It’s been a strange Lent this year. When you’ve already had to give up so much because of global factors outside your control, it’s hard for any additional sacrifice to seem meaningful, or even worth it. Remember, though, that Lenten sacrifice is a tradition of remembrance, not a command; God wants your heart and your obedience, not your sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). So if giving up even more has been hard this year, give yourself a break. Sit somewhere quiet and see what God has to say.
Meanwhile, Esther explanations await…
Recently on VerseNotes
Sorry, I’m still on a little bit of a hamantaschen kick. Those things were good. Anyway, the question of why certain books get into the Bible and others don’t is definitely an interesting one, but here’s an even more interesting question: of all the women in the Bible, only Esther and Ruth get their own books. We’ve already looked at Ruth in the story of the Moabites, but Esther’s an open question. This article offers one compelling answer that ironically has nothing to do with Esther herself.
Delight in the Details
Each newsletter, I’m going to highlight a little detail I’ve enjoyed. Recently, I’ve been enamored with what I’m calling “Very Minor Prophets”: the ones who show up in Scripture, but don’t get their own books. UPDATE: I’m pleased to report that the Very Minor Prophets have their own page now where these stories are collected, so you can stop hoarding these newsletters.
Ahijah the Prophet counseled Jeroboam, the first king of Israel after it rebelled against Judah. While Solomon was still king, Ahijah met Jeroboam leaving Jerusalem. Ahijah tore his brand-new cloak into twelve pieces, giving Jeroboam ten and saying he would rule over ten tribes of Israel. He offers Jeroboam the same deal God made with the patriarchs and the kings: follow my commands and do what is right, and I will be with you.
Jeroboam became king, but he very much did not follow God. Years later, Jeroboam’s son, Abijah, was sick, and he sent his wife to Ahijah for advice—apparently too cowardly to go himself. Ahijah gave her a horrific prophecy: God will “burn up the house of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 14:10), and her child Abijah will die the moment her feet enter the city on her way home. And so he did. Two years after Jeroboam dies, a man named Baasha kills his entire family, fulfilling the prophecy. Ahijah’s visions are recorded in yet another lost book, The Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite.