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Desiring the Lord's Presence

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December 13, 2023

In Psalm 141, David “calls upon the LORD to come quickly to him” (verse 1). Like David, we ought to desire the Lord’s presence and nearness in our lives, so earnestly, that we are always anxious to meet together with Him. David’s yearning is that his prayer and his hands will rise up “like incense and the evening sacrifice” to the Lord - indicative of David’s cognizance of his humble station before a holy and righteous God; our God is “high, lofty, and lifted up” – wholly other than what we are (cf., Isaiah 6:1). David is aware that his “lips, hands, heart, etc.,” can all be used as instruments of righteousness or of sin, so he wisely asks God to guard him - even to the extent that God should provide “a righteous man to rebuke him” (verse 5). None of us naturally likes or seeks to be corrected, so who among us ever actually prays and asks God openly for someone to rebuke us - especially by another human being? Only a humble person could pray this prayer, and it’s a good one for us to follow.

In Revelation 3:7-22, we see the final two letters of Christ’s seven letters to the early churches. These last two churches stand in stark contrast to each other. The saints at Philadelphia are commended for keeping the Word of God and for honoring Him before men (verse 8). They have “endured patiently” (verse 10). However, the Laodicean church is rebuked sternly for being “lukewarm” and for their “pride” (verse 16). They were neither “cold nor hot.” Christ admonished those believers to take a firm stand - to be “earnest and repent” (verse 19). He seriously calls upon them to “open the door” to Him that, together, they may fellowship properly (cf., Revelation 3:20). Jesus clearly wants our love and our loyalty, but He will not force Himself on anyone. His invitation is open to anyone - “whoever has ears” (verse 22). Indeed, this is serious business; may we truly be serious with Him.

In Esther 3-5, we see the deep drama of the book beginning to unfold. For some strange reason, the king decides to honor unworthy Haman, an exceedingly proud person. However, Mordecai the Jew refuses to bow down before self-important Human, whose whole life is characterized by vanity, greed, position, wealth, hate, racism (i.e., antisemitism), and above all - rage. Haman wants to murder “all Mordecai’s people” (3:6), and he sets a date to achieve his goal. But we see in this section how God supernaturally controls the casting of the lot (cf., Proverbs 16:33), as it returns a date that is as far into the future as it can fall - 12 months – giving the Jews time to prepare.

In Esther 4, Mordecai relays this deadly information to Queen Esther, who, in her innocence, is unaware of Haman’s plans. Mordecai instructs Esther to exercise the rights of her position to correct this impending injustice that is being perpetrated on the Jews – her own people. Esther rises to her character - prepared to sacrifice even herself - for the salvation of her people. This is a literary picture of our Lord’s sacrificial offering of Himself for the sins of all mankind.

Finally, in chapter 5, we see Esther’s complete willingness to stand in the gap for her people and advocate for them before the king. We also see Haman’s self-serving, racist, evil nature as he plots and schemes to destroy Mordecai and all the Jews. Notice the order of Esther’s invitation: “Let the king and Haman come” [to her banquet], (verse 8). But notice Haman’s arrogance in placing himself above, ahead, and before the king: “And that’s not all,” Haman added. “She has invited me along with the king …” He reveals his own superiority. As the Scripture says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Haman is about to fall.

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