Every man makes a god of his own desire.Virgil
Are you familiar with the story of the Wizard of Oz? If not, let me share what it is. Dorothy and her dog Toto got swept by a tornado from Kansas to the magical land of Oz. And the only way to return home is when the Wizard of Oz will help her. Dorothy met travelling companions that were also heading to the place where the wizard lives. They were the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion.
This crew were heading to the wizard to wish something from him. However, the wizard will only give them their requests if they will bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. This story shows the extent to which a person will do to get their wishes.
History to Understand the Word of God
Esther is the second book in the Bible named after a woman. The other book is the Book of Ruth. Further, Esther was a queen in Persia during the reign of Ahasuerus or Xerxes I. She was an orphan Jew, raised by her older cousin Mordecai. Likewise, the Hebrew name of Esther was Hadassah meaning “myrtle”. While her Persian name means “star”.
The author of the book of Esther is unknown. But most suggestions are pointing to either Mordecai, Ezra or Nehemiah. All of whom were present in the reign of Queen Esther (539 – 331 BC). The author shows knowledge of Persian customs, etiquette and history. And at the same time knew the Hebrew calendar and Jewish practices. Furthermore, the author also shows familiarity with the palace of Susa, the winter palace of King Ahasuerus.
Today’s devotional reading is from the Book of Esther 1:1-12. Please, read our recent devotional from the Book of Nehemiah 5:14-19: Is It Overrated To Be Selfless?
Acting according to one’s pleasure
The Book of Esther opens up with a feast hosted by King Ahasuerus of Persia (Esther 1:3-5). Their feasts lasted for 180 days (for the nobles and high-ranking officials) then extended to another seven days (for everyone in the winter palace). The descriptions of elaborate decorations were written in the following verses (Esther 1:6-7). Moreover, food and wine were abundant (Esther 1:7-8). Drinking wine was following their law at that time and was not compulsory, and that they should do according to every man’s pleasure (Esther 1:8).
Enjoyment is not a sin. But it is often intoxicating that we sometimes forget our morals when we are having too much fun. Our forms of entertainment should be studied. To determine if it is not going against the commands of God. Let us not be like the Tin Man who said, “I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.” Let us not forget that the best thing in the world is to serve joyfully the King of kings. May each one of us have their desires focused on strengthening our relationship with the Father through the Son.
Acting according to one’s liking
The story continued when everyone being under the influence of wine, even the king himself (Esther 1:10). Then the King Ahasuerus commanded his chamberlains to bring the queen to come and present herself wearing the royal crown to show off to the people in the feast (Esther 1:11). But the queen, Vashti, refused the command of the king (Esther 1:12). The reasons for refusal were not told but looking into the flow of the story, Queen Vashti might have followed what she wants to do during the feast.
This shows that if each one of us just follows what we want to do there will clashes between our preferences. As Calvin Coolidge once said, “Man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny.” We want our wishes to be followed. Moreover, these wishes are often selfish.
Let us restart our thinking and calibrate our heart’s desires. Additionally, we should pursue the knowledge of God and make Him the focus of everything you do or long for. Furthermore, Jim George describes these people as men and women after God’s own heart. These are people who “yearn to please God, a man who desires to grow spiritually, a man who had a heart that obeys.”
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
- How familiar are you with your pleasure?
- Do your desires drive your life?
- Where do your wishes point to?
- Do you act according to what you want?
- Is your heart obedient? And to whom is it obedient?
- Are you going to seek after Jesus? Accept Jesus Now.
- Let us know your story. We would love to know about your walk with Christ.
Heavenly Father, glory is yours now and forever. We thank you for your patience in us, despite times that we turn away from you. O Lord, Jesus, thank you for teaching us to put God in our hearts and to do things that are not based on what we want but on what pleases God.
Lord Jesus, Your example of obedience urges us to be also obedient to the Father. And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we know that we can follow your ways. May the Holy Spirit give us wisdom and understanding as we read your Word daily.
We pray in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.