As Each Man Desired (Esther Day 1)
If we are honest, every one of us has probably wondered what it would be like to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without anyone hassling us about it. This is the appeal of the “live however you desire” mentality. Excessive debauchery is given center stage in culture because we’re often obsessed with vicariously living out the sins of others. Scripture informs us that this is our inherent nature. At the base level, all of us are sinful rebels who delight in going our own way and doing our own thing, regardless of the consequences (Rom 1:18-32). Today’s reading paints a vivid picture of what happens when this propensity to rebel is left unhindered:
“Drinks were served in golden vessels, vessels of different kinds, and the royal wine was lavished according to the bounty of the king. And drinking was according to this edict: ‘There is no compulsion.’ For the king had given orders to all the staff of his palace to do as each man desired.” -Esther 1:7-8
What we have here is a full-on, unbridled, over-the-top display of sin and excess. In an attempt to showcase his wealth and demonstrate his power, King Ahasuerus sanctioned a total of 187 days worth of partying with only one rule: do as you desire (Es. 1:8). No restraint. No caution. No thought of consequence. Doesn’t this sound like our culture today? “Do what you want. Who cares as long as it makes you happy.” It sounds appealing, but Scripture informs us that the end result of such actions will only bring heartache, hurt shame, and regret (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). While Satan wants us to believe that happiness can only found in seeking the sinful desires of our flesh, God wants us to know that true happiness can only be found in seeking the desires of His heart. And that can only be accomplished through a daily cultivated, Holy Spirit-empowered, intimate relationship with His Son, Christ Jesus.
What sinful desires do you find yourself giving into today? If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, remind yourself of the gospel of your salvation: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). Jesus died and rose again to set you free from the very sins with which you struggle. Give them over to Him today and ask Him to help you not bow down to such idols. Remind yourself of this gospel truth: your victory over the sins that haunt you does not simply lie in your ability to modify your behavior; it is in your constant and confident reliance upon the transforming power of the grace of God in Christ Jesus. So rest in Him. He is your Savior, even from your sins today.
Father God, I praise You for Your saving grace found only in Your Son, Jesus Christ. With the Psalmist I pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. See if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24). Thank you, God, for Your faithful love that endures forever. When I am tempted today to fall into the same old sins I’ve fallen into so many times, please remind me of the gospel of my salvation: that You died for my sins, and that You rose again on the third day to conquer the power of sin over me. I’m more than a conqueror in You, Jesus (Rom 8:37). May I live in that reality today. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, please drill the truth of the gospel deeply into my heart. May I see You as a greater treasure than any momentary pleasure sin may provide. Thank You for Your faithfulness to me when I’m so unfaithful to You. May You be magnified in my life and conduct today. I pray these things in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.