Psalm 55:16-23 The Voice (VOICE)
16 But I, I shall call upon God,
For they have refused change;
20 My friend has become a foe, breaking faith, tearing down peace.
22 Cast your troubles upon the Eternal;
23 But You, O God, You will drive them
Esther 5 The Voice (VOICE)
5 When the third day arrived, Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace across from the king’s rooms. The king was sitting on his throne facing the palace entrance. 2 He was pleased when he noticed Queen Esther waiting in the court. He extended his gold scepter with his hand, inviting her in. Esther walked toward him, and when she was close enough, she reached out and touched the king’s scepter.
King Ahasuerus: 3 What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? I’ll give you anything—even half of my kingdom—all you need to do is ask.
Queen Esther: 4 If it would please you, my king, I’d like for you and Haman to come today to a banquet I have made in your honor.
King Ahasuerus (looking at his servants): 5 Go and find Haman this instant, so we can do as Esther desires.
So the king and Haman came to Esther’s banquet. 6 As Haman, the king, and Esther were enjoying the wine at the end of her banquet, the king pressed the question.
King Ahasuerus: Now, my queen, what is your request? I promise that half of my kingdom is not too much to ask! Don’t be afraid to ask for whatever you want.
Queen Esther: 7 I do want something. My request is: 8 If I have found favor before you, and if you truly desire to grant my request, would you and Haman join me again tomorrow for another banquet I will prepare? Then I will answer your question.
9 Haman left dinner in high spirits, almost gleeful, but his joy was short lived. As he walked through the king’s gate, he passed by Mordecai. It angered Haman to see the Jew unwilling to stand and, worse still, seemingly unafraid. 10 But he resisted showing his anger right then and there. Instead, he went home and spent time with friends and Zeresh, his wife. 11 Haman spent the evening bragging to them about being rich and having lots of sons in his family. He even boasted about his relationship with the king, talking to his guests about his promotion above all of his fellow nobles and the officials of the king.
Haman: 12 And that’s not all! Queen Esther invited me today to dine with her and the king. Just the three of us! And guess what? She’s invited me again tomorrow. What do you think about that? 13 But I must be honest; seeing that Jew, Mordecai, as I pass through the gate makes it difficult to celebrate any of my good fortune.
14 Then his wife Zeresh and all of his friends came up with an idea.
Zeresh and His Friends: You should make a wood pole 75 feet high! Tomorrow morning, have the king sentence Mordecai to be executed on it. Then you’ll be able to have a good time at the banquet with the king.
Haman thought the idea was brilliant. So he had the pole made.
Colossians 2:16-3:1 The Voice (VOICE)
16 So don’t let anyone stand in judgment over you and dictate what you should eat or drink, what festivals you should celebrate, or how you should observe a new moon or Sabbath days— 17 all these are only a shadow of what shall come. The reality, the core, the import, is found in the Anointed One. 18 Don’t be cheated out of the prize by others who are peddling the worship of heavenly beings and false humility. People like this run about telling whoever will listen what they claim to have seen; but in reality they testify only to an inflated mind, saturated in conceit—not in the Spirit. 19 They are detached from the very head that nourishes and connects the whole body with all of its nerves and ligaments, a body that grows by the kind of growth that can only come from God.
20 Listen, if you have died with the Anointed One to the elemental spirits of the cosmos, then why are you submitting yourselves to its rules as if you still belonged to this world? 21 You hear, “Don’t handle this! Don’t taste that! Don’t even touch it!” 22 but everything they are obsessed about will eventually decay with use. These rules are just human commands and teachings. 23 Here’s what they are promoting: fabricated religion, self-humiliation, and bodily abuse. No matter which way they try to tether their bodies, they cannot harness their desires.
Paul knows the people in Colossae are facing many religious and philosophical options, none of which are neutral. Notice Paul doesn’t say, “Just add Jesus to what you already believe,” or, “Factor Jesus into your philosophy,” or, “Include Jesus in this or that ritual.” The claim that “Jesus is Lord” does not allow that. If Jesus is Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all creation, then all other teachings must give way. All people must bow before Him and only Him.
3 So it comes down to this: since you have been raised with the Anointed One, the Liberating King, set your mind on heaven above. The Anointed is there, seated at God’s right hand.