Psalm 138 The Voice (VOICE)
A song of David.
1 To You, Lord, I give my whole heart, a heart filled with praise, for I am grateful;
4 May all the kings of the earth praise You, O Eternal One,
7 Whenever I walk into trouble,
Esther 2:19-3:6 The Voice (VOICE)
19 When the young women were gathered together for a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the palace gate where the men gathered for business and legal decisions. 20 Since Mordecai had required Esther to keep her Jewish heritage a secret, she had told no one. She continued to obey him as she did when he took care of her. 21 One day while Mordecai was at the gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who guarded the door, were plotting to kill King Ahasuerus. They were angry over some matter. 22 But Mordecai learned of their plan and reported it to Queen Esther who told the king about the plot, giving credit to her cousin. 23 After a thorough investigation, the report was proven true. So the two officers were killed and displayed on a pole. All of this information was chronicled in the presence of the king, in the public record.
The Persians execute their criminals by impaling them on a sharpened pole.
3 A little while later, according to King Ahasuerus’ wishes, Haman (son of Hammedatha, an Agagite) was promoted to a rank above all his fellow nobles in the kingdom. 2 The officials at the king’s gate all bowed down before Haman and paid him homage because the king commanded this. But Mordecai, the Jew, refused to kneel and refused to honor him.
The bad blood between the families of Benjamin and Agag goes back a long way to the time when Saul, a Benjaminite, destroyed the Amalekites and took their king, Agag, as his captive (1 Samuel 15:7–9). Now the tables are turned, and Agag’s descendant exercises nearly supreme power over Mordecai and the other subjects of Persian power. But, true to his Jewish teaching, Mordecai bows to no man nor pays him homage. That honor is reserved for God and Him alone.
3 Mordecai’s actions came to the attention of the king’s officials standing at the gate.
Officials (looking at Mordecai): Why are you disobeying the king’s command?
4 The officers questioned him daily about his disobedience to the king, but Mordecai refused to listen and bow down. The officers reported this to Haman to learn whether or not Mordecai’s excuse would be tolerated, for Mordecai had told them he was a Jew. 5 Haman was furious when he saw that Mordecai refused to bow and pay him the respect he was due. 6 But Haman wasn’t to be satisfied with killing only Mordecai, so he began to think of ways to destroy all of Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.
Acts 1:15-20 The Voice (VOICE)
15 As the disciples prayed, Peter stood among the group of about 120 people and made this proposal:
The Creator of heaven and earth is orchestrating a redemptive story that will radically change the course of history. The most significant supernatural event in the history of this newly formed church will be the filling of the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit, God will direct the church’s growth. But how does the early church make important decisions before the Holy Spirit descends on them?
The company of disciples turns to the practice of “drawing lots,” a practice used by saints for centuries to discover God’s providential leading. After much prayer, Joseph and Matthias most likely write their names on scraps; then someone draws the replacement’s name out of a bag. What seems like a 50/50 chance is, in fact, God’s way of imparting His will. The disciples aren’t putting their faith in “chance”; they are putting their faith in a God who lives. This living God isn’t distant; He is a player in their lives, active when His people seek Him and His will. They know God directs the process, start to finish, and determines whose name is drawn to join the eleven.
Peter: 16-17 My friends, everything in the Hebrew Scriptures had to be fulfilled, including what the Holy Spirit foretold through David about Judas. As you know, Judas was one of us and participated in our ministry until he guided the authorities to arrest Jesus. 18 (He was paid handsomely for his betrayal, and he bought a field with the blood money. But he died on that land—falling so that his abdomen burst and his internal organs gushed out. 19 News of this death spread to everyone in Jerusalem, so Judas’s property is known as Hakeldama, which means “field of blood.”) 20 In this way, one of David’s psalms was fulfilled: “May their camps be bleak, with not one left in any tent.”[a] But the psalms also include these words: “Let his position of oversight be given to another.”[b]