In an earlier study, we saw that the city of Shushan was “perplexed” when Haman’s law was passed (Est. 3:15). Later in this book, we read about how Shushan “rejoiced and was glad” when Mordecai’s decree was given (Est. 8:15). Why this difference? How could the city go from being “perplexed” to being “glad”?
Put simply; it had to do with who was in charge! Solomon said, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:2). This was the experience of the people of Shushan, and all Persians in those days. When Haman, “the Jews’ enemy” ruled, the people were the ones who suffered for it. Yet, when a change in leadership occurred, it resulted in a change in the people (Est. 8:15)!
The same is true today. No doubt, this is at least part of the reason why God tells us through the apostle Paul to pray for our civil leaders. Specifically, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Tim. 2:1-2). Why do we care about who our leaders are? Why do we pray for these people? It is because as the leader goes, so goes the nation! When God-fearing people rule, the country can rejoice and be at peace. When the wicked rule, it is the opposite! Solomon knew it, and these people lived it! They knew the truth about living under a dictator like Haman versus living under a ruler who loved them, like Mordecai.
Are you praying for the leaders of our city, county, state, and country? If not, why not? Do we pray for God’s guidance and God’s providence over this great land? We better get busy! Pushing God out of our lives will bring nothing but sorrow and hardship.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“What Will You Leave Behind At Death?”
Every day we learn of people who have died. Some die in their old age, some in their youth. Regardless of how long we live, or the reason for dying, our life is brief at its longest. Moses wrote that our life is “soon cut off” (Ps. 90:10). James says our life is, “even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas. 4:14).
With this in mind, have you considered what you will leave behind at your death? Some perhaps have taken out life insurance policies, and similar things to provide financial stability for their survivors. But, is this all that one will leave behind at death? By no means! What will a man leave behind at death?
First, influence, good or bad, will be felt by our survivors. Concerning the death of the saints, Christ said, “their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13; I Tim. 5:24). If we are unsure as to whether or not our influence is felt after death, tell me how many newborns are being named “Jezebel” or “Judas” these days? In contrast, many babies are named “Paul, “Hannah,” “James,” and “Sarah.” Why do people still cringe and shudder at such names as Adolph Hitler, or Mussolini if it is not for the influence those people left behind?
Yes, our influence is felt even after death. Therefore, let us make sure our influence is godly (Matt. 5:16). Our children and grandchildren deserve no less than to observe a righteous influence in us!
Secondly, all decisions we had to make are left behind. Once this earth-life is over, there is no coming back. Solomon said, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7). Therefore, let us get our priorities in order. If you die in your sins, you will have wasted your life. When you die, decisions left undone will remain undone! Seeing that this is the case, perhaps we can better appreciate the emphasis the Bible makes on folks doing things “now” and “today” while we still have the opportunity (ex: Acts 16:33). Make the right decision and remember “now is the accepted time ... now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. 6:2). If we don’t take advantage of this day, with its opportunities, we may not get another chance!
When we die, will we enter into the bosom of Abraham, and to the safety of our Father? (Lk. 16:19-31) Will we be lost in our sins? If we love Christ, we will be busy doing His will right now (Jn. 14:15). Sadly, many are satisfied to do their “own thing”, living a life of carelessness and wickedness; (being friends of the world and enemies of God, Jas. 4:4) and are not ready at all to enter into eternity.
Are you a friend of God, or Satan? You must be one or the other (Matt. 6:24, 12:30)! There is no “middle ground” with God. You’ll either be for Him or against Him; His friend, or His enemy. Remember, friendship with God depends upon whether or not you are a Christian (Acts 22:16), a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Are you a Christian? If not, please obey the gospel message today (Mk. 16:16).
“What Prevents Me From Being Baptized?”
The above question was asked by an Ethiopian many years ago. As Philip preached Christ to him (Acts 8:35), they came to a certain water and “the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? … and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36-39). The question the eunuch asked is still valid. What is preventing you from being baptized?
Is false teaching preventing you? Many people today are taught that baptism is not necessary for salvation. They are told to simply believe or to say a sinner’s prayer for salvation. Isn’t it telling to see that when the preachers of the New Testament taught folks, those listening wanted to be baptized! Yet, when many preach today, people do NOT want to be baptized!
Please read Acts 8 and notice that when Philip preached Christ to the people in Samaria (Acts 8:5), he taught them about “the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ” and baptism (Acts 8:12). “Simon the sorcerer believed, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip” (Acts 8:13). When Philip spoke to the eunuch and “preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35); the first time he saw plenty of water, he wanted to be baptized. Are we seeing a pattern? The teaching concerning baptism began with Christ (Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16). The apostles and disciples of the Lord then carried this message to the world (Acts 2:38, 10:48, 18:8, 22:16; I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26-27). When the people heard the New Testament heroes preach, they wanted to be baptized. What is hindering you from being baptized?
Are friends and family preventing us? Depending upon our friends and family, they can pressure us to do the right things or the wrong things. Have they pressured us into not obeying the Lord? The Bible says: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Jesus said: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37). In order to please our Lord, we must obey His command to be baptized for the remission of sins regardless of what others might say about us (Phil. 3:8). What is hindering you from being baptized?
Does the urge for popularity prevent us? It is not popular to be a Christian. In fact, Jesus promised His apostles that men would hate them for no other reason than they served the Lord (Jn. 15:18-20). Peter said that some men would be “surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery” (I Pet. 4:4). We need to decide whether we wish for popularity with this world or to be the friend of God. We cannot have it both ways (Jas. 4:4)!
Could selfishness be preventing us? Some people refuse to do anything unless it is their idea. Could that be my attitude? Have I not been baptized simply because I didn’t want to? The Bible says that I need to put away such attitudes and place Christ’s kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). I need to love God even more than my own life (Lk. 14:26-27).
Whatever is hindering you from being baptized, realize that this hindrance is keeping you from enjoying spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3); from being in a covenant relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27); from having your sins forgiven (Acts 2:38, 22:16); from being a child of God (Rom. 8:16-17); and from a home in Heaven (Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 2:10). Is this really worth it?
God Is …
The book of Psalms is a fascinating book for many reasons. It has beautiful hymns and always focuses the worshipper upon God and His majesty. From Psalms 50-62, we see great descriptions of who God is, and I would encourage you to read this section of Scripture. For our blog, let us take an overview of this section and learn that God is the God of …
- Salvation (Ps. 51:14, 55:16, 62:1-2, 7)
- Goodness (Ps. 52:1)
- Strength (Ps. 54:1, 59:17)
- Help (Ps. 54:4, 56:9, 63:7)
- Mercy (Ps. 57:1, 3, 9-10, 59:16-17)
- Defense (Ps. 59:1, 9, 16-17, 62:6)
- Shelter (Ps. 61:3)
Knowing that God is the God of salvation, goodness, strength, help, mercy, defense, and shelter, then think of what it means to be without Him! Sadly, there are many today who think they can go through life without God. Look at what they are missing! Think also friends, that what is listed above is just a partial list when compared to the entire Bible!
If you want to enjoy the blessings of God, and be able to enjoy salvation, goodness, strength, help, mercy, defense, shelter, and much more, then become a child of God today. Hear the truth of God’s word, believe on Christ, repent of your sins, confess your faith in Christ, and be baptized for the remission of sins (Rom. 10:17; Jn. 8:24; Lk. 13:3; Rom. 10:10; Mk. 16:16; etc.). Becoming a Christian brings about abundant blessings in one’s life (Eph. 1:3). Don’t put off becoming a Christian any longer (Heb. 3:7-8; II Cor. 6:2)!