirit to use them to minister to you in whatever you may be facing.