YEAR 2, WEEK 9, Day 7, Sunday, 5 March 2023

Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 5 March 2023:

Esther 4:5 – Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was.

Esther, living in comfort and luxury in the king’s palace, was unaware of what was happening to her people and untouched by the crisis impacting them. There is a lesson here for all of us.

Esther 4:13 — Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.

Christians are being persecuted across the planet for their faith. We should not think that we will remain unscathed ourselves.

Esther 4:14 – 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?

Everyone will decide whether they are willing to put it all on the line for God and whether or not they will be used by God to fulfill His purposes. Those who remain irrelevant through compromise and indecision will simply miss out on what God is going to do anyway and suffer the consequences of being outside of God’s will.

Esther 4:14 — Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Mordecai helped Esther see God’s purpose for her life and helped her understand how God places His people in specific places, and specific times, in intentional relationships with other people, to accomplish His purposes. He also helped her understand that she had to choose to be faithful to the opportunity God had given her to join Him in His work.

Esther 4:16 – I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.

Esther was at a crossroads in her life, a decision-point on whether to trust God or not. She chose to remain faithful to God regardless the personal cost, and, in so doing, saved her people. What would God do with you if you put it all on the line for Him?

Psalm 26:8 – O Lord, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells.

Psalm 27:4 – One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Is it hard for you to go to church, or is it hard to leave? During church service, is your mind focused on lunch aftewards, or do you hunger, thirst and long for God and to be in His presence with His people? (Psalm 42:1, 119:131) “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35) Today, the Psalmist exclaims his love and desire to be in the presence of God above all else. Is that your passion too? God has an inherent, eternal desire to dwell in fellowship with His people in the “house of the Lord.” Through Christ and in Christ, the communion of God’s people is God’s temple, both house and household, in whom the Spirit of God dwells.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 — Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
  • 1 Peter 2:5 — You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 — For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • Hebrews 3:3-6 — For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
  • Ephesians 2:19-22 — So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
  • 1 Peter 2:4-5 — And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

“And he said to them, ‘Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’” (Luke 2:49) You too must be in your Father’s house, in communal worship with God’s people, where God dwells
— “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Watching or listening to sermons on TV, the internet or the radio and praying by yourself is no substitute for worshipping the Lord in the fellowship of God’s people. From the beginning of creation, God has made it clear that it isn’t good for people to be alone and that His love is manifested and matured through relationships – “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:12) And when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said, “Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…. (Matthew 6:9)'” Not, “My Father in heaven.”

“For we are the temple of the living God….” If a temple stone is off to the side, alone, it is simply not in place with the Cornerstone Christ, not fulfilling its God-given purpose, and not dwelling in the “house of the Lord.” Similarly, the Bible says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) A dismembered human body is a horrifying thing as is a dismembered church body. You cannot retain the life in Christ you are called to have disconnected from the body. If you are separated, detached or disengaged from the body, consider this a time-critical emergency – get reconnected immediately!

We can’t be in fellowship with God while being out of fellowship with God’s people – “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17:22, 23) When you are in right fellowship with God, like Jesus displayed even as a child, people will know where to find you, in the midst of God’s people, the “Father’s house.” In fact, you will desire to be nowhere else more — “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10)

“I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14, 15) “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1) Today, in general, the church community has become more casual, but we must be cautious not to become complacent, not to treat lightly the holiness of God when we come together for worship. Don’t lose sight of the fact that when you enter into communal worship, whether it be in a cathedral, a public building, a tent, or someone’s home, you are in the presence of the Almighty God on holy ground. Your attitude should naturally be a ‘be-attitude.’ (Matthew 5:2-11) Finally, just as you would take great care not to disrespect a national monument, a great cathedral or an important historic building, so too should you show honor and respect to the “stones” of the “house of the Lord” (God’s people), in fact even more. Make the temple walls stronger, not weaker, by promoting unity, order and mutual support.

Proverbs 5: The adulterer. According to polls, adultery remains the leading cause for divorce in America (followed by broken communication, abuse, and finances). Proverbs 5 is a good chapter to review for the sake of marriage. However, in context to the who Bible, Proverbs 5 has a larger application: The Bible describes sin against God as adultery, as we are the bride of Christ, set apart for God. We cannot “love” the World while married to God. Read Proverbs 5 again from this perspective and observe the spiritual metaphor.

Proverbs 5:1-6 — My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Wisdom enables discretion which gives us the self-control to resist the temptation for instant gratification now in order to preserve our greatest possible future. Wisdom is never short-sighted but rather can see the long-term implications of even the smallest decisions.

“…that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.” (Proverbs 5:2) Have God’s words on your lips, ready for the moments of decision when you need God’s word to keep from being deceived by your natural passions and desires and from doing what you want to do rather than what God commands you to do. If there is an area in your life where you know you are easily tempted, memorize Bible verses on that topic and recite them to yourself regularly, particularly in moments of weakness.

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” (Proverbs 5:3-6) Sin is selfishly choosing pleasure and self-gratification over love, faithfulness, and obedience, with no consideration of the consequences or the inevitable destruction to follow. The sinful are blind to the reality of sin because their eyes are not on God, and they aren’t viewing things from God’s perspective. All sin, even secret sins, hurts both the sinner and others. Sin hardens the heart of the sinner and leads to further sins which grow. All relationships are based on trust, and sin destroys trust. Sin says God can’t trust you to do what is right, you can’t trust you to do what is right, and therefore, others can’t trust you to do what is right. This creates an environment of distrust (first internally and then externally) which causes defensiveness, division, deception, and dispute, destruction, and death.

“She does not ponder the path of life.” (Proverbs 5:6) Sinners do not stop to truly consider the seriousness of their sin or what they are doing.

Proverbs 5:7, 8 – And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.

Laws and social moral codes cannot keep you from sin, only faith, hope, and love can. Faith gives more value to the unseen than the seen. Faith is more motivated by God’s word, which cannot be seen or handled, than the appealing physical things right in front of us. Faith trust God to do the right thing now, and hope trusts God with the future outcome of that decision, and love puts God and others above self and is the only motivation which is stronger than self-gratification. Ultimately, rules and regulations will not keep you from doing what you really want to do, and when in your heart you desire to sin, you will eventually sin. However, love truly desires not to sin and, therefore, doesn’t need the restraint of regulations or external reinforcements. Love does what is right naturally out of a passion for God and others. Do you believe God and His Majesty is more real and more wonderful than the ‘shiny apples’ at your fingertips? Do you love God and others more than the forbidden fruit of temptation?

“Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.” (Proverbs 5:8) If you know that certain things or certain situations entice you to sin, then the best thing you can do is stay far, far away from them. Don’t be complacent with or toy with temptations. We must choose to stay very far from all sin. Sin is nothing to take lightly and nothing to play with. I am not sure how it is possible to maintain this principle and watch TV today.

Proverb 5:11, 12 — “And at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!'”

You will reap what you sow, and when you do, you cannot change what you planted and cultivated in the past, and you cannot make up for a lack of investment. Whatever you plant and cultivate (or fail to plant or cultivate) will eventually and inevitably produce fruit of consequences and character for all to see. “…. and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed.” People choose between two pains: the constructive pain of discipline (self-control) today, or the destructive pain of regret tomorrow. Successful and godly people carry the light burden of discipline daily to avoid the crushing load of disappointment, disillusionment, depression, and defeat in the future.
Today is a great day to start doing what you should have been doing. Don’t worry about the past – it’s over. Don’t worry about tomorrow – it is out of your control. Today, is in your hands – make the most of it, joyfully, thankfully, energetically, courageously, and obediently. This is your best way to correct what has been done and promote a positive tomorrow. As the Chinese proverbs says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago; the second best time to plant a tree is today.”

Proverbs 5:15 — Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.

Much sin starts with dissatisfaction over the gifts God has given you. Be grateful for that content with what God has given you, and do not compare your situation with that of others.

Proverbs 5:17 – Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you.

Protect and take care of what God has given you, rather than worrying about what God hasn’t given you. You are only ready to receive more when you can prove faithful with what you already have.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 March 2023: Today, before church, pray that God will give you the right spirit for communal worship to Him, in His presence, with God’s people, who are the “house of the Lord.” Enter the house of the Lord with an expectant heart of love, awe, reverence, praise, and worship, ready to receive the counsel, conviction, and instruction of the Holy Spirit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close