1 – Esther 4:12-14 (ESV) 12 And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
RAF: Note Mordecai’s careful balance here between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.
a. If Esther does not act, she will suffer consequences.
b. God has other means for deliverance, but she is square in the middle of this – and she needs to act according to her responsibility. Yes, God has other means, but she is His means now.
c. She is to seize the time as ordained by God.
God’s sovereignty is never an excuse for inaction.
2 – Esther 6:3 (ESV) 3 And the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s young men who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
RAF: Christian – have you labored here, acted in goodness and mercy and grace and gone unrecognized for it? Don’t give it a second thought. For men to fail to see it here and now is nothing. For God, in His sovereignty to stall the day of recognition – to a time and place which will make it of supreme value is His delight. Wait until the day when He recognizes it in the courts of Heaven. When you are honored in His presence before all. Labor for the reward which comes at His hand, and not for the paltry thanks from the lips of fallen men here. Wait.
3 – Esther 9:26-28 (ESV) 26 Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur. Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, 27 the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, 28 that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants.
RAF: Herein is the origin of the Jewish feast of Purim. Would it not be fitting for each of us and our families to set days like these. Days which commemorate throughout our generations how God met us and delivered us and blessed us? What a heritage that would be to pass on to those who come behind us. It would be good to have memorials set up so that we do not forget God’s goodness to us. So that we have concrete reminders in other days of trial. So our children see what God has done.
4 – Job 1:1 (ESV) There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
RAF: The one-word theme of Job is: WHO. Job asks throughout this chronicle – WHY? Why am I suffering so. This question, the perennial one we all ask in trial, is in fact never answered. What Job does come to accept as enough of an answer is – WHO. He finds who is behind it all – His God. And in a final vision of His God in all of His glory, Job finds this God is worthy to be trusted. And knowing who this Who is…all is well – even though Satan and his machinations are at work as well. Who do you trust?
5 – Job 1:8 (ESV) 8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
RAF: This could perhaps be rendered – “Have you been out there taking notice of and considering something concerning my servant Job?” The literal Hebrew is closer to: “Have you set your heart on?” God is probing, not challenging. Either way, we are let in on a divine reality – Our God is aware even of our enemy’s thoughts.
6 – Job 2:1-2 (ESV) Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
RAF: Though God may allow days of great trial and testing, He remains over it all, every step of the way. Even our great and unseen Adversary must give an account as he goes. We are never left alone.
7 – Job 3:26 (ESV) 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
RAF: The grief of his losses themselves, are nothing compared to what they generate internally. Without answers, Job (like us) is left with no “ease”. He remains uneasy if you will. He cannot rest. Nor can he be quiet. The heart and mind are in constant upheaval. He cannot give himself a moments rest but that all this trouble rushes in upon him over and over like unpredictable waves. Grief is a heavy load. That it is even recorded for us here in this way, is proof that our God knows what it is we suffer. He is so good.
8 – Job 4:1- Chap. 5 (ESV) Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
RAF: Eliphaz’s first answer: You wouldn’t be suffering like this if weren’t guilty of some sin.
9 – Job 6:1-Chap. 7 (ESV) Then Job answered and said:
RAF: Job’s first response: If you had any idea of how much pain I am in right now, how weak I am, you would see how inappropriate your counsel is. Give me some room and just let me cry out in my pain.
10 – Job 8:1 (ESV) Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
RAF: Bildad’s first answer: We live in a cause and effect universe. Maybe it wasn’t your sin directly that brought this on, but your children must have sinned or they would be here.
11 – Job 9:1-Chap. 10 (ESV) Then Job answered and said:
RAF: Job’s second response: Look, no one is completely innocent. I know that. That’s my point. If no one is completely righteous, then why me? Why this? I am completely confused. I do not understand what God is doing. I just want to die.