August 19 – My Fancy Stick

When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter. (Esther 5:2)

Read: Esther 4:1-7:10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Psalm 36:1-12, Proverbs 21:21-22

Relate: This is my fancy stick. OK, so it isn’t really mine and it isn’t all that fancy. It is just a climbing stick. I will be the first to admit that, despite my attachment to it, the thing is pretty ordinary. My stick started its life as a rake, or a hoe, or some other farming implement. Whatever was on the end has fallen away and now it is just a good, sturdy piece of wood with a little metal sticking out of one end. Most of the year it just sits along the wall of my uncle’s barn waiting for the next mountain to climb. Once it is put to use, this stick has literally been a lifesaver.

In Hebrew, my stick would be called a Shebet. The word literally means a wooden tool. It is just a piece of wood that has a function. But it is usually translated into English as a scepter (Psalms 45), rod (Psalms 23), or staff. In the Shepherd’s Psalm, it is the rod that comforts me. In Psalm 45 it is translated two times as scepter. “The scepter of Your Kingdom is a righteous scepter.” It is this passage quoted in Hebrews 1 that came to mind when I read of the scepter here in Esther. The way I have memorized it, the writer of Hebrews has condensed the two uses into one: “righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom”.

I was a little disappointed at first to discover that the “scepter” in Esther is not the same as is used in the Psalms. Instead of the three letter: Shebet,  Esther’s scepter is: Sherbiyt (sh-b-t vs sh-r-b-y-t early Hebrew did not have vowels). If Shebet means a stick, does anyone want to take guesses as to what Sherbiyt would mean? All three times it appears in Esther it is translated as “golden scepter”. Personally, I think it is because the English translators are too stuffy and dignified to use the more accurate “fancy stick”.

React: The King of Persia might have had a fancy stick, but he didn’t have a reliable one. Its use was based on his whim and nobody was certain beforehand whether it would be a blessing or a lethal curse. If you caught the king in a good mood, he would extend his fancy stick towards you and everything was fine. If he was bored, or in a bad mood, or upset with you for some reason, the fancy stick would be withheld and instead it would be the end of you. When climbing a mountain, I could care less how fancy my stick is. My requirement is only that it is trustworthy. If I put my weight on it, will it hold me up?

The Shebet of God’s kingdom is a righteous Shebet. If it a wooden crossbeam on which the hands of God were nailed. When it was extended, or rather, when He was stretched out on it, we have life. It might not have been fancy, but all it touches will live. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful.

Respond: 

Dear God,
The scepter of Your Kingdom is a righteous scepter. I need never fear to approach Your throne because it has been extended towards me and that is good for all time. I am covered by Your grace. You are not an unreliable ruler prone to whims of friendship or fury. You are a trustworthy King who longs for me to come. And so I do.
Amen

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4 thoughts on “August 19 – My Fancy Stick

  1. Love the way that you thought of your fancy stick. My husband has one too. It is in the back of his car. He doesn’t use it any more because he has trekking poles, but yet it still stays in the back of the car. I guess this is his fancy stick.

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