May 11, 2016
READ: Esther 1:1-22
Everything comes from [God] and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen (Romans 11:36).
Good things can happen when we experience awe. In 2015, research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology revealed that goose bump-eliciting awe helps people move from self-interest to deeper awareness of others and their concerns. In essence, awe leads to blessing!
The way God works to bless us and perform His perfect plans, something called providence, causes me to stand in awe of Him. Just consider how He quietly, invisibly directed events in the book of Esther to lead and protect His people. In chapter 1, the Persian king Xerxes, full of himself and probably way too many cups of wine (vv.8,10), made the decision to banish his beautiful wife Vashti because she wouldn’t come to his drunken affair and be ogled by his cronies (vv.11-12,19-21).
Xerxes’ decision put into motion a series of events that included a young woman named Esther being added to his harem. Esther, a Jew, melted the king’s heart with her beauty and character, causing him to fall deeply in love with her (2:17). Later, because of her influence on Xerxes, Esther was used by God to keep His people from genocide (8:5-16).
A summary of the story might look like this: Drunken king cuts ties with queen, falls in love with new queen—a Jew. Haman hates the Jews and gets the king to sign an edict to terminate them. Esther convinces the king that Haman and his plans are bad news, causing the king to terminate him instead while the Jews go on to enjoy honour and prosperity.
The same awe-inspiring One who directed those events still presides over all things today (Romans 11:36). May we stand in awe of God and His providential ways—blessing Him and others He brings to us!
365-day plan: Job 42:1-27
Read Psalm 47:2 and consider why God is so awe-inspiring.
Where and when do you find yourself most in awe of God? How can being in awe of Him lead you to be a blessing to others?