Bible Study for May 27: Keep Standing

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John Yarbrough, director of Alumni Affairs and Public Policy
Truett McConnell University

Esther 8:18, 9:20-23

I love happy endings. My wife had me watch the movie “Steel Magnolias.” When we reached the end of the movie the happy ending wasn’t there. In the end the star dies and the movie ends.

I had the same experience with the Broadway play “Miss Saigon.” She dies in the end. I walked out of both events without a smile and rather disappointed.

The book of Esther is not that way. When I get to the end of Esther I see the good guys win. The celebration of God’s provision begins and they all live happily ever after. I find myself celebrating God’s victory with them and I end my study with a smile on my face.

However, what if Esther had settled for a small victory along the way? What if she had stopped short of the total victory of the safety of the Jewish people? After all Haman was dead, she had received his estate, Mordecai had received the King’s favor and his signet ring. Isn’t that enough?

The great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Too often we stop short of a miracle, short of deliverance, short of success. We must endure. Esther could have stopped short of the goal. Yet, she knew that her people’s safety was the goal, not her personal position or possessions.

Esther and Mordecai had been blessed. They had won a battle, but the war was still going. Esther had to see beyond herself; she was living for others.

God raised her platform and influence for a purpose. She was positioned with the king to have even more influence and Mordecai had moved from the gates of the palace to a position of influence.

They were not positioned for their comfort, but for the deliverance of the Jews. Esther could now speak to the king from a position of trust and honor. Mordecai could now carry out the kings’ decree to deliver to the Jewish people. Honor comes to those worthy of being honored.

How has God positioned you to accomplish His will for you? Have you seen a victory or settled for your own comfort? Do you live for others? Do you see a war to be won?

The saying “vigilance is the price of liberty” has been attributed to many great people from history. We must be vigilant, never stop to observe what happens, and to seize every opportunity to advance the battle lines.

The story of Esther ends with a great celebration and the establishment of the festival of Purim as a continual reminder of the deliverance of the Jewish people. They were to have a feast and “give gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor.” They knew they had been delivered and that God had blessed His people.

Amid our battles, we need to learn to celebrate the victories and rejoice in what God does. Often, we have come to except a win as a desired victory, rather than an undeserved blessing.

Stop and celebrate what the Lord has done. Christmas is a celebration, Easter is a celebration. Birthdays and anniversaries are celebrations. These are all opportunities to reflect on the grace of God – the victories won and opportunities given.

Despite being an 18-time All-Star and 13-time World Series champion, former Yankee great Yogi Berra is just as well remembered for his sayings. @yankees/Twitter

God is not mentioned by name in Esther, nor is prayer. Yet, the fasting and feasting indicate the God factor. God is at work even when we ignore Him or presume upon Him.

Esther is the story of God positioning, God blessing, God providing, God delivering and God having a purpose for each of us to accomplish.

The day in which we live has its battles. The war is not over. We must not rest on past or present victories, but rather celebrate God’s blessing and continue to stand until that final victory.

You see, I still like happy endings. I read the last chapter of history. He wins and allows us to enjoy the victory with him.

Remember, “It ain’t over ‘til it is over.”

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