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A Reversal Of Fortune

Friday, January 31, 2020

After Haman’s plans for killing the Jews, including Esther, were revealed (Est. 7:6), things moved very quickly. Mordecai’s enemy ended up hanging from the gallows he had made for him (v. 10). Not only this, but the ring Haman once wore was given to Mordecai (Est. 8:2). The position once held by Haman, Mordecai now held. The entire population of Jews, once oppressed, were allowed weapons and to have a fair fight against the Persians (Est. 8:11-12, 9:2-3). Yes, God in His providence caused a complete reversal in the plans of Haman “the enemy of the Jews.”

This is not the only time we read about this happening. When Jesus spoke about the eternal destiny of the rich man and Lazarus, we find another time when things were reversed (Lk. 16:19-31). Specifically, Abraham reminds the rich man, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented” (v. 25). Upon analyzing the context, we see many “reversals” that took place between the rich man and Lazarus. Just like Haman and Mordecai, many things changed between them. I marvel at this because perhaps those five brothers he left behind thought of their brother as a godly man and one bound for eternal bliss. God knew what was going on “behind the scenes,” and this man got what he deserved. In reality, the rich man and Lazarus experienced a true reversal from what they had experienced on earth.

The most significant reversal of all was the reversal Christ performed when He made salvation possible through His death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 26:28; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:28; I Jn. 2:2; Rom. 6:2-6, 16-18; I Pet. 3:21). Satan thought that he had won. He had succeeded in tempting the first people to sin (Gen. 3:1-6). They sinned, and we have had to live with the consequences on this earth ever since (Gen. 3:16-24). Satan then tempted Cain (Gen. 4:1-11), Abraham (Gen. 12, 20), Moses (Num. 20), David (II Sam. 11-12), and every other man and woman on earth (Rom. 3:23)! He succeeded in getting humanity to sin and to jeopardize their souls before God.

Satan seemed to be winning until Christ came to earth! At that time, we see a reversal taking place. Christ was tempted like others, but did not yield (Matt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13; Heb. 4:15). He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Furthermore, when He died, He did not die in sin but died to be a sacrifice for others’ sins (I Pet. 3:18). Where Adam brought death, we see that Christ brings life (I Cor. 15:22). Yes, a complete reversal is possible in Christ!

Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you ready for “light, and gladness, and joy, and honor” (Est. 8:16)? Spiritually, you can have these things by following the Lord and doing what He says. Become a Christian (Acts 11:26; Mk. 16:16). Live faithfully for the Lord (I Cor. 15:58), and you can look forward to Heaven (another reversal from life on earth) when this life is over (Matt. 25:34)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

The True Face of Sin

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Many today treat sin as nothing. Some tell us that sin is non-existent. Others treat sin as a fairy tale to scare children. Many people act as if they have “outgrown” sin, and they live their lives oblivious to the harm they are doing to their souls and the souls of others. Proverbs 14:9 declares, “Fools make a mock at sin ….”

When it was known that Haman’s law was in force, Mordecai “cried with a loud and bitter cry; he even came before the king’s gate … clothed with sackcloth” (Est. 4:1-2). He later told Esther how her life stood in jeopardy along with the rest of the Jews (v. 13-14). They faced death from a bitter enemy all because this enemy allowed his pride, envy, and anger to influence his decisions. Mordecai didn’t treat Haman’s actions as a joke or a fairy tale.

Sin is no joke (Prov. 14:9)! It is not silly, nor is it something where one gets a “slap on the hand” or has to sit in the corner to make things right. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and it is high time we realized how dangerous sin is! We see a picture of the horrible nature of sin when we read Mordecai’s response (Est. 4:1-2). He and his nation were going to suffer because of a man’s sinful action if something was not done quickly.

The same is true today. We stand in spiritual jeopardy because of sin (Ezek. 18:20). We have sinned because we have given in to our lusts and acted in ways we ought not (Jas. 1:14-15). What are we doing to correct the situation? Did we notice that after Mordecai cried, he got busy! We need to do the same thing.

Once we realize that we have sinned, we need to act to be free from sin (Rom. 6:17-18). I am impressed that in the New Testament when we read where people understood the heinous nature of their sin, they moved quickly to get out of it. They didn’t wait, but went “the same hour of the night … immediately” (Acts 16:33) to correct their error. This was not an accident but was the result of preachers telling them that they needed to act quickly (II Cor. 6:2). “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” is the message of the gospel (Heb. 3:7-8, 15)!

Do not wait until tomorrow or farther into the future. We have no lease on life (Jas. 4:14; Ps. 90:12). We must act quickly. The true face of sin is horrible. It is far worse than the physical death that Mordecai dreaded. Sin leads us to an eternal death where there is nothing but darkness, pain, and suffering for eternity (Matt. 22:13, 25:30; Rev. 14:10-11).

Mordecai hoped a change of the law might save them. In like manner, a “change of the law” (Heb. 7:12-14) has made all the difference for us. Since Christ died upon the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, we now have a way to become free from sin (Rom. 6:17-18). When we follow the Lord’s plan of salvation (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38), we can be free and do not have to face the consequences of our sin. The true face of sin leads us to an eternity away from the Lord in a Devil’s Hell. The remedy for sin is to be baptized and to remain faithful to the Lord (I Cor. 15:58). “Put on the armor of light … make no provision for the flesh” and enjoy the blessings that come in Christ (Rom. 13:11, 14; Eph. 1:3).

Christ defeated sin. Have you done what the Lord wants? The true face of sin is worse than anything you can imagine. Do not go to your grave in sin!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

How Soon Do We Act To Correct Our Errors?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Haman signed and put the royal ring on an edict that demanded the death of the Jewish people (Est. 3). The riders given the message were made to hurry and proclaim it far and wide. What were the people to do (Est. 3:15)? When we read the book of Esther, we know what happened. We remember what Esther did and how she finally revealed her heritage to her husband in the hope that he might stop the slaughter (Est. 7:3-6).

Though Haman was executed for his crime (Est. 7:10), this did not stop the edict from being enforced. Something had to be done! Sadly, nothing could reverse the first law (Est. 8:8), but they could write another to counteract the first. This is what Mordecai did (8:8-14)! What impresses me is that when the second law was written, the king’s royal horses, the swiftest he had, were used by the riders once more. They had a message to spread as quickly as possible, and they used every effort to get this message out (8:17).

Not everyone acts like this. Many people try to hide their errors to keep from being found out. They believe it is in their best interest to hide, lie, and cover up the errors in any way they can and hope no one notices. The problem with this plan is summed up well in Numbers 32:23, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”

Jesus taught His followers that if they have a fault with someone, they need to find that person and get it resolved (Matt. 5:23-24, 18:15). I am impressed with the fact that Jesus’ words show urgency. Matthew 5 shows us that He thought it more important to be reconciled in this case than to offer a gift at the altar. Why? How can we claim to love the God we haven’t seen if we hold hatred for our brother that we have seen (I Jn. 4:20)?

When it comes to sin against a brother or just a personal sin known only to God, let us determine to correct this as quickly as possible. Be like Ahasuerus, who sent out his fastest horses. Let us act as promptly as we can. We never know what a day may bring (Prov. 27:1)! Therefore, we never know when we may never have a chance to correct our wrongdoing! Our life may be taken, the one we wronged may lose his life. Something else might happen that changes our ability to make corrections. It may be the passing of time that does it! Consider the fact that if Ahasuerus and Mordecai waited too long to send out the edict that counteracted the first one, it would be a worthless piece of paper! It was only valid so long as it got through the kingdom before the twelfth month and thirteenth day (Est. 3:13).

If you had something to send out as Ahasuerus did, would you move quickly? What about when you are dealing with matters that could very well send your soul to Hell? Do you think this demands urgency? Do you believe this demands working quickly to get things resolved with God and your fellow man? How fast are you working to correct errors in your life? Don’t put this off because tomorrow may be too late!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

A Changed Life

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Esther 10:3 reveals that Mordecai, in his new role, was “great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed.” What impresses me is that there is nothing said about Mordecai taking vengeance on the Persians. Nor do we read that he stole money or somehow made himself rich in his position. He used his power for the betterment of his people.

The change of fortune recorded in the book of Esther is quite astonishing. Mordecai went from being a servant living with a death threat on him to second-in-command over Persia (Est. 3:5-6, 9:4, 10:3). He was like Joseph, Daniel, and many others who rose to prominence after suffering much for the Lord. Thankfully, he remembered who he was, and remained faithful to God even as his social status changed.

Those who become Christians (Mk. 16:16) witness a change in their lives. The difference is so radical that Christ compares it to a birth (Jn. 3:3). Then, “as newborn babes,” we need to feed upon the word (I Pet. 2:2). We must continue to mature in the Lord (Heb. 5:12-14) and be faithful to Him (I Cor. 15:58).

Have we ever considered, though, that this change brings with it many spiritual blessings that lost people do not enjoy (Eph. 1:3)? In one sense, Christians are like Mordecai. He rose from slavery to being second-in-command. Have we not done the same thing in Christ? When we obeyed the Lord’s plan of salvation (Acts 2:38), we went from being slaves to sin (Rom. 6:16, 7:14b), to being free from sin (Rom. 6:18)! Christ made us “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:5-6; I Pet. 2:9)! We are now “joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17)! As good as Mordecai’s change was, ours is better!

Have you made that change for the better? If not, become a Christian today (Acts 22:16; Col. 2:11-13). If I can help you, please contact me.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

"The City Rejoiced And Was Glad"

Friday, January 24, 2020

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

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