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Day 278 – Power in Weakness

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about idolatry again in the Divided Kingdom. Remember the people of Israel who had been brought into the covenant with the Lord, quickly turned their backs to him and worship local gods and idols. As they sign on to the new covenant with the Lord, they have to choose to abandon the worship of foreign gods.

Esther comes into the presence of King Ahasuerus. Her courage and her faith in the Lord brought her into this place. When the king becomes angry at her presence, she falters and collapses. The Lord changes the king’s anger into gentleness and takes her into his arms. It is not Esther’s strength or beauty that melts Ahasuerus’ heart — her weakness does. We often think we have to be perfect and strong but we forget that God works in and through our weakness.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Nehemiah 10

1 In view of all this we make a firm agreement, in writing. Our princes, our Levites, our priests and the rest of the people have put their names to the document under seal.

2 On the sealed document were the names of: Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah;

3 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah,

4 Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah,

5 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch,

6 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah,

7 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,

8 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin,

9 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests.

10 The Levites were: Jeshua son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel,

11 and their kinsmen Shebaniah, Hodaviah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan,

12 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah,

13 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah,

14 Hodiah, Bani, Chenani.

15 The leaders of the people were: Parosh, Pahath-Moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani,

16 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai,

17 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin,

18 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur,

19 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai,

20 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai,

21 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir,

22 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua,

23 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah,

24 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub,

25 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek,

26 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah,

27 Ahijah, Hanan, Anan,

28 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.

29 And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple slaves and all those who had severed relations with the people of the country to adhere to the law of God, as also their wives, their sons, their daughters, that is, all those who had reached the age of discretion, 

30 have joined their esteemed brothers in a solemn oath to follow the law of God given through Moses, servant of God, and to observe and practise all the commandments of Yahweh our Lord, with his rules and his statutes.

31 We will not give our daughters in marriage to the peoples of the country, nor allow their daughters to marry our sons.

32 If the people of the country bring goods or foodstuff of any kind to sell on the Sabbath day, we will buy nothing from them on Sabbathor holy day. In the seventh year, we will forgo the produce of the soil and the exaction of all debts.

33 We recognise the following obligations: to give one-third of a shekel yearly for the service of the Temple of our God:

34 for the loaves of permanent offering, for the perpetual oblation, for the perpetual burnt offering, for the sacrifices on Sabbaths, on New Moons and on festivals, for the consecrated gifts, the sin offerings to expiate for Israel, in short, for the whole work of the Temple of our God;

35 Furthermore, as regards deliveries of wood for burning on the altar of our God as the law prescribes, we have arranged, by drawing lots, how these deliveries are to be made at the Temple of our God by the priests, the Levites and the people by families, at stated times every year.

36 and further, to bring yearly to the Temple of our God the first-fruits of our soil and the first-fruits of all our orchards,

37 also the first-born of our sons and of our cattle, as the law prescribes, the first-born of our herds and flocks should be taken to the Temple of our God for the priests officiating in the Temple of our God.

38 Furthermore, we shall bring the best of our dough, of every kind of fruit, of the new wine and of the oil to the priests, to the storerooms of the Temple of our God, and the tithe on our soil to the Levites — the Levites will themselves collect the tithes from all the towns of our religion.

39 An Aaronite priest will accompany the Levites when they collect the tithes, and the Levites will bring a tenth part

40 a,b of the tithes to the Temple of our God, into the treasury storerooms; for these rooms are where the Israelites and the Levites are to bring the contributions of corn, wine and oil, and where the vessels of the sanctuary are, and the officiating priests, the gatekeepers and the singers.

Esther 6

1 That night the king could not sleep; he called for the Record Book, or Annals, to be brought and read to him.

2 They contained an account of how Mordecai had denounced Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs serving as Guards of the Threshold, who had plotted to assassinate King Ahasuerus.

3 ‘And what honour and dignity’, the king asked, ‘was conferred on Mordecai for this?’ ‘Nothing has been done for him,’ the gentlemen-in-waiting replied.

4 The king then said, ‘Who is outside in the antechamber?’ Haman had, that very moment, entered the outer antechamber of the private apartments, to ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on the gallows which he had just put up for the purpose.

5 So the king’s gentlemen-in-waiting replied, ‘It is Haman out in the antechamber.’ ‘Bring him in,’ the king said,

6 and, as soon as Haman came in, went on to ask, ‘What is the right way to treat a man whom the king wishes to honour?’ ‘Whom’, thought Haman, ‘would the king wish to honour, if not me?’

7 So he replied, ‘If the king wishes to honour someone,

8 royal robes should be brought from the king’s wardrobe, and a horse from the king’s stable, sporting a royal diadem on its head.

9 The robes and horse should be entrusted to one of the noblest of the king’s officers-of-state, who should then array the man whom the king wishes to honour and lead him on horseback through the city square, proclaiming before him: “This is the way a man shall be treated whom the king wished to honour.”‘

10 ‘Hurry,’ the king said to Haman, ‘take the robes and the horse, and do everything you have just said to Mordecai the Jew, who works at the Chancellery. On no account leave out anything that you have mentioned.’

11 So taking the robes and the horse, Haman arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, proclaiming before him: ‘This is the way a man shall be treated whom the king wishes to honour.’

12 After this Mordecai returned to the Chancellery, while Haman went hurrying home in dejection and covering his face.

13 He told his wife Zeresh and all his friends what had just happened. His wife Zeresh and his friends said, ‘You are beginning to fall, and Mordecai to rise; if he is Jewish, you will never get the better of him. With him against you, your fall is certain.’

14 While they were still talking, the king’s officers arrived in a hurry to escort Haman to the banquet that Esther was giving.

Esther 7

1 The king and Haman went to Queen Esther’s banquet,

2 and this second day, during the banquet, the king again said to Esther, ‘Tell me your request, Queen Esther. I grant it to you. Whatever you want; even if it is half my kingdom, it is yours for the asking.’

3 ‘If I have found favour in your eyes, O king,’ Queen Esther replied, ‘and if it please your majesty, grant me my life — that is my request; and the lives of my people — that is what I want.

4 For we have been handed over, my people and I, to destruction, slaughter and annihilation; had we merely been sold as slaves and servant-girls, I should not have said anything; but in the present case, it will be beyond the persecutor’s means to make good the loss that the king is about to sustain.’ 

5 King Ahasuerus interrupted Queen Esther, ‘Who is this man?’ he exclaimed. ‘Where is the man who has thought of doing such a thing?’

6 Esther replied, ‘The persecutor, the enemy? Why, this wretch Haman!’ Haman quaked with terror in the presence of the king and queen.

7 In a rage the king got up from the banquet and went into the palace garden; while Haman, realising that the king was determined on his ruin, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life.

8 When the king came back from the palace garden into the banqueting hall, he found Haman sprawled across the couch where Estherwas reclining. ‘What!’ the king exclaimed. ‘Is he going to rape the queen in my own palace?’ The words were scarcely out of his mouth than a veil was thrown over Haman’s face. 

9 In the royal presence, Harbona, one of the officers, said, ‘There is that fifty-cubit gallows, too, which Haman ran up for Mordecai, who spoke up to the king’s great advantage. It is all ready at his house.’ ‘Hang him on it,’ said the king.

10 So Haman was hanged on the gallows which he had erected for Mordecai, and the king’s wrath subsided.

Proverbs 21:13-16

3 Whoever refuses to listen to the cry of the weak, will in turn plead and not be heard.

14 Anger is mollified by a covert gift, raging fury by a present under cover of the cloak.

15 Doing what is right fills the upright with joy, but evil-doers with terror.

16 Whoever strays far from the way of prudence will rest in the assembly of shadows.


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