You’ll notice that many of the passages we will read this morning (Joshua 1:6-7; Psalm 27:14; 1 Corinthians 16:13), along with hymns like O Church Arise and How Can I Keep From Singing, involve us seeking the Lord for courage and strength. One hymn you may be less familiar with is If Thou But Suffer God To Guide Thee, written by Georg Neumark in the 17th century, which expresses resolve that the Lord will provide His people with the strength to endure any circumstance, even “the evil days.” Neumark was well-acquainted with evil days: his entire early life was spent amid the Thirty Years War, a conflict which would devastate Central Europe with a brutality not seen again until the World Wars of the 20th century. Further, in 1641 he lost his entire life savings in a robbery and was forced to travel from city to city looking for work. After months of destitution, the twenty-year-old Neumark found a position, after a seemingly chance encounter with an official who had recently dismissed his children’s tutor. In gratitude for God’s providence, he wrote the text of If Thou But Suffer the same day, which includes the line, “He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee.” In times of difficulty, be they sickness or grief, broken relationships or financial hardships, we can take confidence in the provision of the Lord, as Neumark did. He will provide the strength we need. As the psalmist implores us: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Gate, Obeyed, Threshold, Knowledge, Investigated, Chronicles
Keystone Verse: In those days Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. (Esther 2:21)
19 Now when the virgins were gathered together the second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20 Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. 21 In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. 22 And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. 23 When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king.