Confident Identity

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Esther chapter five, beautiful passage of scripture. Last week, if you remember, we looked at Esther putting her faith in the Lord. And today in chapter five, we’re going to look at those steps that follow after she’s come to rest her faith there. What does her life look like? What does it entail now that she’s put her faith in the Lord?

Let me start by this question. If you were to write a book, I find there’s a lot of people, I feel like, that have aspirations to write books and very few that actually see that to its end, but we sometimes romanticize the idea of writing a book. So we’re going to pretend this morning like you’re going to be the author of a book. You’re writing a book. And in your book, you decide to include yourself as one of the main characters and you’re to that place where you’ve got to introduce yourself as a character in your book. You’re not going to make up your name and just some separate identity. You’re going to describe actually you as who you are within the content of this book. How would you describe yourself or on what basis would you even begin to establish the identity of your character? Would you entertain the idea of writing about you based on what you do, your position in life, based on how you feel, based on your personality, based on your looks, maybe your possessions? I mean, what would you use in order to describe within the content of that book the kind of person that you are?

The way that we choose to shape our identity is a telltale sign of where those origins come from. Where in this world do we find or attribute our worth, value, meaning, purpose? What is the foundation for you to communicate the type of person that you are? It’s revealing to where you find your worth.

And the book of Esther in chapter five, this is where we discover ourselves. Here we’re going to find, really, two characters juxtaposed against themselves, which every chapter has done this to this point, but we’re going to look at the life of Esther, we’re going to look at the life of Haman, and we’re going to find through the way that they demonstrate themselves and they’re described within this chapter how they find the worth of who they are. We’re going to, as we described in this section, really, with Esther, how she gets such a confident identity and then we’re going to look at the opposite of that in the character of Haman.

But as we jump into these pages, I’m going to read the first three verses, which is going to give us a backdrop to what this story is about. And remember last week, as we talked about there were some certain laws written that were devastating to the Jews. And in verse one you see this. Now came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner courtyard of the king’s palace in front of the king’s room, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in throne opposite the entrance to the palace.

Verse one, Esther has just concluded what we saw at the end of chapter four, which was this three day fast. She said, “Get God’s people together. Get the Jewish people together. I want you to fast and pray for me because of what I’m about to do.” There had been a law written through Haman. Haman had come to the king of Persia, which is King Xerxes. He’d come to the king with a hatred for the Jewish people, convinced the king to write a law against the Jewish people, which would allow the people in Persia to kill the Jews.

And Esther being a Jew is devastated by this. We read about Mordecai last week being devastated by this. And Mordecai comes to Esther and says, “You need to go before the king and do what you can to spare our lives. Present this to the king and see if king would find favor in your eyes and spare us.” And Esther says, “Look, I’ll do this. But to do this, you need to understand that this is going to break a law and could lead to my death, so gather the people together and fast and pray for me.”

Chapter five, verse one, it’s now the conclusion of that, the third day. Esther has determined that she’s going to do this for her people. And at the end of the third day, rather than just immediately run before the king, it tells us that Esther puts on her royal robes, meaning to come into the King’s presence, there was a certain amount of requirement that had to take place. One is you couldn’t just come before the king, but if you did come before the king, you had to be wearing a certain attire that was worthy before a king. And rather than come to the king in sackcloth and ashes as Esther would’ve been in, in her state of prayer and fasting for three days, she prepares herself to walk in before the king’s presence, before his throne to declare what is on her heart on behalf of her people.

And in verse two it says this. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the courtyard, she obtained favor in his sight and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. Esther, she risks her life by performing an illegal act.

Chapter 4 verse 11, when Mordecai said to Esther, “Go before the king and beg for mercy for the Jewish people,” Esther said to him, “You need to understand all of the king’s servants know this law,” Chapter 4, verse 11. “To come before the king without being requested by the king is death. And the king hasn’t asked for my presence for 30 days.” And Esther in chapter five verse two, she goes before the king at great risk to herself. It was considered in the king of Persia’s day a threat to the king for anyone to come before his presence without being requested. I mean, to see that, the guards would be curious as to why someone would be before the king without the king’s presence. Maybe their intentions were ill-willed towards the king. And therefore, since they weren’t requested, it’s a complete risk to their own life to even come before him and let the king to see your presence.

And then in verse three, as Esther touches the scepter, the king has to extend his scepter to the person that approaches him. If he doesn’t extend his scepter, then off with your head, you’re done, life’s over, but he extends the scepter. Esther touches it. In verse three then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Up to half of the kingdom I will give it to you.” Now let just say I don’t think the king is serious in saying this. I think this is just a formal tradition at the time for the king to look good. Anyone to take serious this king’s statement that I’ll give you up to half of my kingdom is probably not a wise idea to then accept that as a favor from the king, but it’s this ornate way of displaying his splendor to the people, how great a king you are, just to praise him and his glory.

But the king does recognize something. He knows that his people know to approach him is illegal and could end their life. And he knows that for Esther to conduct herself in this way, that there must be something pressing deep within her to risk her life to come before the king. And that’s why the king asked this question. “What’s troubling you, Esther?” He would immediately know something is weighing upon her heart.

And at this point, probably any of us in this moment would react in a way that would be of such desperation, right? We would fall to our knees and then just spill our beans, right? “King, you asked, so let me just tell you everything on my heart and all of the things that are weighing upon me because it is pressing deep within my soul, such anguish on my heart that haven’t eaten for three days. My uncle was in tears in front of the city. I mean, I said that my soul, in chapter four, was in deep anguish, looking at Mordecai in his anguish. And all of the people are in anguish. In fact, I’m not the only one that fasted. All of the Jewish people faceted.” I mean, as soon as the king asked that question, you feel like this is the open door and you just seize the moment, right? But not Esther.

Verse four, just look at these actions. It’s such patience and dignity she carries within herself in this moment. And it says and Esther said, “If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him.” I mean, this is incredible. Instead of just forthrightly pleading on behalf of her people in the state that she’s in, she takes this as an opportunity to then serve. I mean, how many of us are built like that? Right? You think of all of the heartache and struggle that you go through in life and then your immediate response in some adversity that you’re facing is, “You know what? I need to serve some people right now, not just grabbing any ear willing to listen to me and tell them about all the tough things I’m going through. I need to be serving right now.” And that’s the demeanor that Esther carries in this moment. She serves and not only does she serve, she serves her enemy. We’re going to find that she doesn’t just talk to the king about coming to this banquet. She invites Haman to eat with her and the king. And some have wondered why in the world would Esther invite Haman, the one who’s written the law against her own people?

Let me just speculate for a moment. This is purely speculative, but read between the lines of what’s taking place. If Esther didn’t allow Haman to this dinner that she’s about to have for the king and Haman, then it leaves open the opportunity for Haman to escape the scenario that he has established for the Jewish people, meaning it can turn into a battle of he said, she said. If the king invited Esther in and says, “Okay, Esther, tell me what’s on your heart,” and Esther just immediately says, “It’s Haman. You got to understand what Haman did,” and Haman’s not even present in the room. Then they’ve got to go find Haman to have this back and forth over how to fix the scenario, but Esther doesn’t want to handle it like this. That’s not what’s going to take place. Esther’s going to confront the evil and she’s going to confront the evil right before her to make sure that the matter is resolved in those moments. This is not going to perpetuate. There’s lives at stake. There’s urgency in the moment. This is sinful, this is wrong, this is evil, and this needs to be dealt with right now.

And so Esther invites the king and Haman to this dinner and then verse five and six goes on and it says then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly so that we may do as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet which Esther had prepared. Very interesting on Esther’s behavior here. She’s stepping into this with such faith that not only did Esther risk her life to come before the king and make this request, but Esther with such confidence in her position before the Lord, Esther has already established the meal that she’s about to invite the king and Haman to. I mean, she’s already prepared the way for the Lord to continue to work. She’s already used the opportunity that God has given her as a conduit for his glory to set the table, literally, for the opportunity for God to rescue his people, for the Lord to move in that moment. It’s not to say that God needs us but it’s to recognize that God has given us certain abilities and capabilities. And rather than just sit on her hands, she saw this as an opportunity to prepare the way for what God ultimately wanted to do on behalf of his people. And so Esther when she comes before the king, she requests the King’s presence but Esther proactively has already prepared the food for which she’s going to invite the king to.

I think it’s a beautiful reminder for us. Don’t wait to recognize where God is on the move. Begin to prepare your heart and the platform for God to work through your lives. And this is what Esther does with this meal. This is why Xerxes, in the immediacy of this moment, demanded that Haman hastily come to what Esther the queen has prepared. In verse six, and they drank their wine at the banquet. The king said to Esther, “What is your request, for it shall be granted to you. And what is your wish? Up to half of the kingdom it shall be done.”

Now, let just say here, there is some wisdom here, ladies, on this. Especially for the ladies, but maybe we could generally say for everybody, but especially for the ladies. Let me just share this. If you’re going to make a big request for any guy, towards any guy, the best thing to do, and especially with your husband as we see her with Xerxes and Esther is wait till his belly is full, right? The best time to ask is after he has filled himself with the happiest of meals in life. Then you hit him with whatever it is that you want. And this is what Esther’s doing in this story. She gets asked the same question before King Xerxes. And then look at her request, verse seven and eight. She lays this request out once again. There we go. So Esther replied, “My request and my wish is if I have found favor in the sight of the king, and if it pleases the king to grant my request and do what I wish,” and this is crazy, “May the king and Haman come to the banquet which I have prepared for them, and tomorrow I will do as the king says.”

What is Esther’s request? She’s like, “You know what? I served my enemy and I’m going to do it again.” She sets up another banquet. Her request is, “Come to another banquet.” We know what’s pressing in the life of Esther and all the Jewish people here, but Esther’s request is, “Come to another banquet.” Now we speculated why Esther would request come to the banquet once. But I think it’s worth asking the question, why does she do it a second time? Why would Esther request this a second time of the king? Why not just share with the king what is on her heart?

Now, to reach a conclusion, again, purely speculative, but let me just give you maybe a thought as to why I think Esther’s doing what she’s doing. The accusation against Esther and all of the Jewish people was given by Haman in chapter three, verse eight. And the way that Haman presented the Jewish people to Xerxes, he didn’t identify the Jewish people. He said, “There is a people in your kingdom that obey their laws rather than your laws. They’re a thorn in your side. They’re going to be disrespectful to you and the best thing that you can do is just get rid of them. And if you get rid of them, I’ll make you rich.” That’s proposal Haman has made.

I think in knowing this on the back end of this, Esther wants to demonstrate the integrity of her people in a way that’s otherwise been stated to the king. She wants to demonstrate through her actions that the accusation that Haman made isn’t true. And she composes herself as an individual that honors and shows respect to the king and serves well. I think that kind of heart, when you see that kind of heart demonstrated in someone, it is difficult, over a period of time and seeing that perpetuated, to then look at someone else who simply makes verbal accusations and believe the accusations over and above the behavior you’ve seen demonstrated in the life of an individual. And guys, the same thing’s true for us in this world, right? People aren’t always going to like what you do, but continue to be the kind of person that God calls you to be because the perpetuation of that type of character will speak volumes far and above any accusation someone makes against you. And this is exactly what Esther does.

1 Peter chapter 2 verse 23 gives us a similar idea. If you ever read the book of 1 Peter chapter two to chapter four are all about how to live our lives in light of responsive persecution. Who are we to be as God’s people? And we can go around verbally trying to defend ourselves all day long but the thing that speaks is the way that you choose to live your life in light of that. Don’t hand over to someone else the kind of person they claim that you are, right? Don’t, give into that, but continue to live the kind of life that God calls you to be.

In 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 23, when he was reviled, talking about Jesus, he did not revile in return. When he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued to entrust himself to the one who judges justly. Jesus becomes our example in how we live our lives. And what you see in the character of Esther, the actions of Esther are a proof of the identity of which she’s established herself in the previous chapter. And chapter three became that faith chapter for Esther where she put her trust in who God was. Maybe in her life she probably knew about God, but there became a moment where not only did she intellectually ascent to the knowledge of God, but her life now rested in his hands. And her identity Was established there. And through that identity we learn many things about Esther.

I mean, you see in this book, remember who she was When the book of Esther started? She was a young lady, she was adopted by Mordecai. Her parents were no longer alive. She’s adopted by Mordecai. And Mordecai, at least from the narrative, we gather that Mordecai just hands her over to the king. He doesn’t fight for her. He doesn’t try to protect her. The king wanted to bring a bunch of women into his harem and choose one to marry. And it just looks like in the narrative that Mordecai just hands her over and potentially one of the reasons Mordecai just hands her over is because Mordecai is interested in the political position he might receive from this. You can’t say that fully in the book of Esther, but at least laid out the argument that’s a possibility. And then when Esther goes into the kingdom with the king, she’s told to deny her Jewishness. In fact, she goes against Jewish law and she eats food that would’ve not been kosher or been against everything that Jews are supposed to be. And in chapter 1, verse 10 and verse 20, Esther’s told not to tell anyone that she’s Jewish. So she denies her heritage and ultimately through denying her heritage, denies the faith.

And then Esther goes to spend a night with the king. And we’ve talked about what that probably means. I’ve left open she could have spent the night playing UNO and Skip-Bo by a campfire, but probably not, right? That’s what she did, but what we come to find out in this story is that is not who she is, that Esther comes to a place where she recognizes who she is to be in the Lord. And she takes on a new identity, a new purpose. She finds her worth, her value, her meaning.

Chapter four became that tipping point in her life where that story starts to unfold, where she rather than just simply know about God, she puts her faith in God and chooses to pursue him with her life even at risk to herself, that she is willing to approach the king. And then chapter four verse 14, that is that hinge point verse that we’ve established this whole series on, even put it on a banner, for such a time as this, for such a time as this. Chapter 4 verse 14, that Mordecai recognizes to Esther that God’s hand has been on her. And it’s evident through the way that God has orchestrated things to get her to a position before the king of Persia as a Jewish lady that was chosen to be a part of the King’s harem where it could have potentially been over a thousand women picked to be a part of this. And out of those women, this one lady has chosen to be the queen.

For what? Randomly? But Mordecai recognizes, “No, Esther. God’s divine hand has known about the need for the Jewish people that would arise. And his hand has been all over you for such a time as this.” And it’s in this moment that Esther, her identity is shaped. She finds incredible courage resting in the hands of God because she realizes that God’s hand has been on her. She finds incredible worth because she knows that God has become personal to her and God has loved her and lavished his love on her and allowed her to be in a position like this, that God, in doing that, has given her purpose and given her an identity to stand in him to the point that in verse 16, she so embraces that identity that she abandons any other to the point that she says, “And if I perish, I perish.” She finds her life content in the Lord and therefore she serves confidently and she serves securely, even under pressure.

It’s incredible to see because we’re about to see unfolding in that the exact opposite is here we have a young lady and she would’ve been young in this moment and under a very intense time in her life and she’s confident. And she’s so confident she’s already prepared the meal that she’s invited the king to. And she’s so confident in the way that God has lavished himself up on her that she’s even willing to serve others because of the identity she has in the Lord in such a time as this.

This story kind of reminds me, and maybe this will be a bad example so if it’s a bad example, I’ll never use it again. But there are a type of people, and maybe you’ve been this at some point in your life or maybe now, that they get so fanatical about sports that they get their special teams. And when you ask them about their special team, if their team plays and you talk to them about their special team, when they start to describe to you their love for the team and what happened in the game that was just played about their special team, they don’t refer to them as they, they refer to the team as we.

You ever talk to those kind of people in sports? They wear everything that happens. We won. It’s like, “You play for them? When did this happen?” or “We lost,” and they’re all just sad until the next game when their team might win again. They refer to the team in third person of which they’re a part of, right? There’s this plural third person form that it’s bizarre, right? If you have that kind of love for a team, you need to find new hobby, okay? You don’t play for them. You’ve never played for them. You won’t play for them, all right? It’s they. It’s not we, it’s they. But some people get that fanatical about their relationship to their teams, but I would say perhaps Esther’s confident because her relationship with the Lord is seen the same way.

But the reality is just like sports fans, it’s not because we, those that refer to their sports teams as we. It’s not that they did anything to help the team, they weren’t on the field, But the same’s true with Jesus. We don’t do anything to really help the Lord. The Lord already has all the strength but he invites us to be a part of the team. I mean, when you think about your relationship with God, he has played the greatest game to ever be played. And he walked out victoriously and he lets you get to walk on the field with his Jersey and he gives you a place to belong. And I think in this moment Esther is seeing that play out in her own life. “I didn’t do anything to be in this position. I was just born and God’s hand, God’s favor was upon me and he orchestrated things in such a way to bring me to a place for such a time as this.” How incredible that God would allow that to happen and Esther steps into that identity, incredible confidence, incredible security.

And then you take that story and you juxtapose this now to Haman. And you see as this story unfolds that this is a guy that does not have a clue. And rather than being secure like Esther, he is completely insecure in his identity. In fact, he presents himself in such a way that he is just so needy and desperate, looking for any avenue to show his worth and value. Look at this and verse 11, just skipped a little bit ahead for a moment. But verse 11, Then Haman told them. So Haman will into the dinner party. He comes back he’s he’s with his family now and it says this. And he told them of the glory of his riches. He comes back and he’s just on cloud nine. And he’s like, “Let me tell you something about me. I want to describe myself in the character of my book for a moment about what makes me so great.” And he told them of the glory of his riches, and as many sons, and every occasion, which the king had honored him and how he had promoted him above the officials in servants of the king.

Haman presents the identity of where he finds his glory, his purpose, his worth, his value. And he sees it in everything in this world that he might have his hand in, the places of his success. What makes me worth anything? Well, let me explain to you my glory. I’m rich. I have these possessions and I have kids. In his time period, a sign of wealth was to see how many children that you could have in this world. And every occasion he could think of that he could turn to you and say, “Look at how great I am. This makes me so important. Remind me of how important I might be by the things that I have in this world.”

You think about it, guys, Lots of things in life you’re not in charge of. They just happen to be what’s given to you. It’s only by the grace of God we have what we have, we are where we are. And the Bible tells us every good gift comes from the Lord. Let me just give you an example or a few of them. You had no control over where you would be born, when you would be born, to whom you would be born, the things that you would have when you’re born, the mental capacities, the abilities, the gifts. None of that was up to you. All of that given to you. And it doesn’t mean you don’t work hard for the things that you have. You may work hard for those things and hopefully you have the type of demeanor that is a hard worker. It’s a thing of integrity before for the Lord, that God calls us to be diligent in the things that we do for his glory to the benefit and blessing of others. But the things that, really, that you’ve gone through in life to experience, to the start that you’ve had and where you stand, those things were not to you. Any good gift that’s been given to us ultimately comes from the Lord.

It’s an important posture to carry in this world because I think even within our own culture, we’ve got to be careful because we live in one of the most blessed societies of all of history, but with great blessing comes great responsibility. And I find oftentimes in this Christian walk that I encounter some occasions Christians that confuse the American dream with Jesus’s dream for us, as if they’re one and the same. I know when a nation follows after the Lord, a lot of times there are just natural blessings that come from following after God. But the American dream and Jesus’s dream is not the same dream. In fact, Jesus told us in Matthew 19:24 that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich to get into heaven.

Sometimes we confuse the wealth of what we have with the blessing of God’s hand and we don’t recognize that quite honestly, those things lull us to the sleep to the spiritual need that we really have for Jesus. When we look at the physical blessings of this world and we equate it with the things of God, I find that oftentimes it can even be undermining to our brothers and sisters around the world that may not have, that love Jesus deeply. Doesn’t always equate that way that just because you love God, you have lots of things. In fact, the majority of Christians don’t have lots of things around this world. It just so happens that we might find ourselves in a place of blessing in comparison to other places in this world. And with that comes opportunity for such a time as this.

But the danger comes when we find our identity in all of those things. We feel like those things are what give us worth and value and meaning. And this is Haman in this moment. And this is why he is really, even though he is explained this like he’s something glorious, he’s a person of great desperation, completely insecure in his identity. And he needs this kind of affirmation from others and the things that he has in life because he really has no clue who he is even to begin with and who he’s under authority to and who he’s ultimately responsible before because he thinks life is about him. And he fails to recognize that it’s a gift.

A humble heart, a generous heart, a serving heart is evidence of one who has a proper perspective of where they are in life and why they have what they have. It’s by the grace of God. And when Haman, listing all of these great things that he has and trying to find us worth and value and meaning, I mean, we ultimately see where this leads because when he tries to be in control of his own value in this world based on everything that he does, and you go back in verse 13 and previous this in just a minute I’ll read, but look what look at Haman’s posture here is. “Yet all of this does not satisfy me.” Why? “Every time I see Mordecai, the Jew sitting at the king’s gate,” he goes on and tells us in verse nine. Haman went out after feast he had with Esther. Haman out that day, joyfully and pleased of his heart. He thinks he’s great because of what’s been given to him, it’s all about his identity. But when Haman saw Mordecai at the king’s gate, that he did not stand up or tremble for him, Haman was filled with anger against Mordecai. Haman controlled himself, however, and he went to his house, but he sent for his friends and his wife Zeresh.

So Haman, in trying to find his worth in everything because he can’t control every circumstance in life and he feels like everything needs to tell him how important he is because he sees himself as God, when one thing doesn’t go his way, what Haman do? He blows up and gets angry to the point that he wants to kill the Jews and he is thinking about Mordecai. Haman gets angry because he finds his identity in things and when he can’t get the thing to tell him that he matters and he’s worth something, then he gets angry at the thing, Mordecai.

Guys, the same thing’s true for us. What makes you angry? What frustrates you? When things don’t go your way, do you get angry and react? It’s an indication of where an idol may be in your life, just like Haman in the story. And Haman sees Mordecai as the problem and the reality is Mordecai is not the problem. Mordecai is an indication of the problem but the problem really more so is resting in the heart of Haman. And unfortunately from this point, he gets bad advice because he’s surrounded himself with friends who see their worth and identity in the same way.

In verse 14, Zeresh his wife and all his friends said to him, “Have a wooden gallow 50 cubits high made and in the morning, ask the king to have Mordecai hanged on it, and then go joyfully with the king to the banquet.” And the advice pleased Haman, so he had the wooden gallows made. If you think this is saying to us 50 cubits high 75 feet, this is just communicating to you how angry that Haman has become. Who builds something 75 feet high, right? And then to think the whole purpose of that is to kill someone on it. And that is exaggerated to the extreme of just how infuriated you are and how much you’re trying to find your worth in the things that this world and all it’s going to do is just frustrate you because you can’t control it. And ultimately there is a better place. Coveting is a great joy stealer.

Esther in the story, confident under pressure. Haman in the story really has no pressure, but completely unhappy. These two individuals laid out within the context of the book of Esther is to help us reflect in our own heart and ask the question how do you respond to adversity? It’s revealing to the maturity of your faith. When in your life do you act like a Haman? It’s revealing of where your heart might be holding onto high idols. And when in your life do you act like an Esther? It’s revealing if you’re trusting in the Lord. One is selfish, one is selfless. One comes in humble and gets honored, one comes in to be honored and ultimately ends up humble. One person leads to death and one path leads to life. All of it is determined by discovering where you find your identity.

Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 says this. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have for he himself has said to us, “I will never desert you nor will I ever abandon you,” so that we may confidently say, “The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” I think about the story of Esther and how it plays out in this world and how it might repeat itself in our own lives. Sometimes it is hard to keep trusting in the Lord when things don’t happen in our timing. We see who God wants us to be and sometimes when we feel like there’s injustices happening, it is difficult to be patient in that journey.

It reminds me of this story and I’ll close. There’s a man by the name of Sam Wesley. And you may think to yourself who in the world is Sam Wesley? Well, when I’m done with this, I don’t care if you remember who Sam Wesley is, even to this moment, but Sam Wesley, what makes Sam Wesley unique? He was a pastor in up Epworth, London. And in 1709 his house caught on fire and he had eight children. And the story goes as the house was burning, the kids were rescued except for one. There was one in the second floor and the neighbors happened to run over just in time. They actually built a ladder. Two men built the ladder. They climbed up each other and they reached up into the window of the second floor, grabbed the child, pulled the child out just as the roof caved in on the home and everything burned. Sam Wesley in that moment grabbed the hands of his children and said, “I am still a rich man. I may have lost my house, but let it go. I am a rich man because I have all of my children.” And he knelt down and he prayed. This man spent the next 40 years of his life serving as a pastor and it’s been remarked about his life that he saw very little fruit, but he served faithfully for 40 years.

What’s interesting about Sam Wesley is that the last child pulled out of that fire just as a roof collapsed was a child by the name of John Wesley. John Wesley went on to reflect on that moment in his life. He was six years old and he would often refer to himself as one plucked from the fire. John Wesley went on in his life to see in his lifetime over 500 people go into the pastoral ministry under him and tens of thousands of people trust in Christ. What is even more powerful about his story is that John Wesley’s ministry didn’t really kick off until about 1735. And if you look at the life of Sam Wesley, you’ll see Sam Wesley never lived to see the success of the fruit of his son, John Wesley. But John Wesley remembered that moment that God spared his life. Sam Wesley played a part of that.

And guys, when I think about our journeys, we don’t serve the Lord because of results. We live it because it’s true and the Lord is worth trusting in. God works those things out in his timing, but the beauty to the Lord isn’t the results of Sam Wesley’s life. The beauty to the Lord is that Sam Wesley was faithful to Christ, period. And the same is true with Esther. For such a time as this, but she even knew in being faithful to God, “If I perish, I perish, but either way God is worth it because of what God means to me.” Your identity is secure and confident. When we see our value in a God who pursues us the same, who loves us, who’s walked with us, who’s brought us to a place like this, for such a time as this, that we in our lives could be a conduit for his glory in this world, if we would but trust him and faithfully walk with him.

A Coming to Jesus Moment

God of the Gallows