7th December

Foiling A Plot To Kill

Haman, the enemy of the Jewish people, had cast lots (or purim as they are called) to determine the day for destroying the Jews; he had planned to wipe them out. But Queen Esther went to the king, and the king issued orders with the result that Haman suffered the fate he had planned for the Jews… The Queen wrote a letter directing the Jews and their descendants to always observe the days of Purim. Esther 9: 24, 25, 31.

Have you ever had that awful feeling that somebody has got it in for you, and that there is nothing you can do about it? If so, take heart from the experience of Queen Esther, in the Bible, and of Samson of Dol.

Samson learned that a region of Britanny was in dire distress because an alien king, urged on by his evil wife, had killed the hereditary head of the estates, put his son Judual under sentence of death, and alienated the fearful population. Samson stayed at the palace in order to negotiate Judual’s release, to the fury of the Queen, who tried one ploy after another to kill him. First, she pressed him to eat a meal before departing, and instructed her servant to take him a poisoned drink. As the servant gave him the glass, Samson made the sign of the cross over it and spilt it, saying calmly, ‘this is not an appropriate cup for someone to drink’.

The King, softening after Samson had healed one of his staff, arranged for Samson to visit Judual: the Queen arranged for an unbroken, angry horse to be brought for his use. Samson made the sign of the cross again, this time on the horse, and calmly sat astride it. The horse, perhaps sensing the deep peace within Samson, became as timid as a mouse!

The Queen was determined that Samson should never return, so even when he was leaving to journey on by boat, she arranged for a hungry lion to be let loose at the port. Samson’s biographer observed that the indomitable man of God invoked the name of Christ and discharged after the beast ‘his customary missiles as if from a catapult’, saying: ‘I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ who has given us power to tread under foot you and things like you, that your terrible power against the human race may from this day never rise again, but that you die quickly in the presence of all these people so that the people of this region may know that God has sent me here as a servant of Christ’. The lion died that hour, and everyone present, even the Queen herself, pledged to support both Judual’s release and Samson’s mission.

Lord, help me always to believe that all things work together for good to those who love you

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