Virtually every emotion that ever swept across the human soul is recorded in the Psalms. This book is the epitome, the very nucleus of worship…and yet it drips with the whole gamut of humanity. As we shall see, the Psalms address the full spectrum of human needs. More than any other Old Testament book, we turn to the Psalms for direction, comfort, and encouragement. No richer bank of wisdom and soul-giving peace is found in the whole world.
The subject of pain and suffering is a popular one for a very simple reason—humans experience a lot of it. At this very moment, vast numbers of people around the globe are enduring physical and emotional trauma like heartache, illness, death. Ours is a life of suffering. We enter the world crying. We walk through it with our shoulders bent into the fiery blast and icy blizzard of affliction. And we leave it in death.
The book of Esther could appear, at first glance, to be a fictional work. It bears all the marks of a short story: a dramatic plot, a villain, a hero, a damsel in distress, and a surprising climax, followed by everyone living happily ever after. But it is absolutely authentic, bearing all the marks of inspired literature. It is, in fact, a vital link in the chain of Jewish history, as it reveals what neither Ezra nor Nehemiah includes: crucial experiences of the Jews who remained in Persia. As we dig into this account, keep an eye on the central crisis driving the work.
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