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"If you keep quiet at this time, liberation and protection for the Jews will appear from another source, while you and your father’s household perish. It may very well be that you have achieved royal status for such a time as this!"
A man named Haman had orchestrated the annihilation of an entire people; Queen Esther’s people, the Jews. Confronting King Xerxes regarding this effort could cost Esther her life; yet Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, persuaded her to go to the King anyway. After fasting and praying by all the Jews including Esther, she went to the King and found favor in his sight. Sometimes God places us in certain situations so that we, like Esther, can choose to rise to the occasion and stand firm for Him.
From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: “God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”
Peter has the right heart here, but does not understand why Jesus has to suffer. When Jesus tells the disciples that he must go and suffer in Jerusalem, it is not said with an attempt to bait alternatives or side-step that responsibility. He makes the declaration with courage, authority, and certainty. The good intention in Peter’s heart is quickly taken captive by our enemy, and twisted into words that fish for Jesus to abandon the rescue. Fortunately, Jesus catches Satan’s sabotage operation working through Peter’s heart. I’m sure Peter thought he knew best, but Jesus knew even better.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them."
Being poor in spirit means that a person is willing to sit in the passenger seat and be led by the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit. Very simply, it is living with true humility. Our flesh has desires that are based on satisfying the flesh. Acting on these desires invades our soul with evil intent. Someone who is poor in spirit allows the Spirit of God to lead their decisions and actions – constantly emptying themselves of desires that profane or go against God’s character - and instead fill the soul with hope and truth.
But may all who take shelter in you be happy! May they continually shout for joy! Shelter them so that those who are loyal to you may rejoice!
This verse is a picture of seeking the favor of the Lord. Just because we know it is true that God is a refuge does not excuse us from praying and seeking Him out to be that refuge, and moreover, praising Him for being that refuge and breaking through our sin to meet us where we are! Receive the call to seek God always – yearn for relationship with Him and share with Him what you need. You already have reason to “ever sing for joy”, and He will protect you.
However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you!
Remember today what God has done for you! Praise Him for His faithfulness and provision! Share what God has done for you with someone you know (or someone you don’t). Your testimony – your story is full of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love that all people need. Do not worry whether your story is good enough. God is in the business of using truth to change the hearts of people. Offer Him the opportunity to change someone because of your story today. Be led by the Holy Spirit into how to share your story with others.