Esther 8:1-10:3 ~ 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13 ~ Psalm 37:1-11 ~ Proverbs 21:23-24
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Old Testament - We wrap up the book of Esther today! Job begins tomorrow! Okay, somehow I forgot that the book of Esther ended with the Jewish holiday of Purim being instituted. A good FAQ from a Jewish website about Purim is at this link. In doing a google image search on Purim I quickly realized that folks dress up for this celebratory Jewish holiday! Below is a modern day Purim mask:
There is also a device called the Purim "gragger", which is a noisemaker. When the Purim story is read aloud from the book of Esther everyone boos and shakes their graggers whenever Haman's name is mentioned! (I'm not kidding - it sounds like fun to me! :) More on Purim graggers, including how you can make your own, is online here. Below is a picture of a gragger, and below that is a picture of a woman shaking a gragger at the sound of Haman's name being read during Purim!
New Testament - Today in First Corinthians chapter 13 we will read verses that you have likely heard many times at many weddings. It is the “Love” chapter of the Bible. This chapter goes way beyond just romantic or marital love – it gets at how we live our very lives each and every moment in relationship to all of creation. In verses 1 through 3 we read: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” How do these verses speak to you? Do you notice the juxtaposition of the concept of love and the concept of nothingness? Do you see that without love there is nothing? Do you believe that if we live our lives without love, we are nothing? Even if we have amazing spiritual gifts. Even if we have faith that can move mountains. Even if we give away all of our possessions to the poor. If we do not have love, we are nothing. We gain nothing. We give nothing. Do you see how important love is in our lives? Do you see that we must live each and every day from a starting point of love? Why do you suppose Paul spends this entire chapter telling us about the importance of love? Do you think that God is love and wants us to be love as well? I love (pun intended :) how this chapter ends: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Amen and amen.
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is at this link and "But The Greatest of All These..." is at this link. (this second commentary link focuses in on "agape" love and is phenomenal - please read!)
Psalms - Today we read Psalm 37, which is most definitely a Wisdom Psalm! It's like we are reading Proverbs! I love verse 5: "Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you." Do you commit everything you do to God? EVERYTHING? Your waking life? Your sleeping life? Your job? Your relationships? Your family? Your finances? Your time? If so, do you trust that God will help you in everything you do in your life? Do you believe what verse 4 teaches? "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires." I love that thought - take delight in God. Do you take delight in God each and every day? Do you believe that he will give you your heart’s desires? And for Psalm 37 verse 6 we have this lovely image below to meditate upon:
Proverbs - Proverbs 21 verse 23 today teaches us: "If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble." This Proverb is so wise that I will say no more! :)
Worship God: As we're reading one of the Love chapters of the Bible today, Rebecca St. James and Chris Tomlin's "Expressions of Your Love" seems appropriate! I love the lines in this song: "Jesus make me an expression of You. Expressions of your glory. Expressions of your heart. Expressions of your love!"
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture this week: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!