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Devotion for May 01, 2005

Devotions

An amusing story is told of a three-year-old, kneeling beside her bed, who was overhead praying, “Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.” She had sat in the church pew Sunday after Sunday, reciting words of pure nonsense!  Her childish ignorance may not be completely unlike our own misunderstandings of the Lord’s Prayer. Take as an example the text of today’s key verse. If we pray for the dawning of God’s kingdom, do we know enough to partner with God in this great endeavor and then recognize its arrival?

This month’s study of the book of Esther helps us to understand essential principles about the kingdom of God. Today’s reading of Psalm 145 provides the perfect framework for what we can anticipate learning from Esther. Psalm 145 exalts the praiseworthy qualities of God that make Him the King over all.  First, His “kingdom is an everlasting kingdom” (v. 13). In Esther’s story, we discover God’s great power displayed centuries before Christ was ever born. Our King ruled then, and He still rules today!

Not only is this King eternally powerful, He is also loving. The story of Esther allows us to see God’s action to deliver His people, the Jews, from genocide. “[He] is near to all who call on him . . . He hears their cry and saves them” (vv. 18–19). When God’s people suffer and then pray for His mercy, He shows Himself faithful to save them. He is the King of compassion.

Finally, the book of Esther reveals that our God and King is righteous. “The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy” (v. 20). He rules justly, delivering the innocent and punishing the wicked.

In the presence of such a King, the response is celebration. In Esther’s time, in the time of the psalmist, and even today, we have great cause to praise Him (vv. 1–2), to testify of His greatness (vv. 4–7), to trust His goodness and compassion (vv. 8–9), to be comforted by His presence and care (vv. 14–16), and to hope in His righteousness (v. 20).

Apply the Word

Make a list of the attributes of God that are praised in Psalm 145: His power, love, goodness, compassion, and righteousness. Under each heading, write specific ways you’ve recently seen this aspect of God’s character displayed in your own life or in your church. As you recall the times when God has revealed Himself, praise Him! And if you’re having trouble seeing God at work in your life, ask for the faith to believe that He is powerful, loving, and good.

BY Jennifer Michel

Jen Pollock Michel is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. Her first book, Teach us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith, is published by InterVarsity Press. Jen earned her BA in French from Wheaton College and her MA in Literature from Northwestern University. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and five children, and serves on staff at Grace Toronto Church.

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