Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I had a conversation with my friend (and neighbor!) Heidi Smith beginning at about 12:30 this afternoon.  I see it as more evidence of God in our midst.  Heidi used to work at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp.  I'll be heading down there either tonight or first thing tomorrow morning.  My wife and sons are there now.  The speaker at camp this week is Tim Hatt from Hosanna Lutheran Church in Lakeville. Looking forward to being there and hearing Tim and spending time with our friends and partners in ministry, Joel and Wendy Bethelsen.

I'm continually awed by how God works.  This conversation came via facebook messages.  (I'm taking time off from the facebook "wall" scene but still get messages.  After getting this today, I'm so glad I made that choice!)  The conversation involves the book of Esther.  I've been drawn to that book more than once in recent months.  I don't think Heidi knew that.  Again, I'm awed.

Her first comment about "listening" connects with the word "listening" that I wrote on my facebook wall last night before I decided to take a week break from that.  I wrote "listening" because it was clear at the time that God was calling me to do just that.

Here's the conversation.
  • Heidi: I just started to read Esther again. I am going through the Chuck Swindoll study on it. Great listening book of the Bible. :) I need to be reminded to LISTEN a lot. Praying for you guys. Hear well. 
  • Steve: Hey Heidi. I would love to see that study of Esther. We are studying Esther on Saturday mornings at our men's Bible study. I think of Esther as a book of Courage. How is it a "listening" book? 
  • Heidi: I guess according to Heidi, how I see it as a listening book...
        I think the Esther had to learn to listen. First she had to listen to Mordecai and obey him as her parent since her parents were no longer alive and he raised her. I think for any youth to have to listen to an adult at times can be a challenge, but in this case it wasn't even her parents raising her. She had to learn and listen to him and by doing this she built and developed a trusting relationship with him.
        Secondly she had to listen to Mordecai in not sharing that she was a Jew with anyone. I think she had to listen not only to Mordecai, but God as to when and how she would tell the king that she was a Jew.
        I also believe that Esther when she took her her maids and had them fasting a praying she had to be listening to God's calling, timing and planning or it would not have come out the way it did. She obviously in my mind had a strong relationship with God and knew that to have His hand on the situation prayer was the way. She knew that she was up against great odds.
        From what I see with Esther to have the kind of characteristics she has I think one has to listen, otherwise we go on our own knowledge and understand and can really mess things up.
        I always think it is interesting to hear people comment on the Book of Esther and how it doesn't specifically mention the name of God, but His hand is all over it.
        Let me know when you want to look at the book. I also have Beth Moore's study on Esther that is pretty interesting. I did that study last summer. 
  • Steve: Heidi that is totally excellent! Can I quote you on my blog? 
  • Heidi: Yep! You might want to spell check me though. ;)  ...  I won't be using the Swindoll book till mid morning tomorrow and as far as the Beth one you are free to look at that for a longer time. Just let me know. 
  • Steve: Thank you so much, Heidi -- I'll give you a call. I'd love to borrow the Beth Moore study now since I'm going to be gone for a a couple days at Okoboji! Thanks again!
I have thought of Esther as a book of courage.  That's true.  She stood up to the king and saved her people.  But, first, she listened.  Because she listened, God acted to save her people.  Because she listened to God, God used her mightily in the process of freedom and a new beginning for the oppressed.

Read the book of Esther.  Read it in a translation like The Message so it's easy to understand -- here's a link to the book in that version.  If you click that link, you'll go to a website where you can read the first chapter of Esther--then you'll need to look for how to move to the next chapter, etc.  It's not that long--only ten chapters.

In Esther God works powerfully to do the impossible!  In Esther a young lady does God's Work in a way that can only be seen though the eyes of faith.

But it all begins with listening.  Thanks, sister Heidi, for pointing that out!

I pray, in Jesus' name, that you and I would also listen for and hear the voice of God -- the voice of God that comes first through the Word of God become flesh, Jesus Christ, and then through every part of the Bible, including in the book of Esther, where God is working behind the scenes -- in the spiritual realms -- in what we've called The Third Floor.

No comments:

Post a Comment