Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“He leads the humble in what is right; and the humble He teaches His way. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and steadfast love, even truth and faithfulness are they for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
“Give me, O Lord, a heart of grace,
A voice of joy, a shining face,
That I may show wherever I turn
Thy love within my soul doth burn!
A tenderness for all that stray,
With strength to help them on the way
A cheerfulness, a heavenly mirth,
Brightening my steps along the earth.”
“My life is so strangely free from all trial and trouble, that I cannot doubt my own happiness is one of the talents entrusted to me to ‘occupy’ with, till the Master shall return, by doing something to make other lives happy.”
Charles L. Dodgson
“Those who love God are encompassed with gladness on every side, because in every passing moment they see and feel a Father’s love, and nothing of this world can take it away or lessen it.”
H. L. Sidney Lear
Today’s Study Text:
“Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, ‘Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed.”
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“An Ode to Duty” Part 27
“I looked to God with great earnestness day after day, to be directed; asking Him to show me the path of duty, and give me grace to ride out the storm.”
Memoirs of Reverend Charles G. Finney
How would I define the word “duty”?
What do I think it means to “do the duty God has given me”?
“No man (or woman) can tell what duty rightly discharged may issue in the most far-reaching and God-glorifying results.”
The Savior in the Workshop
“Be it yours…to glorify God in the sphere in which He has placed you, by the diligent discharge of all your every-day duties.”
The Savior in the Workshop
Definition of the word “duty”: “An act or a course of action required of one by position, custom, law or religion”…“A moral obligation.”
“Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with life.”
He’s one of my favorite poets, William Wordsworth. And it is from his well-known poem “Ode to Duty” that the title of today’s “Inspiration” is taken. Interestingly down through time, a number of writers of both prose and poetry alike, have sought to make the word “duty” sound like an obligation laid upon humanity which makes the bearer of the burden heavy-laden with a requirement that overwhelms.
Indeed, in today’s “Study Text” we find that just as Esther gave a commandment which was to be delivered to her cousin Mordecai by King Ahasuerus’ chamberlain Hathach, so Mordecai “commanded to answer Esther” or as the Hebrew translation enlightens us, he “challenged Esther” by informing her that if her desire was to try and get out of her duty, there would be substantial consequences to pay. As Mordecai stated in no uncertain terms, “Esther, if you keep your peace and make the choice not to speak at this critical moment in time, don’t think you’ll get off easy.” And then the King James Version of the Bible uses two specific words to help us better understand the critical situation Esther and all the Jews in Medo-Persia found themselves in. As Mordecai emphatically states: “then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place” (Esther 4: 14, K.J.V.).
So that I could more clearly understand the point Mordecai was making, I again returned to my well-worn Hebrew dictionary which gave me this perspective: God would give His children, the Jews, “ample breathing room’ to be ‘refreshed’ for He would ‘rescue’ them, in fact, He would ‘pluck them out of trouble.’” The Hebrew definitions of the words “enlargement” and “deliverance” give us such a beautiful picture of our heavenly Father’s love which comes to our “rescue” by providing us with the “space we need to refresh our lives” when unexpected trouble cramps us in on all sides.
Mordecai wasn’t threatening his young cousin. Instead, he was reassuring her that if she chose to let someone else speak up on behalf of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that God would not be without any other options. I have to tell you that it gives me such great encouragement when I realize that my gracious Father in heaven isn’t limited during any crisis with just one solution. Whether in the world or in your life or mine!
Never forget that our heavenly Father’s hands aren’t tied down by earthly results, to earthly problems. Mordecai wanted Esther to understand that as “boxed-in” as things seemed – even though it appeared in “Haman’s world” that he had the “winning hand,” God was still in control.
Right now, events on planet earth appear to be very confusing, even a mess. Just ask world leaders around the globe. Who knows what will happen next? I don’t! But my Father does. And that makes all the difference in your world and mine. As Mordecai told Esther, “Enlargement and deliverance will arise for our Father has His hand over His children. Now is our time to do our duty and stand firm in our Father’s everlasting love. In words attributed to Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
“The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
Whose deeds, both great and small,
Are close-knit strands of unbroken thread
Where love enables all.
The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells;
The book of life the shining record tells.”
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
“Lord, give me grace
to follow Your example.
Create in me the desire and will
to put the needs of others before my own.
Take me and all I have;
do with me whatever You will;
send me wherever You will;
use me as You will,
I surrender myself
and all I possess
absolutely and entirely,
unconditionally and for ever
to Your control.”
You pour out Your life for us,
You pour out Your life in us,
You pour out Your life through us,
Help us to pass it on.”
Brian Lewis Pearce
Ode To Duty
“Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring and reprove;
Thou who art victory and law
When emply terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calmest the weary strife of frail humanity!
…Serene will be our days, and bright
And happy will our nature be,
When love is an unerring light,
And joy its own security;
And they a blissful course may hold
Even now, who, not unwisely bold,
Live in the spirit of this creed;
Yet seek thy firm support according
to their need…
To humbler functions, awful Power!
I call thee; I myself commend
Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh, let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give;
And in the light of truth by bondman
let me live.”
William Wordsworth, Poet
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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