ESTHER 4:1-7:10 | 1 CORINTHIANS 12:1-26 | PSALM 36:1-12 | PROVERBS 21:21-22
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Esther is queen—a consort of Jewish origin—to the king of Persia, and as we continue with the story, it is to be seen how she might help her people who are on the verge of annihilation. This, thanks to Haman, an official in the king’s court who has had a royal decree issued to destroy and kill every Jew in the kingdom.
Mordecai is the beggar Jew who sits outside the gates of the palace, and is Esther’s cousin. And while it was he who was the cause for Haman’s ire on the Jews, it is again Mordecai who comes up with a rescue-plan. He tells Esther, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
And Esther is ready, willing, and able to do whatever she can. She comes up with a grand plan, and begins to put it into action. The king and Haman are invited to a banquet given by Queen Esther, not once, but two nights in a row. However, between these two banquets, in a strange twist of fate, Mordecai, the Jew, is honored by the king for a favor done to the royal house many years ago, and who else but Haman is chosen to administer the honor and recognition to Mordecai!
But Haman’s humiliation is not over; there is much worse coming to him. Soon all is revealed by Esther to the king, and the king wastes no time in having Haman impaled on the very pole that Haman had installed for what he believed would be used for Mordecai. And in this way, Esther saves the fate of her people.
Turning now to our reading in the book of I Corinthians, we find Paul addressing the topic of the varied gifts of the Spirit. We are endowed with different gifts, he reminds us, and it must not be expected that each one would have all of them.
Paul says, 7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Paul, however, does wish to emphasize that although each is unique in the gift that one possesses, there is unity in the diversity that is present because of the fact that the gifts are all received from the same source.
Next, we turn to the psalm for the day, and find in Psalm 36, a litany of praises offered by David, the psalmist. Using the analogies of nature, David likens the love and faithfulness of God to the many forces and beauties of nature. This is how David puts it:
5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
You, LORD, preserve both people and animals.
7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10 Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Last, but not least, we find two verses from the book of Proverbs which are strong food for thought:
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.
22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.