January 30, 2017

Exalted Redeemers

Ruth 4:18-22; Esther 10:1-3

He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails.

—  1 Samuel 2:9

Impossibly, a mere Jew who had sat daily at the king’s gate became second in command of all Persia. Unexpectedly, a lowly shepherd boy named David became king of God’s people, second in rank only to the Lord. Both made wise decisions when called to act. Neither sought to become redeemers and res­cuers of Israel.

Seeking greatness is unbecoming—foolish, actually—especially for God’s people. Getting greatness by manipulation is something Haman would do, but Mordecai served and trusted God, who gave him honor as well as great responsibility, in which he served faithfully. Contrary to the ways of the world, an honest sense of unworthiness and a will to serve others rather than ourselves appear to be requirements for good and faithful servants of the great King.

The apostle Paul exhorts his readers, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment (Romans 12:3). James encourages his readers to look into the mirror of God’s law (James 1:23-25). Doing that, we will see reflected the image of Christ, who, though exalted, became like one of us and was humbled to the burden of the cross.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).

Give me the wisdom, Lord, to be considerate, submissive, and filled with mercy. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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