Bread – Certainty

September 24, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, September 24, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Esther 6:1-14; Acts 19:1-10; Luke 4:1-13; Psalms 81,82,119:97-120

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We may feel that our lives are uncertain, resting on a sea of doubt, but God tells us in many, many ways that life in Him and with Him is built on a rock, is certain.

We have three examples of this today in our readings from God’s Word.

The first certainty is that, when God acts, the outcome is certain – He wins. We see this in between the lines today in Esther. In Esther, Haman has set out to destroy Mordecai, the Jewish elder in the Assyrian kingdom. In a reversal of positions caused by the king’s realization that Mordecai should be blessed combined with Haman’s narcissistic selfishness, in a reversal of circumstances fit for the movie screen, instead of Mordecai being hanged, Mordecai is honored in an over-the-top way. After this set-back, Haman goes home and starts complaining. In response, his wise men and his wife said to him “If Mordecai, before whom you have begun to fall, is of the Jewish people, you will not overcome him but will surely fall before him.” Esther 6:13b To put a theological twist on it, if you oppose the person whom God has blessed, you lost already. When God acts, He and His people win.

The second certainty is that God’s purpose will be achieved and you will be re-purposed according to His plans and not yours. We see this in Acts today, where Paul enters into Ephesus and essentially takes up residence there, speaking boldly in the synagogue and, when that was thwarted by evildoers, in the secular hall. Paul’s purpose was to preach in the synagogue; God made sure that, after a while, this venue was unavailable to him; therefore, he went somewhere else. The reason for this was “…so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” Acts 19:10

The third certainty is that Satan opposes everyone, but that, in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, man can oppose him successfully. This conclusion comes from our reading today in Luke, where Jesus is tempted three times by Satan in the wilderness, first with an attempt to reach Jesus at His base needs level (food), second with an attempt to appeal to His ego (authority), and third with an attempt to appeal to His position in life (Lord of the angels). We say “of course He did that, He is God.” But He was also man and there was a necessary component of Jesus’ ability as man to resist Satan, and that was that Jesus was, at the time, “full of the Spirit.” Luke 4:1. If Satan opposed Jesus, he will oppose us. But Jesus as man gave us the certain tool of resistance, the Holy Spirit (together with a knowledge of God’s Word as our standard of living).

God overcomes circumstances (Esther), opposition (Acts), and treachery (Luke) with absolute certainty. He invites us to do likewise, joining Him through the cross in the fellowship of the Father (Esther), the Son (Acts), and the Holy Spirit (Luke).

With the Father, Son, and Holy Spirt we may live our lives in absolute certainty. Without them, absolute uncertainty.

Boring, you might say, living with certainty all your life. Really? What was boring about the life of Mordecai, Paul, or even Jesus? Mordecai was constantly threatened with death and exclusion, Paul was constantly threatened with expulsion and exclusion, Jesus was constantly threatened with ridicule, exclusion, and death. What was unexciting about their lives?

The truth is that certainty in Christ is a great adventure whereas uncertainty in the world is a drudge.

Our Scripture readings today ended well, but by the world’s standards they could have ended poorly. Mordecai could have been hanged and Paul could have been stoned. If those things had happened, many people would have been inclined to say “see, their faith got them no-where.” But the problem with that is that the certainty which surrounds God would still exist. When God acts, He wins. His purposes will be achieved. Satan may oppose Him, but He always overcomes.

And you can take that to the bank, with certainty.

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© 2014 GBF

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