Gifts To The Poor

Gifts To The Poor By Kirk Hunt

To establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar,   as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.

Esther 9:21–22 NKJV

The Jewish holiday of Purim is a time of joy and celebration.  Haman’s conspiracy was thwarted and Mordecai personally promoted by King Ahasuerus.  Yet, in all of the feasting and festivity, gifts to the poor were intended to be a part of Purim.

Too often those who are doing well give no thought about those who are struggling.  You may not be able to erase all of their suffering or difficulty, but you can share your joy.  Joy and celebration is not a zero-sum game.  You and they can win, simultaneously.

Were the poor at risk from Haman’s plot?  Yes, just like wealthier folk.  Life and liberty are precious commodities, regardless of your income level.  Was their salvation from Haman’s conspiracy any less precious?  Not one iota less than other folk.

Consider the things you enjoy, the privileges you experience, and the benefits you receive.  Is it really so difficult or onerous to share from all that God has provided to you?  After all, sharing increases joy in the world.

God has blessed you.  Consider how you can pass His blessings on to others, as Jesus commanded.  Give your gifts, especially to those less fortunate.  Joy, divided and distributed, gets larger, not smaller.

Think:        I can share my joy, especially with those who are less fortunate.

Pray:           “Lord, help me to remember to bless others in Your Name.”

 

Copyright © July 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press.  You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Fallout On Sons And Others

Fallout On Sons And Others By Kirk Hunt

So the king commanded this to be done; the decree was issued in Shushan, and they hanged Haman’s ten sons.

Esther 9:14 NKJV

What you do impacts others. What you allow to continue impacts others. Far too often, the fallout of acts of omission or commission falls on our own sons and daughters. Just ask Haman.

Haman’s conspiracy to destroy the Jews ended in the death of his own sons. His plot to loot the wealth of others ended with the plundering of himself and his family. Haman’s cruel, vindictive, destructive strategy was executed on his own family.

God’s people are called to justice and mercy; blessing of friend and foe. Do not limit the implications of Galatians 6:7. What you do, and what you do not do, are seeds you sow. Your harvest is coming.

Mordecai took in an orphan in kindness, mercy and generosity. He reaped a queen who stood for her people when it counted. Haman hatched a murderous conspiracy of genocide. He harvested destruction for himself and his family.

Consider what you are doing or allowing to be done in your name. You are planting a harvest. Scripture promises you will receive what you sow.

Pastor Martin Niemöller would plead with you not to stand by as others do wrong. He would implore you to safeguard others, as your own. Of course, his experiences in the Dachau Concentration Camp probably colored his opinions.

If you are a Christian, then Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan should give you pause in this era of fear and hatred of others. Listen to the testimony of Pastor Niemöller. Read carefully the example of Haman.

Think: Do I extend God’s help and goodness to others?

Pray: “Lord, help me to bless and benefit everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © July 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

When Bullies Are Pleading

When Bullies Are Pleading By Kirk Hunt

Then the king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden; but Haman stood before Queen Esther, pleading for his life, for he saw that evil was determined against him by the king.

Esther 7:7 NKJV

That morning, Haman mercilessly plotted genocide against the Jews because of Mordecai’s offense. That evening he was pleading for understanding, mercy and forgiveness for his own conspiracy. A typical bully, Haman could not feel for others until he faced his own reckoning.

All too often, men and women, like bullies, withhold mercy or consideration for others. Yet, when they or theirs encounter (even a little) difficulty, they expect everyone to rally to their aid and defense. They shamelessly ask, or demand, that exceptions be made to the rules they themselves set.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Jesus’ commandment to us, often called the “golden rule,” is not difficult to understand or follow. The problem is our inner bully; the all-too-human lust for power over others. Haman should have considered such things before he started bullying Mordecai and the Jews of Persia.

Knowing Ahasuerus’ rage, Haman cast about desperately for a protector and advocate. His best chance lay with Esther, a Jew and Mordecai’s adoptive daughter. The math is clearly not in Haman’s favor.

Haman’s murderous plot had reversed on him. His cruel, merciless conspiracy against the Jews had been exposed. Revealed as a bully, Haman begged like a wind for his life. Would you need to plead for mercy if your circumstances were reversed?

Think: Do I extend God’s kindness and mercy to others?

Pray: “Lord, help me extend Your grace and mercy to everyone around me.”

 

Copyright © July 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.

Building To Destroy

Building To Destroy By Kirk Hunt

But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.

Esther 3:6 NKJV

Based on an offense from one man, Haman sought to destroy an entire people. His reaction is retaliation on a massive, disproportionate scale. Vengeance is a blood-thirsty type of lust. Haman was not the first man or woman to seek vengeance. Unfortunately, he is clearly not the last.

Consider the men and women around you. There is a very good chance that someone you know personally is vindictive and unforgiving. Do not be fooled because their eyes do not glow red, nor do they froth at the mouth. Vengeful is as vengeful does.

Haman spent time, treasure and talent on trying to destroy Mordecai and the Jews. Haman could have focused on the duties of his office. Haman could have indulged in the privileges of his high rank. Instead he directed his mind to sinister and cruel thoughts.

Vengeance is not noble, strong or clever. Wise men and women seek righteous outcomes and avoid inflicting casualties, even on enemies. As a man or woman of God, avoid the all too human lust to inflict vengeance on those who offend you.

Haman could have sanctioned Mordecai alone. Instead, his lust for blood and dominance demanded no less than a gallows (Esther 5:14). Even now, I flinch at the overreaction.

Haman had rank and privilege, wealth and fame. Yet his lust for power and dominance ruled him. What rules you?

Think: Godly men and women flee thoughts of vengeance.

Pray: “Lord, guide my thoughts in paths worthy of You.”

Copyright © July 2017, Kirk Hunt

This devotional is brought to you courtesy of CadreMen Press. You can purchase a copy of Blessed and Blessing: Devotionals For Gospel Champions from your favorite bookseller or directly from CadreMen Press.