Inherent and Intrinsic- Esther 3

Yesterday we saw the providence of God, and today the story continues. If you haven’t read Esther 3 recently, you can do so here.

After his assasination plot is foiled (2.21-23), the King appoints what looks like a Prime Minister (v.1), and Haman the Agagite seems to be enjoying this new-found power and respect. The Agagites were historical enemies of God’s people (Exodus 17.14-16), and this may explain why Mordecai was reluctant to bow down or pay homage. Haman obviously didn’t like this, and sought to destroy all the Jews. He engineers a situation wherein the King probably doesn’t realise who or what Haman is talking about (vv.8-11). The Jews in all the land were, essentially, given prior warning of their impending death sentence (vv.13-15), and Haman cosied up to the King as all this took place (v.15b).

The de-humanising of people has been a perennial problem that is often the pre-cursor to terrible atrocities. Here Haman refers to God’s people, people made in the image of God, lives with inherent and intrinsic worth and value, as a certain people, …their laws…, it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate themthe peopledo with them

This way of thinking leads, inevitably, to conflict, loss of life, slavery, oppression, and generally nothing positive. How grateful we are that Jesus made the very important point that human life is of infinite value, regardless of national origin, culture, language, or tradition in Luke 10.25-37. Paul writes very explicitly that we are all one in Christ Jesus, regardless of things that may differentiate between us in an earthly sense (Galatians 3.28). Simply, there is more to unite us than divide us.

Today, let us see those around us as humans made in the image of God, lives with inherent and intrinsic value and dignity, people loved by the Lord and redeemed at such a high price, and those that God wishes to reach with His love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace…through you.

2 Timothy 4.14-22 – Last Words

Written whilst in prison awaiting death, the letter we know as Timothy is generally held to be the last that Paul wrote. Here, he signs off in typical fashion.

14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Paul warns his younger protege about particularly dangerous people who may cross his path (v.14), displays staggering spiritual maturity (v.16), and shows that as he neared the end of his life he knew from where his help came (vv.17-18, cf. Psalm 121). Even with death so close, even with his surroundings so dire, Paul still has a heart for people and desperately wants to see his friend one more time (vv.20-21). 

On the last words that Paul wrote, David Guzik comments,

The last words of Paul reflect a man who simply loved Jesus and had received His grace.

This simplicity, and all the power that went with it, marked the entire ministry of Paul.

Is that something that could be said of us?

Are we people who simply love Jesus and have received His grace?

Does this mark our lives? 

Paul was held here, in the Mamertine Prison, amid bleak and dreary surroundings.

Mamertine+Prison+ancient+cell+of+Paul’s+imprisonment

Despite this, he still had a heart for others and a steadfast and sure anchor to hold on to, the eternal hope found in Jesus. The last words he wrote to Timothy, possibly ever, show us the heart of the man, and the heart to which we must strive today.

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Spiritual Depression – That One Sin – 1 Timothy 1.15-16

Lloyd-Jones makes an interesting point when saying that if all the Christian life entailed was accepting salvation and going to heaven then the New Testament letters would never have been needed, and there would be no real need for the church.

His point is that we all struggle with life and will continue to struggle with life regardless of whether we have professed Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Being a believer is no guarantee that life will be smooth sailing.

He goes on to say that if you have never had trouble in your life, never battled through anything, are you really a believer? His point is that upon becoming a Christian, there will be things in our lives that we want to let go of, get rid of, or just plain run away from.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

1 Timothy 1.15-16

There will be things we all want to get rid of in our lives, some may take more time than others and this is ok. We know from the full counsel of Scripture that the forgiveness that Jesus offers is total and complete, and it is in this truth that we need to rest. 


Maybe there is something in your life that you look back on and cannot understand how you could be forgiven for.


This one sin can really get people down. They look at the testimony of others and say ‘Praise God, what a transformation!‘, but struggle to understand that they are also forgiven from all of their past. 

When we differentiate between sin (this one is worse than that one), we fail to take God at His Word. We fail to understand that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, including the one sin that you feel you will never be forgiven. 

When an angel appeared to Joseph to reassure him he said this,

…“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1.20-21

The shed blood of Jesus covers all sins, and you are completely forgiven. The angel didn’t say “…he will save his people from some sin, but not that one sin you committed…”

Lloyd-Jones summarises well, and this is a great thought for us to take into today,

“You and I must never look at our past lives; we must never look at any sin in our past life in any way except that which leads us to praise God and to magnify His grace in Christ Jesus. I challenge you to do that. If you look at your past and are depressed by it, if as a result you are feeling miserable as a Christian, you must do what Paul did…He glories in grace and says the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 10.1-18 – Never, Never, Forever

Forgiveness costs somebody something, somebody absorbs the offence to offer forgiveness.

Jesus’ sacrifice was God’s final answer to the universal problem of human sin, and is the only way to be forever forgiven. He absorbed the offence for you.

The New Covenant that Jesus died to initiate has to do with an inner transformation. God changes the heart of man, and writes His law into our hearts. This is a deeper remedy than the blood of bulls and goats, this cleanses our conscience, this is a new birth of a new creation, this is real and true and lasting forgiveness.

Jesus offers you complete forgiveness,

you are forever forgiven. 

The forgiveness is so complete that God says He will never call to mind our sin, and when God says something, it happens.

I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.

Hebrews 10.17

For us, we’ve go to do with sin exactly what God has done: forget about it.

We need to recognise it, admit we have sinned, realise it, realise that alone we can never cancel out that record, repent of it, turn away from it, and receive it, accept the forgiveness on offer. Acknowledge it, as God did in sending Christ, but have it dealt with and leave it unthought of.

Sin removes us from God and His presence,

forgiveness rejoins us. 

God sees you as positionally perfect, nothing to add to make you good enough in His eyes, He looks at you and sees the righteousness of Christ, God looks at us and He sees forgiven sinners, He sees you as perfect because there is nothing left to add in terms of forgiveness and reconciliation. 

So, where do we stand? We stand forgiven in His eyes with a repentant faith in Jesus.

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This devotional was part of a message given at Saar Fellowship, hear it in full at saarfellowship.com

Amos 5.1-5 – Seek me and live

Today God through Amos takes up a passionate expression of grief, He expresses sorrow with emotion over His people’s consistent and persistent decision not to turn to Him.

How frustrating must this be for our loving heavenly Father to have His people consistently and persistently turn away from Him and ignore His guidance, laws, and loving, corrective discipline.

Think how bad you feel when after warning and warning and warning your children not to do something because these are the consequences, you need to follow through on them. You do it because you love them, because you know what is best for them in a way they don’t, but you still don’t enjoy doing it…but how you wish they had just come to you and listened!

1 Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:

2 “Fallen, no more to rise, is the virgin Israel;

forsaken on her land, with none to raise her up.”

3 For thus says the Lord GOD:

“The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”

4 For thus says the LORD to the house of Israel:

“Seek me and live;

5 but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba;

for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.”

The point then; seek God and live.

Seek God and live.

We should not not seek to give worship or do spiritual things on our own terms, in our own way…we are to do it on His terms and His way. Things that we do that we think are pleasing to the Lord that contradict His Word, His will, and His way are not actually pleasing to Him. Case in point; do not seek Bethel, and do not enter Gilgal. Places set up by man to worship when God had told them to worship elsewhere.

We are now past certain places being holier than others; God lives in us through the indwelling Holy Spirit and the church is, literally, the gathering of believers. But, what we do when there, when gathered with other believers, is important, and what we do each and every day is important;

Do we seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength?

Do we seek the Lord in order to live the life He wants us to?

Do we seek the Lord’s guidance and grace on a daily basis?

Do we seek to worship God because He deserves it or because it makes us feel good?

Do we seek the Lord at all?

God’s Word to us is really clear; seek the Lord and live. That is a great point to start with today…seek the Lord.

Seek His guidance, seek to glorify Him through your actions and reactions (even if you are driving, no, especially when you are driving here!).

If we combine the principles at hand in Matthew 7.7, 2 Chronicles 7.14, and Amos 4.4 we see this, a true and genuine encouragement;

If we pray, seek God, turn from our former sinful ways and seek God, we will find Him, and we will live.

What a great encouragement for us today…too good to just keep for ourselves, isn’t it…