REPOSTToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church in Raleigh, was originally posted on November 25, 2015. He is a graduate of Drexel University (B.S.) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“God’s Purpose Amid Human Tragedies”
Esther 2:19-23; 3:1-6
Now when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate.  Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him.  In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.  And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai.  When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.
[3:1] After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him.  And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman, for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage.  Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you transgress the king’s command?”  And when they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would stand, for he had told them that he was a Jew.  And when Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or pay homage to him, Haman was filled with fury.  But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.
“When pain and suffering come upon us, we finally see not only that we are not in control of our lives but that we never were.” ― Timothy Keller, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering
As we look at the tragedies that are going all around the world, it’s often easy to ask what God’s purpose is in all of it. Innocent lives lost due to terrorist attacks, wars between countries, school shootings and many other evils that we see and hear about can often be disheartening and often leads us to fear and anxiety in our own lives.
In today’s passage, the author of Esther is revealing the workings of worldly and evil power and how God’s plan cannot be thwarted. First, Mordecai happens to overhear a plot to assassinate Xerxes but was soon foiled after reporting it to Queen Esther. It almost sounds like luck that he was at the right place at the right time but we know that this was part of God’s divine plan. Also, a newly elected official named Haman comes into the story and we read about his evil plot for genocide against the Jewish people. We are reminded that in the midst of darkness and suffering, God is in absolute control. So what can we learn from these verses?
- We need to be aware of spiritual battle – one main lesson we see in Esther is that there is the reality of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world. Paul writes in Ephesians 6: 12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. We are called to fight the spiritual battle in prayer.
- We see God’s sovereignty in the midst of injustice—through the assassination plot against Xerxes and Haman’s scheming against the Jewish people. As believers, we are reminded that God is never surprised or caught off guard. He’s in control and we need to continually trust in Him.
Prayer: Lord, the Cross is proof that you love me even in darkness and hardship. May you continually remind me of this truth as I strive to obey you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 25
Lunch Break Study
Read Philippians 2:14-16: Do all things without grumbling or disputing,  that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,  holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Questions to Consider
- What does Paul say about believers being blameless? Why do you think he says this?
- Why is it important to show the world that we are blameless?
- What are some areas in your life where you desire to be more blameless?
- It means that we should strive not to live a life of hypocrisy but rather we should conduct ourselves worthy of Christ in all that we do. Paul is addressing the Christians in Philippi that one of the main characteristics that Christians should have is that they ought to be blameless and innocent. The word ‘blameless’ means pure or without mixture.
- We want to shine Christ unto this unbelieving world, and often times it is through our lifestyle that people will see Jesus in us.
- The only way this is possible is if we are submitted to the Holy Spirit and rooted in the Word of God. Take some time to pray and ask the Lord to search your heart and to remove any areas that might not be considered ‘blameless’ in the eyes of the Lord. Do not lose heart. God desires to change us and make us more like him.
As you end your day, spend some time acknowledging the greatness of our God and remind yourself that he is control of all things. Often in the busyness of our daily lives, we tend to forget that God is sovereign and nothing is out of his control even when we face trials. Worship and ascribe greatness unto Him.