November 21, 2016

Esther 7 - 
At the second dinner with Xerxes and Haman, Esther responded to the king, “If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, and if it please the king, give me my life, and give my people their lives...

Haman was terror-stricken before the king and queen.  The king, raging, left his wine and stalked into the palace garden.  Haman stood there pleading with the Queen for his life--he could see that the king was finished with him....As the king came back from the garden, Haman was groveling at the couch on which Esther reclined.  The king roared, “Will he even molest the queen while I’m just around the corner?”  Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, spoke up:  “look over there!  There’s the gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai, who saved the king’s life.... The king said, “Hang him there!” ...

That same day, the King gave Esther the estate of Haman...and Mordecai came before the king because Esther had explained their relationship...The king took off his signet ring...and gave it to Mordecai.  Esther appointed Mordecai over Haman’s estate....

Then the king said, “go ahead now and write whatever you decide on behalf of the Jews, then seal it with the signet ring...on the 23rd day of the 3rd month and the order regarding the Jews was written word for word as Mordecai dictated which...authorized the Jews in every city to arm and defend themselves to the death, killing anyone who threatened them...Mordecai walked out of the king’s presence wearing a royal robe of violet and white, a huge gold crown and a purple cape of fine linen.  

The city of Susa exploded with joy....Not only that, but many non-Jews became Jews--now it was dangerous not to be a Jew!  On the 13th day of the 12th month, the original order of the king came into effect.  This was the very day that the enemies of the Jews had planned to overpower them; but the tables were now turned:  the Jews overpowered those who hated them...everyone who worked for the king--actually helped the Jews because of Mordecai...So the Jews finished off all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering them right and left and did as they pleased to those who hated them...but they took no plunder.  

Then Esther’s final request was to “give the Jews of Susa permission to extend the terms of the order another day.  And have the bodies of Haman’s 10 son’s hanged in public display on the gallows.” (Note to self--don’t piss off your Queen)....
Mordecai called for an annual celebration on the 14th and 15th days of the 12th month as an occasion when Jews got relief from their enemies, the month in which their sorrow turned to joy, mourning somersaulted into a holiday for parties and fun and laughter, the sending and receiving of presents and of giving gifts to the poor.  And they did it.  What started then became a tradition. ...That’s why these days are called Purim....Mordecai was popular among the Jews and greatly respected by them.  He worked hard for the good of his people, he cared for the peace and prosperity of his race.

2 Peter 1 - 
I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ... 

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God..

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others... 

I know that I’m to die soon; the Master has made that quite clear to me.  And so I am especially eager that you have all this down in black and white so that after I die, you’ll have it for ready reference.