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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

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

Is God In Vegas (or Shushan)?

Sunday, January 26, 2020

My wife recently reminded me of an old television commercial where the tagline was: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” The point of the ad was that if people came to Las Vegas, they could be free to do what they wanted without any guilt. It is as if the people were saying that God isn’t in Las Vegas (Ps. 139:7-12), or He cannot see what we are doing there (Prov. 15:3)! Las Vegas was giving people a “license to sin!”

It concerns me when I hear about Christians who think that taking a vacation means taking a vacation from being a Christian as well. Some Christians have been known to go to another county or another state to engage in sin. They think they are “safe” from “prying eyes” if they go somewhere that no one knows them. Of course, they are just fooling themselves because, as we noted above, there is nowhere they can go that God is not there and sees them!

It is for this reason that people like Joseph and Daniel, as well as women like Vashti and Esther, stand out to me. They stand out because Vashti and Esther lived in the King’s palace. They could justify any behavior they wanted by referring to where they lived, or by saying, “The King made me do it. I had no choice!” Yet, these two ladies, just as the others named, did not use their location as an occasion for sin!

When Vashti was called into the King’s presence, she did not yield to her husband’s drunken demands (Est. 1:10-12). She could have easily justified sin by saying, “The King has called me,” but she didn’t. We do not know Vashti’s origin, but we know she had morals and was not going to compromise them for anyone. Where she lived made no difference to her! Right was right, and wrong was wrong.

Esther did not allow fear to overcome her (Est. 4:16-7:10). We know she was raised well under the guidance of her cousin, Mordecai (Est. 2:5-7). Yet, when she was brought into the King’s palace, she did not allow her location to hold her back from speaking when she needed to speak up for her people! She had the opposite issue from Vashti, in that the King had not called for her for a month (4:11). She might have justified her silence by saying, “I can’t go until he calls me, and so there is no point in trying. No one will know if I spoke to the King or not, anyway.” These ladies knew they had responsibilities. The God of Heaven is in Shushan, just like He is in Jerusalem, and He must be respected!

What excuses do we make to justify our sins? Do we justify our sins based upon where we are and who saw or didn’t see us? Remember, God sees all of humanity and knows our hearts (Heb. 4:12-13). We are not going to get away with sin just because we did it out of town! Don’t fool yourself into thinking that godliness only applies at home! Take a lesson from Vashti, Esther, Daniel, Joseph, and so many others who served God faithfully even when they were away from home.

- Jarrod M. Jacobs

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