I got out my pen and paper to try and map out the relations of Joseph mentioned in this reading. I’m afraid that didn’t really help. I even turned to a commentary and decided that rather than get caught up in these details, I would look for the message to me. That’s always a good thing when we read God’s Word. If something doesn’t make sense, and the Spirit isn’t opening up any sort of revelation, pray for the message.
The message I’m taking away today is be twofold. Be careful what you ask God for and be grateful to God for what he gives you. I’m curious what spoke to you today? Let me explain what I am reflecting on today.
I wonder how old Joshua was when God said to him, “You are growing old, and much land remains to be conquered.” Just for fun, I googled: “how old was Joshua in the Battle of Jericho?” The answer came back that he was 101 years old. Whether I trust google or not, one of the commentaries I read placed Joshua at between 90 and 100 when this conversation with God took place. He was not a young man to be sure.
If you’ve ever used the excuse, “I’m too old” when it comes to doing something fun or unusual, I don’t think we have any business doing that. Think of what Joshua accomplished in conquering the land at his age. Now, we hear there is even more land. From the sounds of it, God is going to take care of those other areas. “I myself will drive these people out of the land ahead of the Israelites.”
Have you ever asked God for something and wondered how he’d answer your prayer? That’s probably a pretty silly question! We have all done that, haven’t we? Isn’t it great to know we can have the assurance he will answer, even if it’s not in the way we would like. We read King Hezekiah’s prayer in our last reading. You’ll recall he was fearful of King Sennacherib, the king of Assyria. Today we see God’s response.
What strikes you most about this message from God? I loved God’s attitude. “Whom have you been defying and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look with such haughty eyes? It was the Holy One of Israel!” God was making it clear to Hezekiah that not only was he aware of what lies the Assyrians were telling, but that he wasn’t impressed by their actions at all. We’ve read about how God has used the Assyrians to destroy the land, but the Assyrians have taken their victory a bit far. They are pounding their chest as if it is their might and not God’s.
What a roller coaster of emotions. As we spend quiet time together today it’s time to really focus in on Jesus’ final hours with his friends, those closest to him. Jesus knew all along this day was coming, yet now that it is here there was so much to say. His disciples still didn’t seem to understand fully the importance of what was about to unfold. We can see clearly, yet do we still grasp what is happening? We’ve read the words, but what is happening in our hearts?
Each of these passages reveals something we can hold on to as we journey through our own dark night. There are beautiful promises. How often have we questioned something happening our lives, in our world? Jesus’ words in John, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” Like Thomas, we’re still not sure, we want more assurance, more information. Jesus calms our fears when he says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus is our answer. When the tempests of life try to overwhelm us, we need only rest in these words. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who does know. Now we can find peace in the Father.
The time for the second banquet has arrived. Since Queen Esther had such success with the first one, she now had a little more boldness. Yet, her ask was still with the utmost respect. Again, the king says, “I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
What was Queen Esther’s request? That her people’s lives be spared from annihilation. The king didn’t seem to skip a beat wondering who “her people” were. His mind went right to the place of someone harming her, his beloved wife. The king demanded to know who would do such a thing.