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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

God Will Not Allow The Wicked To Continue

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In our world, it seems that the wicked have the advantage. People have observed this fact for millennia (Ps. 73:1-16). Though the wicked seem to prosper and the righteous do not, God assures us that this is not the case. Solomon wrote, “Be assured that the evil person will not be unpunished” (Prov. 11:21, NET).

The book of Ecclesiastes declares a similar truth. Solomon said, “Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God” (Ecc. 8:12-13).

In the book of Esther, it seemed that wicked Haman was going to prosper. It looked like his plan for killing Mordecai, and the Jews could not be thwarted (Est. 3-7). Even after his death, his law was still in motion! Since he had used the king’s ring to seal the law, it seemed nothing could stop it. In Esther 8-9, however, we find Esther, Mordecai, and even the king acting quickly to try to stop Haman’s evil plan. At first, it seemed that the wicked might win. Thankfully, God had other plans! The law of Esther and Mordecai won (Est. 9:2-3)! God will not allow the wicked to continue. Those who obey God’s plans will be blessed.

Let us learn a lesson from this great queen and her godly cousin (Rom. 15:4). Satan and wicked people might seem to have the advantage at times, but rest assured, they will lose (Ps. 37:1-3). God will not allow the wicked to continue. If you are not sure about this, look at the life of Christ. Though He was harassed and mistreated by His enemies to the point of death (Matt. 27:35, 50); it is He who resurrected from the dead and overcame Satan (Gen. 3:15).

The apostles and other early Christians also suffered much at the hands of men (Acts 5:40; II Cor. 11:23-28; etc.). Wicked people had killed all of the apostles except John. Yet, the Lord’s church has thrived and prospered for the last 2000 years! Today, we remember the words and deeds of the apostles, and the enemies have been lost to history! Take heart that the Lord will not allow the wicked to continue. Besides the consequences they face on earth, the Judgment Day is coming for them (Matt. 25:46)!

Stay strong and continue to serve God while you live. It will be worth it (Rom. 8:18; II Cor. 4:17)! “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9).

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Power Corrupts ...

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Haman was chosen to serve as “second-in-command” under Ahasuerus (Est. 3:1-2). This was a position of honor and respect, but Haman allowed this power to go to his head. When surrounded by the servants and others who bowed (3:2), he seemed content. However, to witness just one man at the gate who refused to bow, he became “full of wrath” (3:5). His wrath set off a “chain reaction” of events that would finally end with his death (7:10). (Ironically, his death satisfied another’s wrath, but this will be covered in a future writing.)

Why did this occur? When Haman had so many that bowed to him, why did it bother him that only one didn’t? It seems that the presence of the servants and “yes-men” served as too much of a temptation for Haman. He would have 100% allegiance from the people, or he was going to know why not! Mordecai’s reasons for refusing to bow are not stated here, though. Regardless, Haman demanded obeisance from every person, and to refuse would be met with harsh punishment. In this case, Mordecai’s refusal to bow was Haman’s excuse to commit genocide! This attitude exists in the man who has allowed his power to corrupt him.

Contrast Haman’s attitude with the attitude of men like Joseph, Daniel, even King David! These, and many more, did not allow earthly power to corrupt them. They knew they were serving a God who was higher than them. In contrast, Haman acted as if he were his own god!

Let us remember that regardless of what position we hold on earth, we are just servants of God. We are still God’s creation (Gen. 1:26-27; Jas. 3:9b). We still have a Master to please (I Thess. 4:1; Col. 1:10). We will all fit in the same six-foot hole, and we will all stand before the same Judge (Heb. 9:27; II Cor. 5:10)! Don’t let power, position, or prestige on earth go to your head! Stay humble (I Pet. 5:5-6; Jas. 4:6)!

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

Some Things Man Cannot Escape

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Some Things Man Cannot Escape

Jarrod Jacobs

            In our society, we are used to people “getting away” with certain things, aren’t we? It has become almost commonplace to hear about a person hiring a “dream team” of lawyers so as to avoid criminal charges and prosecution. Closer to home, we may notice people “getting away” with theft by eating displayed food at the grocery store without buying it; or taking extra time on their breaks at work and getting paid for it. Perhaps someone we know has been dishonest (lying). Don’t men tend to ignore this sin? It seems that we have reared a society which thinks that we can escape certain sins by ignoring them and no one is the wiser. Is this really the case?

            God says there are things we cannot escape in this life no matter how hard we try! Just like Adam and Eve could not escape God (Gen. 3:7-10); just like Jonah could not escape God (Jonah 1:3-17, ch. 2); neither can we escape God (Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13; Ecc. 12:14; Rom. 2:16)! Nor can we escape the truth He has revealed.

            We have reared a society of people who are under the impression that they can “bury” their sins deep enough that no one will find out about them. Sometimes, folks have the idea that they can somehow escape the consequences of sin if they pay enough money, run far enough away, deny it, etc. In truth, this is not possible! “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23)! We need to understand that we cannot escape sin independently of Christ and His shed blood (Rom. 6:3-6; Acts 2:38, 22:16)! Whether we are discussing the physical or the spiritual consequences of sin, we cannot escape without Christ! Lest we forget, go back and read Romans 6:23, which tells us, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” In addition to this, God compares physical sowing and reaping with spiritual sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7-8. Be sure, there will be a “bitter harvest” awaiting us if we have sown a life of sin and have not repented nor have been forgiven!

            As hard as men try to avoid it via medicines, vitamins, exercise, food choices, etc., we also know that we cannot escape death! (Heb. 9:27). Death was something God promised as a physical consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen. 3:19) and it continues to this day. Solomon put it this way: “The living know that they shall die” (Ecc. 9:5a)! How true this is! In fact, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26). Therefore, be assured we will not escape death because it will be with us until the Lord returns!

            Further, let us remember that there is a Judgment Day coming in which all mankind will be judged by Christ (Acts 17:30-31; Jn. 5:22). Just like death, no one will escape this event! How do I know this? I know this because the Bible reveals this truth to us (Ecc. 12:13-14; Matt. 25:31-33, 46; II Cor. 5:10).

            Can there be any question as to the coming Judgment? Can there be any question as to who is going to be there? We will all be present before Christ in Judgment (II Cor. 5:10). The question is: “Are you ready?” If not, why not?

            Yes, some things we cannot escape! Yet, we can come through anything successfully when we are in Christ. Are you in Him? (Eph. 1:7-13; Gal. 3:26-27)

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