Have you ever felt like you were the only one serving God? Perhaps you are the only one in your family that is a Christian? Are you the only person at work who is a Christian? When we feel alone, it can be challenging to remain faithful to God, but we still need to do it (I Cor. 15:58; Rev. 2:10b).
You might find it ironic for me to say that if you are the only one who is serving God in your immediate family, or at your job, etc., you are not alone! Yet, this is true. God catalogs several who served Him and had to do it alone.
Joseph was one who served God alone. After being sold to Potiphar (Gen. 39), he prospered in the house. However, there came a day when Potiphar’s wife lusted after him and tried seducing him “day by day.” However, Joseph would not yield to the temptation (Gen. 39:7-13; I Jn. 2:15-17; I Cor. 6:18). No doubt, he felt alone, but thankfully, he did not give in to her and refused to sin with her.
Mordecai was another who had to stand alone. When he refused to bow to Haman, the king’s servants and others “spake daily” to him about this action (Est. 3:2-4). Yet, Mordecai refused to give in as he was approached daily about bowing to Haman.
As we continue to read about Joseph, we see that things got worse for him after refusing Potiphar’s wife. He ended up in prison for the next two years (Gen. 39:20-41:9). Yet, after this, he was promoted to Pharaoh’s second-in-command (Gen. 41:39-40). After it was over, Joseph gave God credit for putting him in this position (Gen. 45:5, 7-8, 50:20). He recognized God’s providence. Think about what might have happened had Joseph yielded to temptation in Potiphar’s house! Perhaps he would not have ended up in the same place!
Similarly, Mordecai suffered for his decision early on. He suffered as he learned about a law going into effect that would see his death and the death of his nation (Est. 3:12-4:1). Yet, God meant to turn this into a blessing. By the end of the book, we see Haman dead and Mordecai serving as second-in-command in Persia (Est. 8:2, 10:3). Just as in Joseph’s day, God was able to reverse the fortune of Mordecai.
God still knows how to bless us. When we stand alone for God, we know that there will be people who will not be happy with that decision (Jn. 15:18-20). Yet, it is the best decision! Have you given in to the crowd? Repent of this and turn back to God! Are you worried that being a Christian means standing alone at times? Worry no more about it because it does! Even though one might stand alone among men, know God is faithful and will not leave you (Jas. 4:7-8). He will not let you down (Heb. 13:5-6). Learn a lesson from Joseph, Mordecai, and many others in Scripture who knew that following the Lord, even when others do not, is the best decision we can make.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
The book of Esther is often noted as a book where God’s name is not mentioned, but His “fingerprints” are all over the book. I would suggest that this could also be said about Satan. Satan is not specifically mentioned in the book. Yet, there is no denying that he is in this book.
What do I mean by this? Consider the fact that Haman worked hard to kill all of the Jews. Satan tempted Haman through the pride (vainglory) of life to be offended that Mordecai would not bow to him (Est. 2:5; I Jn. 2:15-17). He allowed this to foment and it resulted in envy and anger toward Mordecai and all of the Jews. “Mordecai must be taught a lesson, and all others must understand that this is what happens to those who do not bow down to me!” Mordecai believed that not only will the offender be killed, but his family and nation will fall as a consequence.
This law played into Satan’s hands. It was not merely because of the death and mayhem that would result. It played into Satan’s hands because if one can kill the Jews, then this person has effectively stopped Christ from coming into the world! We must remember that Jesus was promised to come through the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 11:1-5; Jer. 23:5-6; Heb. 7:14; Rev. 5:5). Therefore, if one can kill the tribe of Judah, then Jesus can be prevented from being born! If He is not born, then He cannot die as a sacrifice for man’s sin (Gen. 3:15; Matt. 16:21, 26:26-28; Jn. 18:37). If He doesn’t die, be buried and resurrect, then no man can be saved (I Cor. 15:1-4; I Pet. 3:21)!
Satan had a master plan, and it might have worked if God’s providence was not in place to stop him (Est. 4:14)! Thankfully, he failed, and he continues to fail. Yet, Satan does not sleep! He couldn’t stop Christ from coming into the world, but he will do his best to keep you from going to Heaven! Are you paying attention? Are you asleep (Rom. 13:11-14)? I pray not!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
I think many wives underestimate the influence they have over their husbands and family. Spend time in a study of the Bible, and you will learn just how powerful a wife/mother’s influence is on her family! In I Peter 3:1-6, Peter declares that a wife can bring her husband to the Lord based on her life-choices and influence. Passages like Matthew 5:16 apply in the home just as much as they apply in the workplace or other places.
When we read about King Ahab and his evil, we see that it was his wife Jezebel, who pressed him into even more evil, including conspiring to murder Naboth behind Ahab’s back (I Kings 21:6-14). Similarly, the actions of Zeresh, Haman’s wife, mirrored what Jezebel did (Est. 5:14). When she saw how upset Haman was at Mordecai, she encouraged Haman to kill him on specially-made gallows just for the occasion! What did Haman think of this idea? “The thing pleased Haman and he caused the gallows to be made.”
Zeresh had the opportunity to calm her husband and remind him of what was most important, but she didn’t! She got caught up in Haman’s envy, and anger toward Mordecai and her encouragement caused him to sink lower into sin. Not too many hours later, she would see her husband hanged on the gallows she encouraged him to build. This is the result of the sin, bitterness, and envy that she inspired.
In contrast, we read of godly women who were good influences on their husbands and families. We read of people like Sapphira, Hannah, Mary, and many others. Ladies, one day, you will leave this earth. How do you want to be remembered? What influence are you leaving on your husband and your children? Choose wisely! Don’t be like Zeresh and Jezebel!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
1/5/20 - Mistreated For Doing The Right Thing
Esther 1:12-22 records an event where a person doing the right thing (Vashti) was mistreated by those around her. Vashti did the right thing by not submitting to her husband’s drunken demands (Est. 1:10-12). Instead of receiving praise for standing, or at least her husband acknowledging that wrong was done, however, she was mistreated by her husband and his advisors.
Sadly, this is not an uncommon response. Joseph was mistreated and imprisoned when he obeyed God and refused his mistress’ advances (Gen. 39:7-20). Elijah’s life was threatened when he obeyed God and withstood (and killed) the wicked prophets of Baal (I Kings 19:2). When we read the New Testament, we also see times when God’s people were persecuted, imprisoned, and even killed when they were faithful to God (II Cor. 11:23-28; II Tim. 3:12; Acts 12:1-3; Rev. 6:9-10).
Do we have the strength of heart to do what is right when others we know, and love oppose us? Will we stand for what is right at school, at work, and anywhere else? Jesus said that when we act like Him, the world will mistreat us the way they mistreated Him (Jn. 15:18-20). How are you being treated by the world? If you are a Christian (Acts 2:38, 11:26), does anyone know it?
1/4/20 - True Riches
Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Lk. 12:15). Passages such as Proverbs 15:16, 16:16; Ecclesiastes 4:6, 5:10-16; and I Timothy 6:6-8 also remind us of the true riches of this life.
Contrast this with the life of Ahasuerus, or Artaxerxes, the king who would one day marry Esther. He had such an opulent lifestyle that he was able to stage a party that lasted six months (Est. 1:4)! When that was done, he had another one that lasted yet another week (Est. 1:5)! His earthly power, riches, and military strength would have impressed us, no doubt. However, these things said nothing about the condition of his soul. It told us nothing about whether or not he was ready for eternity.
Jesus asked one time, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). This is still a valid question! It is a soul-searching question that demands an answer. If you could throw a six-month party for all the people you knew like Ahasuerus, if you had the money to stage a year-long party and impress friend and enemy alike, what does this say about our soul’s salvation? It says nothing! Prepare for eternity (II Cor. 6:2; Mk. 16:16)! Set your mind on pleasing God rather than man (Gal. 1:10; Col. 3:1-4). This is the most important goal we have in life (Ecc. 12:13-14)!