Sunday, March 23, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 91: Sacrifice

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 91, March 21, 2014
Readings: Psalm 91, Exodus 37, Esther 4, 1 Corinthians 9

What would you risk to save lives? How far would you go? What if they were the lives of people you didn't know, and had never met, and probably would never meet? What if you didn't have to?

In the story of Esther, a young Jewish woman who has become the queen of King Artaxerxes, she is faced with this question. Her people are facing extinction. Through mere greed, Artaxerxes has been lured into allowing one of his men with a vendetta against Esther's uncle (Mordecai) to carry out genocide against the Jews.

Understandably,  Mordecai is distraught, and begs his niece to help her people however she can. She, above all others, is in a position to petition the king for mercy, for deliverance.

But it comes with risk.

Then Esther spoke to Hathach and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say, "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law - to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days."
And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:10-16)

Esther was willing to risk her life for the Jewish nation. Many might say, "Of course, she did it for the greater good, many lives were at stake, blah blah blah..." but can you put yourself in her shoes? Could you go through with it? Could you risk your own life, not knowing if you would merely die and then everyone else would as well?

Of important note as well, I think, is that Mordecai asks Esther with faith that deliverance is coming, no matter her answer. "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place" - He is not afraid, even when faced with the wholesale slaughter of his people. Concerned? Yes. Distraught? Of course! But he believes in God's promise to His people. He believes that God will rescue them. But he wants to be a part of the plan.

Many Christians around the world are facing death - and they have faith that God will save them - either in this life or the next. But what about those who don't know God? Who don't have faith in Him? We are all under the curse of death - it will come for every one of us. God made a way to be free from that curse, God has given us deliverance through His son Jesus. Are you willing to face something unpleasant so that others don't have to suffer and die? Are you willing to do as Esther did, and petition others to come to know the love and saving work of Jesus? You have the ability to offer life to others - and while it may come at your expense, it may also save lives. Can you be like Esther?

No comments: