Posted by: pmarkrobb | November 8, 2012

1:1

As we end our week, the narrative of our journey through biblical characters will seem ripped from the headlines of a modern entertainment periodical.  Tell me (after you have read the opening scenes of Esther’s story) that it doesn’t remind you of a recent season of “The Bachelor” or another similar “reality” show.  A fancy “house”, the best food and drink, glamorous people, no limits … a big party, indeed.  Insert high drama with a King under the influence calling for his supermodel Queen.  His rose is rejecte… wait … I mean, his summons is rejected.  There is an emergency meeting with his “trusted” advisors and a suggestion to vote the Queen off the isla… wait … permanently ban the Queen and replace her.  A search, a contest …  Yes, and bingo, Persia’s Next Top Mode… wait … OK, you get the picture.  Don’t let anyone convince you the Bible isn’t relevent in our modern world, or that there is something new under the sun.

Into the contest for the next Queen steps a simple but stunning Jewish girl.  God had plans for Esther, and He had gifted her with true beauty both inside and out.  I think it is quite interesting how God did not use her to challenge the superficiality of the search or to question the decision to depose the rightful Queen.  God inserted Esther right in the middle of a beauty contest to accomplish His great purpose of freeing His people.  Think God skirts around darkness or won’t use you in the midst of it to be an instrument for His good?  God is in no way limited, and He absolutely can.  He blessed Esther with an outward beauty to meet a moment and strong character and courage to accomplish His will in it.

Now, it might seem superficial to draw attention to Esther’s outward beauty as a quality of note.  Maybe like it might seem superficial for Esther to participate in what amounted to a beauty contest to be the next Queen?  Drawing attention to Esther’s physical beauty is to draw attention to God’s intention and purpose in choosing Esther to accomplish his will in this very specific moment in the history of God’s people.  God has gifted us all in an equal way.  Not in the exact way, as I am far from qualifying for any beauty contest; but in a very specific way that is unique to us and His plan for us.  God is intensely intentional that way.

So what’s with the “1:1” title of this post?  Well, there’s more to reveal of this intensely intentional God in the story of Esther.  There is a “hinge” moment in the overall Esther narrative and in her role as God’s instrument of deliverance for His people.  Reading ahead several chapters, Esther reveals and foils an evil plot by Haman.  The King’s sentence is hanging, and it is carried out on the seventeenth of Nisan.  Why do I make mention of a specific calendar date?  It’s an invitation to a remarkable discovery of an intensely intentional God.

A close study of scripture and the history of the Jewish nation shows 5 other major events directly connected with God’s deliverance that happened on the very same calendar date … Nisan 17.  The events begin with the story of Noah.  And while the naming of the month in the scriptural account is different, the ark coming to rest on Mt. Ararat happened on the very same date in the calendar year as Haman was hanged.  (God reoriented the Jewish calendar after Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so it’s celebration would always occur in the first month of their year.)

Next is Israel crossing the Red Sea … on Nisan 17.  Then there is the first day of the seven that the nation walked around the city of Jericho, the day that the Lord promised to deliver Jericho into Joshua’s hands … Nisan 17.  Sticking with Joshua, Nisan 17 is the first day that the nation eats of the fruits of the Promised Land.  On Nisan 16, God’s provision of manna ended and they ate anew on the 17th.  Hezekiah begins consecrating the temple on Nisan 1.  The work lasts 16 days.  On the 17th, sacrifices begin again in the temple.

And the only way this could get any bigger is the final event to happen on this blessed and intentional day on the Jewish calendar … Our Savior rose on Nisan 17.  Deliverance for all, for all time happened on Nisan 17.

A mathematician calculated the odds of these 6 events happening on the exact same calendar date.  The odds were…

783,864,876,960,000,000:1

That’s one in 783 quadrillion, 864 trillion, 876 Billion, 960 Million!

What are the odds of a simple but stunning Jewish girl winning the prize of Queen in a Persian beauty contest?  What are the odds of God doing very bold and specific things on the very same calendar date over the full breadth of the deliverance story of His people?  What are the odds when God wills that something will happen?  The answer to all those questions is … 1:1


Responses

  1. 1:1 Encouraging to be reminded of that, thanks! …………..and that the Nisan 17s – deliverance – continue today!


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