Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14
The word providence refers to the foreseeing, guiding, protecting, and rearranging hand of God on the history of the world and on our personal lives. America’s Founding Fathers leaned heavily on the doctrine of providence. According to several historians, George Washington’s mother would read to him from Esther 4, emphasizing Mordecai’s question to Esther: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Young Washington absorbed the understanding that God controls events, placing us where and when He wants. As his life unfolded, Washington spoke repeatedly of providence. He talked about the “favorable interpositions” of God’s providence, the “ordering of a kind Providence,” and “the hand of Providence” that spared America as a nation.
How remarkable that the same hand that guides the course of history also directs the circumstances of the lives of His children. Joseph was a man who yielded his life to the providential plan of God, and he became blessed and greatly used. God is in control of the tides of time; let Him also order the days of your life.
A superintending Providence is ordering everything for the best—and, that in due time, all will end well.
George Washington, in a letter dated October 27, 1777
John Piper – Don’t Miss Your Esther Moments
Love [your wife] as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods. Hosea 3:1
Ron and Nancy’s marriage was deteriorating rapidly. She had an affair, but after some time she admitted her sin to God. She knew what He wanted her to do, but it was difficult. She shared the truth with Ron. Instead of asking for a divorce, Ron chose to give Nancy a chance to win his trust back by showing that she’d changed. In a miraculous way God restored their marriage.
Ron’s actions are a picture of God’s love and forgiveness shown toward sinners like you and me. The prophet Hosea understood this well. He was commanded by God to marry an unfaithful woman as a way to show Israel their status of unfaithfulness before Him (Hosea 1). If that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, when Hosea’s wife left him, God told him to ask her to come back. He said, “Show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress” (3:1). After all their disobedience, God longed for a close relationship with His people. Just as Hosea loved his unfaithful wife, pursued her, and sacrificed for her, so God loved His people. His righteous anger and jealousy were motivated by His great love.
This same God longs for us today to be near Him. As we come to Him in faith, we can trust that in Him we will find complete fulfillment.
Reflect & Pray
How will you respond to God’s love today? Is there someone you can share His great love with?
God in heaven, how great and amazing is Your love, even for a sinner like me! For all the wrong I’ve done, I don’t deserve Your love. Thank You for forgiving me, for buying me back, for restoring our relationship.
Life sometimes seems like one long series of problems, doesn’t it? Even if we’re going through a relatively pleasant “season,” there’s always an undercurrent of yearning for something better. Perhaps this is what Solomon meant when he wrote of God, “He has planted eternity in the human heart” (Eccl. 3:11 NLT).
What we are longing for is revealed in today’s passage, and each benefit to believers is found “in Him,” meaning Christ.
God’s Lavish Grace (vv. 7-8). As believers, we have confidence that through Christ, we’ve been forgiven of our sins and redeemed. No matter what’s going on around us, we never have to doubt our eternal security.
A Glorious Future (vv. 9-10). Although we currently live in a fallen world, we know God will “in the fullness of the times” bring all things to completion in Christ. In that day, Jesus’ familiar words to the Father will be fulfilled: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).
An Inheritance (Eph. 1:11-14). One of the most amazing aspects of our salvation is that we are heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17)—and our inheritance has already been obtained for us. We can be confident of this because God always brings His will to pass, and He’s given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing that we will receive this heavenly inheritance.
When our journey becomes difficult, or we’re simply worn out with all the struggles or routines of daily life, we need to remember that we are not home yet. Life isn’t yet as it should be, but God has provided His grace and His promises to give us hope and contentment.
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedest me with strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:3)
God’s responses to our prayers are delivered in two ways: practically, in the circumstances or in the direction, and spiritually, in the “inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).
We are often so focused on the physical or external event for which we are insistently praying that when the answer comes we fail to receive the full blessing—even if we read the practical answer correctly. Our heavenly Father is committed to providing our needs on Earth (Philippians 4:19; Luke 12:30), but such supply is of minimal significance in the scope of eternity. The good thoughts (Jeremiah 29:11) and the good gifts of God (Luke 11:13) are toward the expected end, the ultimate conformity “to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
While God responds to our physical needs, His heart and His purpose are to fill us “with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). He blesses us “with all spiritual blessings” (Ephesians 1:3) and has chosen us to be “holy and without blame” (Ephesians 1:4). God’s Word is designed to allow us to participate in the “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). God’s desire in responding to our prayers is this: “That ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfullness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:9-12).
But please be on notice! This internal and spiritual worship and praise cannot be kept private. The “internal” blessings of God will overflow in godly behavior and visible joy (James 3:13; 1 Peter 1:8). HMM III
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
Sin is a disease. It is lawlessness. It is rebellion. It is transgression—but it is also a wasting of the most precious of all treasures on earth. The man who dies out of Christ is said to be lost, and hardly a word in the English tongue expresses his condition with greater accuracy. He has squandered a rare fortune and at the last he stands for a fleeting moment and looks around, a moral fool, a wastrel who has lost in one overwhelming and irrecoverable loss, his soul, his life, his peace, his total mysterious personality, his dear and everlasting all!
Oh, how can we get men and women around us to realize that God Almighty, before the beginning of the world, loved them, and thought about them, planning redemption and salvation and forgiveness?
Christian brethren, why are we not more faithful and serious in proclaiming God’s great eternal concerns?
How is this world all around us ever to learn that God is all in all unless we are faithful in our witness?
In a time when everything in the world seems to be vanity, God is depending on us to proclaim that He is the great Reality, and that only He can give meaning to all other realities. CES048
Forgive me, Lord. I fear that all too often I have let You down when You were depending on me. Use me today as a faithful servant. Amen.
And was transfigured before them: and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.—Matthew 17:2.
Master, it is good for us to be here.—Mark 9:5.
Master, it is good to be
Entranced, enwrapt, alone with Thee;
Watching the glistering raiment glow,
Whiter than Hermon’s whitest snow;
The human lineaments that shine
Irradiant with a light Divine:
Till we too change from grace to grace,
Gazing on that transfigured face.
A. P. Stanley.
The Transfiguration has lived on through ages, and has shed its light upon all ages. It has brought the past into union with the present. “The decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem” has been owned as the bond of fellowship between those who walk the earth and suffer in it, and those who are departed from it. In the light of that “countenance which was altered, of that raiment which was white and glistering,” all human countenances have acquired a brightness, all common things have been transfigured. A glimpse of the Divine beauty has broken through the darkness, and has cheered the humblest pilgrims.
Frederic Denison Maurice.
“Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.” Deut. 1:21
There is a heritage of grace which we ought to be bold enough to win for our own possession. All that one believer has gained is free to another. We may be strong in faith, fervent in love, and abundant in labor; there is nothing to prevent it; let us go up and take possession. The sweetest experience and the brightest grace are as much for us as for any of our brethren, Jehovah has set it before us; no one can deny our right; let us go up and possess it in His name.
The world also lies before us to be conquered for the Lord Jesus. We are not to leave any country or corner of it unsubdued. That slum near our house is before us, not to baffle our endeavors, but to yield to them. We have only to summon courage enough to go forward, and we shall win dark homes and hard hearts for Jesus. Let us never leave the people in a lane or alley to die because we have not enough faith in Jesus and His gospel to go up and possess the land. No spot is too benighted, no person so profane as to be beyond the power of grace. Cowardice, begone! Faith marches to the conquest.