Colossians 3:2 tells says, “Focus on the things of heaven and not on the things of earth,” but how on earth can you focus on the things of heaven?
Throughout the Bible, God gives you glimpses into the heavenly realm. John uses 22 chapters in the book of Revelation to explain heaven and hell through apocalyptic and prophetic language. He did not have modern-day words to describe the heavenly sights. You believe the descriptions do not fully contain its beauty – and you would be right – however, it is not impossible to get little glimpses into God’s plan for heaven when we look at other parts of scripture, like Esther, for instance. When we concentrate on scripture, we can focus on the things of heaven.
Esther 1:1-8: A Glimpse
“These events happened in the days of King Xerxes, who reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. 2 At that time Xerxes ruled his empire from his royal throne at the fortress of Susa. 3 In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces. 4 The celebration lasted 180 days—a tremendous display of the opulent wealth of his empire and the pomp and splendor of his majesty.
“5 When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa. It lasted for seven days and was held in the courtyard of the palace garden. 6 The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones.
“7 Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs, and there was an abundance of royal wine, reflecting the king’s generosity. 8 By edict of the king, no limits were placed on the drinking, for the king had instructed all his palace officials to serve each man as much as he wanted.
Who Will Be in Heaven: Focus on Your Place
To better help you focus on heaven, the first thing you want to think about is your position. First, ask, “Do I have a place?” If you have become a Christian by confessing your sin to God and, by faith, believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, then you have a place in heaven. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, please visit The Roadmap to Jesus for more information about what Jesus did for you.
In the first chapter in the book of Esther, the author goes into tremendous detail about the enormous banquet of King Xerxes. He talks about the types of people who were at the banquet. Let’s look at verses 3 and 5:
3 “In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces.”
5 “When it was all over, the king gave a banquet for all the people, from the greatest to the least, who were in the fortress of Susa…”
King Xerxes shared his great wealth with princes, nobles, officials, military officials, and all the people from the greatest to the least. He feasted with noblemen, like himself, as well as the commoners from the village. I love how this passage reveals that he included everyone. No one rejected, while everyone feasted which showed the king’s generosity.
We have a King much greater than the king in this passage. Our King, King Jesus, died on a cross for our sins so we might secure a place at the great banquet of heaven. Without him, and his wealth of grace and mercy, we would never even have a chance to gain access to the throne room (Isaiah 53:6). Our King died first for the Jew (the chosen people), and then for the Gentile (all the rest), but he died for us all.
Whether you are Jew or Gentile, your home is secure with the King in heaven. Focus on your place.
What Will Heaven Look Like: Focus on Your Home
No one knows what heaven will look like. I mentioned, slightly, at the beginning of this blog the book of Revelation, and I mention it again because it seems to be the only book with any specific details to glom on to when you think about your heavenly home. However, I want to draw your attention back to Esther because I believe the author’s description of the king’s palace and his opulent wealth give us a glimpse into our future home.
Let’s focus on verses 3, 4, 6 – description of the palace, and verse 7 – gold goblets of many designs
~ Number of Guests
Verses 3 and 4a: “In the third year of his reign, he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. He invited all the military officers of Persia and Media as well as the princes and nobles of the provinces. The celebration lasted 180 days…”
First of all, let’s talk numbers. The king invited a lot of people to this banquet. His kingdom stretched over 127 provinces from India to Ethiopia. Get out a map and see just how large of an area that is. He invited military officials, noblemen, as well as other government officials too. When men of high stature like that traveled, they never went alone. They brought an entire troupe of people with them to care for them, especially for a party that lasted 180 days. As many as 15,000 people came, stayed, ate, slept, and partied for six months at the grand palace of King Xerxes.
~ Vast Size and Beauty
Can you imagine the size of the place? I certainly cannot, but I picture heaven like that. I see my future home even more opulent than the description of this man-made palace. The Bible tells us that God throws our repentant sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). The palace of heaven is just like that; it is so vast that we cannot see the ends of it.
Verse 6 and 7 are an astounding description of the splendor of King Xerxes’ palace. They say,
“6 The courtyard was beautifully decorated with white cotton curtains and blue hangings, which were fastened with white linen cords and purple ribbons to silver rings embedded in marble pillars. Gold and silver couches stood on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl, and other costly stones. 7 Drinks were served in gold goblets of many designs…”
Your jaw to drops when you imagine the sight of the place. First, think of the size – an area that needs to house 15,000 people for six months – now think about verses 6-7 in context with that. (You can close your mouth now.) What stuns me is that the beauty described in verse 6 is just the courtyard to the palace! The author of Esther doesn’t even give you a little glimpse into the palace itself. Your heavenly home has streets of gold, and gates of solid pearl (Revelation 21:21) which is far better than anything King Xerxes built.
I stand amazed, peering into the possibility of heaven’s appearance. You struggle with focusing on the things of heaven. When that happens, focus on your home.
When Will it End?: Focus on Your Eternal Life
Eternity is a long time. My husband and I jokingly say, “I love you forever, but only that long. Once forever is over, we’ll renegotiate the contract.” Thankfully, there won’t be a need to renegotiate your eternal life.
Verses 4b and 8 give you a peek into eternal life. Verse 4b says the celebration was “a tremendous display of the opulent wealth of his empire and the pomp and splendor of his majesty.” While in verse 8 there were “no limits on the drinking,” and, “each man could have as much as he wanted.” It is a shadow description of your eternal life in heaven. The celebration of life with Jesus Christ in all his splendor and majesty will have no limits – you will have as much as you want. It is eternal, everlasting, forever.
When you’re struggling with heavenly attention, focus on your eternal life.
Has the world dragged you down? Are you finding it hard to take your focus off worldly, earthly problems? It’s time to do what Colossians 3:2 says and focus your attention on things of heaven by focusing on your place, your home, and your eternal life.
I hope you’ll come back to this blog from time-to-time to refresh your memory about the things of heaven. Once you get refreshed perspective, the things of this earth won’t seem as significant.