If you don’t recognize his name, you haven’t kept up with the news. Kobayashi is the world-wide sensation in international competitive eating. The 5 foot 8 inch, 128 pound man holds the world record in the following categories:
- Eating 97 hamburgers in one sitting
- Devouring 83 vegetarian jiaozi dumplings in 8 minutes
- Consuming 100 roasted pork buns in 12 minutes
- Wolfing down 58 bratwurst sausages in 10 minutes
- Choking down 17.7 pounds of cow brains in 15 minutes
- Inhaling 64 tacos in 15 minutes
Unfortunately he was arrested on July 4 after allegedly trying to disrupt a hot dog eating competition in New York City that he had been forbidden to compete in.
Some people approach worship like Kobayashi does eating.
Please join us as we discuss this in today’s daily Bible conversation.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Esther 1:1-3:15. We don’t know who wrote the book of Esther, but it was likely someone from Persia because we’re given no information on what was happening in Jerusalem. The king at the time of the events in this book was Xerxes who ruled from 486-465 B.C. This would place the events of Esther at the time of Ezra and thirty years before Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem.
Probably the most outstanding feature of this book is the absence of any reference to God, worship, prayer, or sacrifice. Many scholars believe the author avoided these in order to build heightened sensitivity to God’s providential hand in circumstances and “coincidences”.
Interestingly enough, archeologists have uncovered historical support for some of Esther’s characters. The name Hegai (Esther 2:8) appears as an officer of Xerxes in the Histories of Herodotus. Also, a man named Marduka appears in a text from this period who served as an accountant on a royal inspection tour from Susa. Many scholars believe this was Mordecai. Apparently Mordecai carried considerable influence with the king. At the end of chapter 2 we read that Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. This means he had been appointed as a judge, because the gate was the traditional court of law.
The New Bible Commentary offers an interesting observation on the difference between Xerxes the king, and his accountant Mordecai:
Unlike Xerxes, Mordecai was able to rule his household. The fact that he cared enough about Esther to check daily on her well-being provides a clue to his secret. Esther obeyed because she loved and respected Mordecai.
Queen Vashti, however, was not at all like Esther.
Being chosen for the “queen selection process” exposed the women to extravagant beautifying treatments. But after spending the night with the king, if they weren’t chosen, they were destined to spend the rest of their lives in his harem as one of his many concubines. Many never saw the king again.
The story of Esther reminds us that coincidences do not exist. In fact, both Esther and Nehemiah found themselves in providential positions that preserved Israel’s existence. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king and Esther the newly crowned queen of Persia. Not to be forgotten is Mordecai, who overheard a conversation and diverted the assassination of Xerxes.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Reading Paul’s criticism of the church’s practices regarding the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11 tells us that the early church wasn’t passing out little cups of grape juice and tiny wafers. The Lord’s Supper was really that—a supper.
Their purpose was to join in a common meal, irrespective of social class. Apparently people were bringing their own food, eating at different times, and only sitting with their friends. The meal that was intended to bring the people together was actually dividing them.
The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember our common unworthiness and our common need for Jesus. We all partake of the body and blood of Jesus because we need him.
In the body of Christ, no one is better than the other. Wealth, influence, personality mean nothing. We are all one body, gathered together in the name of Jesus.
“Recognizing the body of the Lord” means being sensitive to the needs of the people around us. It means being cognizant of our need for forgiveness, so in turn we forgive others.
Many people today like to slip in and slip out of church without being noticed. That sounds more like the Kobayshi approach to dinner. Stuff yourself with food while avoiding interaction with the people around you. That, or limit yourself to a select circle of friends, ignoring people who are hurting or newbies exploring the faith.
If you’re involved in a faith community, recognize the body of the Lord by ensuring that no one is marginalized or pushed to the side in your community.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading
- Where did you see God’s providential hand in Esther’s story?
- Think back over the last day or two. Where have you seen God’s providential hand in your story?
- What can you learn from Xerxes’ leadership style?
- What does it mean for you to recognize the body of the Lord”?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.