Paul Sends Timothy

Bible:

But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.

Therefore when we could bear it no longer, we were willing to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s coworker in the gospel of Christ, to establish and exhort you in your faith. I Thessalonians 2:17-18, 3:1-2 ESV

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:19-24 ESV

Reflection:

At the time that the United States declared its independence from England and war broke out between the two countries, the United States sent Benjamin Franklin to France as an ambassador. His job was to win the friendship of the French so that they would help the United States in the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin was an excellent ambassador. He took the time to get to know and understand the French people and to win their trust. He learned their language and did an excellent job at persuading them to give their help to the United States, and the French sent a lot of money as well as soldiers to help in the fight. Without France, the United States probably wouldn’t have won its war for independence.

Paul sent an ambassador for himself to the Thessalonians. He wanted to go and visit and help the young church with its questions and problems, but Satan worked through different situations that kept getting in his way and keeping him from going to Thessalonica. Finally Paul couldn’t stand it any longer. He stayed in Athens by himself and sent Timothy in his place to help the Thessalonians. Timothy was like a son to Paul. Paul knew he could trust Timothy to love and help the Thessalonians and teach them and be an example to them. Timothy went and did the work that Paul wanted to do, and sent a report back so that Paul would know what was happening in the church and what issues needed his attention.

When we needed God’s help, he sent his own Son, Jesus, as an ambassador to us. Jesus came and spoke the words of God and did the work of God in this world. Listening to Jesus is listening to God, and seeing Jesus’ work is seeing the work of God. The greatest work that Jesus did was to die on the cross to bring us back to our Heavenly Father. Jesus died to take away all our sins, and because of him we don’t go our own way, but instead Jesus helps us to learn and follow God’s ways and to live as his children.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to us to bring us back to you. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

https://www.pbs.org/benfranklin/l3_world_france.html

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Recognizing the Stranger

Bible:

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. Luke 24:28-35 ESV

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. II Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

Reflection:

A long time ago Duke William of Normandy took his troops and invaded England, and there was a great battle for the control of England. At one point during the battle the Norman troops heard rumors that their leader, Duke William, was dead, and they became discouraged. The Norman line began to retreat and the English soldiers started to chase them. But then William, who had not died, rode furiously at his soldiers and threatened them with his spear. He pulled off his helmet and shouted, “Look at me, I’m alive and with the aid of God I will gain the victory!” When his troops saw his red hair, they knew their leader and realized he wasn’t dead. This was the turning point of the battle, and the Normans went on to victory.

The two followers of Jesus had walked along the road to Emmaus with the stranger who had explained to them the meaning of the Bible and how it all pointed to the promised Savior’s death and resurrection. When they reached their home, their companion pretended he was going to continue his journey, but they urged him to stay at their home because it was getting late. So he came into their home with them, and the three of them sat down to eat dinner. The stranger picked up the bread and blessed it by thanking God, and then broke it and gave each of them a piece. This is what the host of the meal would usually do, but instead their guest did this, and as soon as he did, they realized it was Jesus! It wasn’t the color of his hair or any special way he looked, but instead the way he acted as their host that made them recognize him. As soon as they did, Jesus disappeared from their sight. But they knew the truth, that Jesus was alive and that everything that had happened to him was according to God’s plan. They said that his teaching along the road had made their hearts burn with joy, and full of that joy they hurried all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the others. In the meantime, Jesus had also appeared to Peter, but the Bible doesn’t tell us anything more about that.

We know that Jesus is also with us even though we can’t see him. There is a saying that many Christian homes have used for a long time: “Christ is the head of this home, the unseen guest at every meal, and the silent listener to every conversation.” His death paid for our sins so that we could be his people, and his resurrection means that he is always with us. Jesus’ presence is good news for us, because he knows our needs and our sorrows and is able to help us. He forgives our sins and teaches us through his word, the Bible. We look forward to the day when we will be able to see him face to face.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for being with us. Help us to always know you are there. Amen.

Source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/normans/1066_01.shtml

The Scriptures must be Fulfilled

Bible:

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled. Matthew 26:52-56 ESV

A voice says, “Cry!”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it;
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:6-8 ESV

Reflection:

During World War I, a British officer named Robert Campbell was taken prisoner by the German army. While he was in prison he heard that his mother was dying of cancer. Captain Campbell wrote a letter to the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, begging him to let him go home to visit his mother before she died. He promised that if the emperor would let him do this, he would return to prison after his visit. Kaiser Wilhelm gave his permission for Captain Campbell to go home for a visit, and the captain could have stayed in England and not honored his word. But Robert Campbell kept his promise and returned to prison in Germany after visiting with his mother for a week, even though it must have been a terribly hard promise to keep.

God promised in his word that he would send a Savior who would bring people out of sin and death and back to him again, and he kept his promise in Jesus. When Peter tried to defend his Lord by taking a sword and cutting off Malchus’ ear, Jesus told him to put his sword back. He didn’t need Peter to defend him. He said that if he wanted, he could ask his Heavenly Father for more than twelve legions of angels to protect him! But if Jesus had done that, then he couldn’t have kept the promise God had made in Scriptures. He also told the people who had come after him that there had been no need for them to hunt him down with weapons and soldiers in the dark of night. They could have taken him any time they wanted while he was teaching, but they hadn’t done that. This also fulfilled what God had promised in the Scripture.

God always keeps his promises, and that is very good news for us. For Jesus to come and suffer and die for us was a very hard promise to keep, but Jesus did what he had come to do. He didn’t choose to take the easy way out and call on his Father to send angels to rescue him. Jesus did this because he loves us, and he wanted to bring us back to him. Because of Jesus, we are his people, and we can trust him to keep all of his promises to us, now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping your promise to save us in Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-23957605

No Greater Love

Bible:

[Jesus said:] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:12-17 ESV

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. I John 3:21-24 ESV

Reflection:

There’s a story about a man named Alban, many years ago in England. Alban wasn’t a Christian, but at the time he lived there was a terrible persecution of Christians. Alban saw a priest who was running for his life, and he sheltered the priest in his home. While the priest stayed with him, Alban became a Christian and was baptized. When soldiers came to Alban’s house looking for the priest, Alban dressed himself in the priest’s clothes and pretended to be the priest. They arrested him instead and he was put to death for his new faith. He gave his life for the friend who had brought him to faith in Jesus.

Jesus said something very wonderful to his disciples. He said that they were not his servants, but instead that they were his friends. Because they were his friends, they could talk to God, their Heavenly Father, and he would hear their prayers for Jesus’ sake. The disciples didn’t choose Jesus, but instead he chose them to be his friends. He wanted them to follow his teachings, which would be like bearing fruit. He said that he was telling them about what he was doing because they were his friends, and that he wanted them to love one another as friends do. Jesus said that there was no greater love than a love that would give its life for friends. This is what Jesus was about to do for his disciples.

Jesus also gave his life for us. He died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and so that we could be his friends. He calls on us to love each other the way he loves us, and to talk to our Heavenly Father in prayer. He teaches us about God’s ways through his word, the Bible. He is with us to help us to follow God’s will and live in ways that please him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to give his life for us and to make us his friends. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01252b.htm

The Judgment of the Son of Man

Bible:

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.  Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. John 9:35-41 ESV

[Daniel wrote:] “As I looked,

thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened.

“I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14 ESV

Reflection:

Robin Hood, according to the way some people tell the story, lived in Sherwood Forest at the time when King Richard was off fighting in the Crusades. Robin Hood was angry at the injustices the people of England lived under, and especially the poorest people, whose land and means of living were often stolen from them by Prince John and other wicked rulers. Robin Hood expected that some day King Richard would return and set right what was wrong. But when King Richard did return, he met Robin while he was in disguise, and Robin didn’t recognize him at first. It was only when King Richard revealed himself that Robin Hood knew who he was, and immediately pledged his loyalty to him, while the King gave Robin his royal pardon. King Richard judged and punished the evil rulers who had been disloyal to him and oppressed his people.

This is only a story, but it’s a little bit like the end of the story of the man born blind. This man believed that Jesus was a prophet sent from God, but he didn’t know any more about him. But Jesus found him and talked to him some more, and told him that he was the Son of Man. Jesus was saying that he was the promised Savior, who would be given glory and judgment by God, the Ancient of Days, that the prophet Daniel had talked about. The man born blind immediately believed in Jesus and worshiped him when he knew who he was. Jesus said he had come into the world for judgment, and that those who thought they saw the truth were really blind, but those who believed in him became able to see. The religious leaders couldn’t believe that they were blind to who Jesus was, but the Lord sternly told them that because they thought they saw the truth, but really didn’t, they were the ones who were blind.

Everyone who sees the mighty Son of Man disguised in the man Jesus receives pardon for all their sins, but people who don’t see who Jesus really is will be judged by him. Jesus came to give his life for the sins of all people, and he wants all people to come to him for forgiveness and life. But some people refuse to believe in Jesus, and in their blindness they will be judged for rejecting their Savior. God the Holy Spirit helps people to be healed of their blindness and to see what Jesus has done for them, and to become God’s people now and always.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for helping us to see and believe in you. Amen.

Source:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/features/2004/03/did_robin_hood_ever_meet_king_richard.shtml

Fleeing to Egypt

Bible:

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew 2:13-15 ESV

But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord;
in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
and from the snares of evildoers!
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
while I pass by safely. Psalm 141:8-10 ESV

Reflection:

During World War II in England there was a lot of fear of the German bombs that the English were sure would fall on their cities, especially London. Many children were sent away from the cities and out into the countryside to live, where people felt it would be safer for them. Besides children, elderly and sick people and some mothers with small babies were evacuated away from the cities into the country. Many children stayed with different families and didn’t return to their own mothers and fathers until after the war. It was a difficult time for them, but there were many bombs that fell on the cities of England, especially in the south and southeast, and being away from these cities kept the children safe until the war was over.

The baby Jesus was also in great danger from the jealous and fearful King Herod, and an angel of the Lord talked to Joseph in a dream and warned him to evacuate his little family to Egypt. Joseph listened to the angel and took Mary and Jesus out of the country. They hurried out in the middle of the night and went to a foreign land to live where they could be safe from the evil king. They didn’t leave Egypt until they heard that King Herod had died and that it would be safe to return. It would have been difficult for them to live away from their own country and people, but God watched over them and kept them safe.

God kept his holy Son safe because Jesus had a very important job to do when he grew up, and nothing would stop him from doing that job. Jesus’ job was to die on the cross to save us, and to rise again from the dead to defeat sin and death and all the forces of evil. When God kept his Son safe from King Herod, he was also keeping us safe in his plans for the future. Our Heavenly Father kept Jesus safe so that he could make us his children and keep us safe with him from death and evil, now and forever.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for keeping Jesus, our Savior, safe, and for keeping us safe in your care for his sake. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-evacuated-children-of-the-second-world-war

God in a Baby

Bible:

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 ESV

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:15-20 ESV

Reflection:

When Henry V was king of England, he invaded France to conquer and claim some land there that he believed belonged to him. Shakespeare tells a story about him in one of his plays. According to the story, the night before the big battle, King Henry wrapped himself in the dirty cloak of a common soldier and went out among his troops to sit by a campfire and to hear them talk. He wanted to understand how they were feeling about the coming battle, and if they were afraid. He found out that the soldiers all felt that they would all die in battle the next day, but he was able to give some words of encouragement around the campfire.

While Mary and Joseph were staying in the city of Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She had a little baby boy, and she wrapped him in swaddling cloths. This is what mothers did for their babies at that time and place. Being tightly wrapped up helped them feel safe and comfortable. Mary laid Jesus in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. What a strange place to lay the Son of God!

What Henry V did in the story is a little bit like what God the Son did for us on the first Christmas. He came to us in a little baby born among the poor and common people. His mother wrapped him in swaddling cloths, but the baby Jesus himself was God wrapped up in a human person. Jesus came to us to be close to us, to know and to understand us, and to love us. He showed his love for us by dying on the cross for us so that there could be peace between us and God, our Heavenly Father. Because of Jesus, we know that our sins are forgiven, and that God is always near us and ready to help us and care for us.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to us as a baby and showing us the love of God. Amen.

Source:

Shakespeare, William, Henry V

Trusting God for Safety

Bible:

Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the Lord my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

I gathered them to the river that runs to Ahava, and there we camped three days.

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. Ezra 7:27-28, 8:15a, 21-23 ESV

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright. Psalm 20:7-8 ESV

Reflection:

A movie called Braveheart tells the story of a Scottish hero named William Wallace, who fought against an English king named Edward Longshanks. King Edward had conquered Scotland, but William Wallace inspired many Scottish men to join him to fight the English and win freedom back for Scotland. The Scottish met the English in a battle at Falkirk, and Wallace was counting on the help of two noblemen named Lochlan and Mornay and their armies. These two men, however, had been given money by King Edward, and they betrayed Wallace and fought against him and with the English. Because of that, Wallace lost the battle. The noblemen and their armies that he had trusted in had betrayed him and failed him.

Ezra was thankful to God for the favor of the king, but he knew that it would be foolish to put all of his trust in the king and his soldiers and horsemen to protect him. He knew that the favor and help of any earthly ruler could change, and also that it could fail. He encouraged all the people with him to put their trust in the only one who would never fail them. Ezra and everyone with him gathered together and prayed and fasted for three days to ask the Lord to be with them and protect them and help them reach their homeland safely, and God heard their prayers.

We are thankful when God works through police or the government or the armed forces to help and protect us, but we know that no earthly power will always be able to keep us perfectly safe. We might call the police when we need help, and we should certainly pray for our government and our armed forces. But the Lord is the only one we can trust completely to always be with us and help us. God came to us in Jesus to conquer sin and death and all the forces of evil on the cross, and because of this we know that no matter what happens on earth, he will keep us as his own people and bring us into his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that will last forever.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for bringing us into your kingdom. Please protect us and keep us yours, now and always. Amen.

Source:

Gibson, Mel, dir. Braveheart Paramount Pictures, 1995. Film.

The Queen Pleads with the King

Bible:

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. And the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman.

Then Esther spoke again to the king. She fell at his feet and wept and pleaded with him to avert the evil plan of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. When the king held out the golden scepter to Esther, Esther rose and stood before the king. And she said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I am pleasing in his eyes, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, which he wrote to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming to my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, “Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he intended to lay hands on the Jews. But you may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring, for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” Esther 8:1-8 ESV

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:31-34 ESV

Reflection:

In old England, the first of May was a day of celebration and festivities. It was considered the first day of summer and also the feast day to remember Joseph, Mary’s husband and Jesus’ foster father, as a worker. But in 1517 when Henry VIII was the king, May first became a day of violence and sorrow, and became known of as Evil May Day. An angry mob, who resented the foreigners that lived in London at this time, targeted these foreigners and beat many of them up. The authorities put a stop to the riot and arrested 300 people. Thirteen of them were punished, and 278 of them were charged with treason and also faced severe punishment. But Henry’s wife and queen, Catherine of Aragon, went on her knees before the king to plead for the people who had been charged, and Henry heard his wife’s pleas and pardoned most of them.

Esther was another queen who pleaded with her husband, the king. She was pleading for the life of her people, who had been ordered to be killed. She fell at his feet and wept and begged him to change the order against the Jews that would allow others to attack and slaughter them on a particular day. King Ahasuerus had already removed Haman from his high office and put him to death, and he gave Mordecai Haman’s place in the government. Ahasuerus gave all of Haman’s wealth and property to Esther, who put Mordecai in charge of it all. Things were looking good that the king would hear Esther’s plea and have mercy on the Jews.

We need God’s mercy and forgiveness every day, and we can be sure that there is always someone who will plead our case with our Heavenly Father. The Bible says that Jesus intercedes for us, which means that he talks to God for us and pleads for the Father’s mercy. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and because of what he did we never have to worry that God will turn away from us in anger. Jesus pleads for us, and our Heavenly Father loves us and will always give us his mercy and forgiveness for Jesus’ sake.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for us and for pleading our case with our Heavenly Father. Amen.

Source:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/evil-may-day-1517-london-riots-over-foreigners-180963090/

A New Law Causes an Upheaval

Bible:

Then the king’s scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation to all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went out hurriedly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in Susa the citadel. And the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. Esther 3:12-15 ESV

Forever, O Lord, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
Your faithfulness endures to all generations;
you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
The wicked lie in wait to destroy me,
but I consider your testimonies.
I have seen a limit to all perfection,
but your commandment is exceedingly broad. Psalm 119:89-96 ESV

Reflection:

In old England, people lived in woods and wetlands and open grasslands and used the resources of the land to support themselves and their families. But when England was conquered by the Normans, who became their rulers, the laws changed drastically and suddenly. The first Norman king, William, loved to hunt, and he decreed that large areas of the forests and other land should be kept free for him to hunt and for the animals he hunted to feed. That meant that people who had small farms weren’t allowed to protect their crops from animals by putting fences around them. They weren’t allowed to collect fuel for their fires by gathering sticks or brush, or to cut down trees to build new houses. They weren’t allowed to hunt animals to feed their families. Some people were even put off their land to make room for the king to hunt, and many others were charged a fee for the use of the king’s land. The penalties for disobeying the Forest Laws were usually very harsh. These new laws caused confusion and suffering for many people in England.

The edict of King Ahasuerus to put all the Jews in the empire to death caused a terrible upheaval in the capital city of Susa, and it would have caused confusion and unrest throughout the kingdom as well. The command to put an entire group of people to death was an extremely drastic and shocking idea, and people felt fear and panic. King Ahasuerus had absolute power, and the law could not be changed. Some people would have felt glad and looked forward to having the chance to attack people that they hated and to take their property and money, but other people might have worried what the king would do next, and if anyone would be safe from his harsh decrees.

Laws can change, sometimes very quickly, and sometimes people are hurt by harsh or cruel changes in the law. But there is one law that will never change, and that is God’s law. His word is forever, and he is always faithful to his promises. We can count on the Lord to do what he said he would do for us, and his word to us isn’t death, but instead life. We deserve death because we have broken his holy law, but God sent us a word of life in Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the commands of the law for us, and he died on the cross to pay the penalty for the way we’ve broken the law. Jesus promises that everyone who believes in him will have life forever. We know that the Lord will always keep that promise, and that his love for us will never change.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your holy word and for your promise to give us life through Jesus, our Savior. In His Name, Amen.

Source:

http://www.sarahwoodbury.com/forest-laws/