Esther

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If you brought a Bible this morning, I’m going to encourage you to turn to the Book of Esther. It’s real easy to find. It’s only 17 books in. All right. So just count through that real quick. Uh, the book of Esther. It’s in an important place in the timeline of of your book. In chronological sequence there. Uh, your book isn’t written in chronological order. The Bible isn’t. Uh, but what happens is the last three books of of those, 17 are the last of the historical books of Israel’s history. And so if you ever want to know about the history of Israel, the first 17 books of your Old Testament, do that. And then every book of the Old Testament beyond there kind of fills in the details of what happens within the history of Israel. Some of those historical books intertwine with one another. If you ever read, uh, Samuel’s Kings and Chronicles, you’ll notice that some of the same stories are intertwined in between, uh, the historical events. But when you get to the end where Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are, you’ll find the last little bit of Israel. Esther’s. Excuse me, Israel’s history through Esther, Ezra and and Nehemiah. Here’s a quick tidbit. If you’re ever in a group where you might win money on this, Esther is one of only two books of the Bible named after a woman. Yeah, right. All the ladies. Okay. Can you can you remember the first one? What was the first book that we talked about together? Named after a lady? Ruth.

That’s good paying attention. Esther’s written 500 years before the birth of Christ. And and historically on the timeline, the way it works. We’ve discussed this together. That Israel is a nation is brought forth into into the land of Canaan, promised by God, and brought there through Moses, and then on to Joshua as he led them across the Jordan River into Israel. God gave them a promise during that time that if they follow him, he’ll bless them. If they turn against him, they will be cursed. And so the nation of Israel had three kings shortly after their coming into the land of Israel. And right after those three kings there was a split among the nation. Ten tribes went to the north, two tribes came to the south. And the ten tribes that went to the north never had a godly king eventually carried into captivity and 722 BC by the Assyrians. The two tribes of the South, often referred to in the Bible as the tribes of of Judah, or talked about as Judah, representing the two of two tribes, that those tribes continue to have a reign of godless kings and godly kings eventually led into captivity finally in 586 BC, taken there by King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonians. God told them that for 70 years they would be in captivity at the end of the captivity, God would allow them to go free.

The medo Persians come in and conquer the land of Babylon, through which the Babylonians had conquered Israel. When the medo Persians or the Persians conquer Babylon, the first thing that they do is they they release an edict freeing Israelites to return back to their homeland under King Cyrus. That reign under King Cyrus was then passed on to King Darius and finally on to King Xerxes. If you read historically in the timeline Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, it’s somewhat confusing in the way that it’s broken down because they’re not necessarily written chronologically. So when you read the Book of Ezra, the first six chapters deal with the time of Serious and Cyrus, Excuse me and Darius. And then in chapter six and seven, there’s this break in the timeline, and the story of Esther fits in the Book of Ezra between chapter six and seven. After as Esther. Her story plays out through her salvation. The Jewish people is brought forth. Then the rest of the Book of Ezra carries on and the Book of Nehemiah along with it. Ezra gives this explanation to the people of Israel. Does does God still care about us? And does God care enough about us to protect us? Though we are disobedient to him, and God brought us into captivity. And the answer to that question is yes. Through Esther, God intervenes in the life of the Jewish people and he spares them.

Book of Esther is about a lady that God uses when she seeks the Lord to save her people. And in this book, you see this, this challenge between two characters that kind of pit against one another, between this man named Hayman and this lady named Esther, there is a a battle between pride and humility taking place. The world gives this thought that that life is this dog eat dog kind of world. And and it’s survival of the fittest and and the best get to the top. Whereas God’s Word says, whoever loses his life for my sake. Will gain it. To get to the top, you’ve got to go to the bottom. And in the book of Esther you see the idea of pride and humility played out beautifully before the Lord and what his desire is. The story of Esther starts with the king Xerxes. Kings during this time were considered gods, and women were often degraded. During this Persian Empire, kings were thought to need to have many wives and many children to display the greatness of their kingdom. Darius has just passed the kingdom on to to Xerxes, and the tendency was in this Persian Empire that as the king had many wives and many children, that the king wasn’t to be bothered with his children until the children became at least to the age of of five. So it’s likely that Xerxes was never around Darius until he was five years old, and the Persian Empire, for which Xerxes ruled, took over the entire known world from Greece to India, from from Pakistan to Sudan and Egypt, Persia dominated the world.

Xerxes was considered the the king of all the kings in the Persian Empire. If you’ve. I don’t want to endorse you watching this, but if you have seen the movie 300, Xerxes is the king who appears in that movie. He is considered tall, dark and handsome. I was thinking I was describing myself as I read about him, right? I let my mind wander about that. Last night I kept thinking, man, anytime I do anything awesome, I’m going to say hashtag Xerxes after it. I was watching the game, watching the basketball games last night. They would drain a three. I’m like, hashtag Xerxes. That was great. Yeah. My son came in the room after I was thinking about it. He goes, daddy, I’m cute. I’m hashtag your Xerxes. Do a good job. You know, say, Xerxes was that kind of guy that everyone wanted to be, and all people were jealous of it. Xerxes lived in Susa. That’s where the capital was for Persia, which was modern day Iran. Much of biblical history outside of the nation of Israel takes place in the Iraq region, which is where the capital of Babylon was, in the Iran region, where the capital of Susa is. Is there writing in the Book of Esther today? Xerxes had conquered the known world.

And through Esther. God is showing us how, even in pagan nations, he’s at work. The story of Esther starts with this giant party. I would say if if we had anything to compare it to in life, it would be like the frat party of all frat parties. The Bible tells us that this thing lasted for six months. You’re going to have to give me a click here because I don’t have control. For six months. Technology falling apart again on me here for a full 180 days. He displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty. Some people estimate that as many as 15,000 leaders were at this party for six months. I don’t know how this would go for you at your job, but to take six months off for nothing but a drunken stupor. I mean, I don’t think you get employed after that, but. But for Esther and the story of Xerxes, Xerxes is throwing that kind of party. And it says in verse five, when these days were over, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days. And so what do we do? After a great party? We throw another one. We try to top it. And so he tells us that it lasts for seven days. And the enclosed garden of the king’s palace, for all the people, from the least to the greatest, who are in were in the citadel of Susa.

And then Xerxes during this party gets this great idea. He wants his wife to come and present herself to the people. After all, the the king of all the kings and the God of the land needs to display the beauty of the women and especially his queen. And so it says this in verse ten, on the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served, who served him not even given a shot at those names to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come, and the king became furious and burned with anger. Why would the Queen refuse to do this? I don’t know what it’s like when when ladies get older, but I know when they’re. When little girls are young, they like to press around, right? I mean, you think you got all the wealth. You get to flaunt this in a moment. Do you not want to? You don’t want to come in in that dress and just let people tell you you’re beautiful. I mean, what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with that? But but the context of the history, the way that it’s been described through commentaries, is to suggest that when Xerxes asked Queen Vashti to come before him and all the people, that what Xerxes was asking is that the queen would only wear her crown.

Xerxes wanted her to walk around without any clothing. And so the Queen responded by rejecting Xerxes request, embarrassing Xerxes in front of his friends, but rightly so. And so what’s Xerxes response? Well, he’s the god of this world, right? Whatever he says goes. And so it tells us in the next passage. Give me that. When the king’s see, then the king’s personal attendants propose. Let a search be made for a beautiful young virgin for the king. Then let the young woman who pleases the king be queen instead of Vashti. This advice appealed to the king, and and he followed it. And so the story tells us that the king looks throughout all of the land for a lady, that that he might marry. And go on one more time. So it says now the king was attracted to Esther more than any of the women. They they brought in this harem of ladies. And she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. So he set a royal crown on her head and made her queen. Instead of Queen Vashti. You know when you read the book of Esther? My tendency with this book has always caused a little bit of frustration within me. Um, and sometimes when we read within Scripture, we, I think we come to it with this expectation that that what God needs to use is good people and gifted people and charismatic people.

But what you find when you read the Bible is that not really God. God really just uses people, messy, gifted or not. Not so attractive. Attractive young. Not so young. God uses people. But for sure, when God uses people, none of those people are perfect people. But when I when I tell you that I’ve wrestled with the Book of Esther in my own personal life and the way that God has used it, I found out that so did church history. The Jewish people loved the Book of Esther because it created a holiday for them. But church history basically ignored Esther for the first seven centuries. In fact, when you go back and look over the first seven centuries of church history, there’s commentaries all over, uh, about the Bible, but there is no commentary on on the book of Esther for the first seven centuries. When you read about the reformers, men like John Calvin and Martin Luther never really had anything positive to say. In fact, John Calvin never taught about this book. And Luther to say that that he he strongly disliked this book would be an underestimation. And the reason is this the book of Esther never talks about God. It never talks about a spiritual life or internal reason related to God as to why God allows these events to take place.

And so when you come to a church on Sunday morning and you begin to preach from the book of Esther looking for how God works into that, it’s a difficult text to look at. And when you read about the life of Esther, you discover that Esther’s upbringing wasn’t wasn’t the best. She was raised by a relative named Mordecai. And Esther’s life is the opposite of Daniel, who we examined last week. Daniel, as a young boy taken into captivity, determined from the very beginning he’s going to live a life in honor of God, regardless of the consequences. And Esther decides she’s going to live a life in honor of whatever she feels like, regardless of what God has to say. If you read her story and you try to examine why God would use her, you continue to to look at the fact that it’s for no other reason than by the grace of God. When the story tells us Ezra breaks dietary laws, Ezra sleeps with someone who’s not her husband. Ezra marries someone who isn’t a believer. Ezra hides her faith from other people, and she doesn’t take a biblical stand until she’s pressured into it by by her relatives. As far as following God goes, Ezra’s life in the beginning of the Book of Esther gives no indication that she desires to to know God and grow closer to him.

Esther’s story doesn’t fit with godly character. But it does fit with God’s grace. Um, somebody asked me once. Uh, actually, I think we were talking about it this week, too. But what’s ministry like? What’s it like doing ministry for the Lord? And this is the way I describe it. It’s a beautiful mess. It is. It’s a beautiful mess. It’s beautiful to see what God does within our hearts. And we’re messy, right? The you know, the greatest thing about ministry is people. The sin. God transformed lives, and to watch God work in hearts and watch God encourage us to pursue him with our lives. And you know, the greatest difficulty of ministry is people. Right. And and the challenges that come from that and the way I learned about my own sanctification through through the pressure that happens and those relationships. Grace is messy. And with the Book of Esther. You see that very beautifully. And all you discover as you read scriptures that God uses messy people for his ministry. Noah in the Bible wasn’t a righteous man, but. But God gave his favor to him and called Noah a righteous after he received God’s favor. Abraham constantly lied about who his wife was. Moses was a murderer and David adultery and murder. Peter denied Jesus on the cross and he cut off a guy’s ear. And and people look at him as the leader of of the early church. Paul was a murderer.

Women, multiple women mentioned in Scripture were were a little suspect. But but what we discover is that God desires to for us to know him despite us. And God desires to use us, despite us. It’s what his grace is about. We we don’t transform ourselves. God’s grace transforms us, and God often uses circumstances to do that. God uses challenges in our lives to awaken our eyes to the need that we really have for him. And in that his grace is made known. And that’s the story of Esther. You see the King Xerxes ruling and reigning, and he appoints Esther, who is a Jew, as his queen of the kingdom. But then we begin to learn in the story of Esther about this man named Haman. And this is where pride comes into battle. It says this about Haman. All the royal officials at the king’s gates knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor. Mordecai was Esther’s relative. Some believe he was. He was Esther’s cousin, and Mordecai raised Esther. And so when Mordecai sees Haman, he refuses to to bow down to him. There are people in this world that we meet that we easily give honor to because they they bring integrity in the way that they live life. And there are people in this world that are difficult to bring honor to, but we do so because of position.

And Mordecai is that individual that commands honor because of his position and demands no honor because of lack of integrity. And Mordecai in this moment refuses to bow down to Haman, who is a leader in Xerxes kingdom. And the response of Harman in these moments is to not only look at his hatred and allow that to build for Mordecai, but to also allow that hatred to build towards Mordecai. People look at the next part of this passage. It says, when Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay honor to him, he was enraged. Yet, having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai instead of Haman, looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people. The Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes. Dispatches were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces with the order to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, women and children on a single day, the 13th day of the 12th month, the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. Mordecai, or excuse me, Haman orders a genocide. Can I tell you? You know, we look at this passage and we say that. Yeah, that’s way above and beyond what you need to go. This boy is struggling with pride. He definitely feels the need to for people to validate him in his position because he is lacking somewhere else.

When Heyman desires to kill Mordecai and his people. Can I tell you that the pressure Heyman felt may be expressed in a way that we we may say to ourselves, you know, I wouldn’t go that far. But pressure in our lives has the tendency to draw the hatefulness that we’re seeing in Haimen out. Difficult circumstances reveal what’s truly in our heart. When when you experiencing challenging things in your life, it reveals what rests with inside. I mean, you could take that relationally. Heyman’s looking at this with Mordecai, but relationally you could look at that between your relationship with you and your boss or you and your spouse. Are you and your children. When something rubs you the wrong way, do you see that as giving you an excuse to behave with a hatred of Hayman in your life? I’m justified in what I’m doing right now. And so with vengeance, I charge you right. It’s not my fault I’m acting this way. You’ve provoked it. And so now you deserve every bit of this. Uh, I would say looking at the story of Hayman. And the circumstances taken away. That there is no excuse in our pride to behave in such way. Regardless of how someone behaves towards us, we have no excuse before the Lord to treat them with ill will and return. Heyman struggles that of pride. And when the pressure is placed on him. It reveals what’s in the inside.

You could even think about this a little bit further with Xerxes. The commitment of marriage and what God has created that for. And Xerxes looks at the moment and where he is embarrassed and he’s faced with this pressure, and the way that he responds is not with humility, but with pride. And so what does he do? He just gets rid of his wife. And Heyman in these moments. Rather than respond in humility and work through the tension between he and Mordechai, what does he do? He responds in Pride and Destruction. And now, because of the stress that that Hayman has created on the nation of Israel, it brings us to a place to ask the question but, but how will Esther respond? The two characters so far within the story has just illustrated for us. Anger. And frustration. So how will Esther respond? I’ll tell you before I read it that Esther’s response is one of godliness. But the question maybe we ask ourselves as we get ready to look at the way that Esther chose to respond in these moments is how how do you respond to a challenge? When you’re under pressure. When life isn’t going your way or you’re in those dark moments. Does God care? How do you look at those moments that he may get the glory? When you look at this next passage, this is the only time within the context of the Scripture. I feel that that God has truly hinted at, and it says this in chapter four and verse 13, he, talking about Mordecai, sent back this answer.

Do you not think this is coming to Esther? Do you not think that because you are in the king’s house, you alone of all the Jews will escape? For if you remain silent at this time relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place. But you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai, go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendance will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. Can I tell you? Based on Esther’s response to the circumstance? I think that Esther, in these moments are seeking God. That’s why the Bible is talking about this fasting. Oftentimes, when the Jews would fast, it was this time of prayer before the Lord, and it was a time to just rid themselves of everything other than focusing on God. And begging him. To intervene. Through this circumstance, what Azhar teaches us in this moment, in order to rise above the challenge and for godliness to be exerted from your heart.

This is what you do when you find yourself in darkness. Draw to God in humility. Meaning the first two individuals response were from pride within themselves. But when you recognize the tension in a moment, in that moment, the answer to the crisis isn’t found within your own strength or the encouragement that Esther draws to herself and to her own people is when. When you find yourself in darkness, when you find yourself in tension, draw to God in humility. All the answers she finds are in humility. Maybe in a simplistic way, we’d say this when you feel pressed. Seek Jesus. God uses these challenges against the Jews and the circumstance to awaken the need for Esther’s spiritual life. And when we face pressure, God’s desires that we draw to him with humility. Listen to this Psalm 51 and verse 17. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Philippians four six be anxious for nothing. Can I tell you that the tendency of people who struggle with pride is to live this life dependent upon yourself. But the people in this world who live life dependent on God walk in humility because they rest assured that the promises given to them come by God’s strength and not their own. Listen, if you’re here this morning and you feel like in your life you’re walking in that darkness, you’re looking at a position like Ezra where you see no escape and you’re feeling all alone.

When you bring that before the Lord, you become powerful in him. Here’s why. You were never designed to live life apart from him. You were never designed to live life on your own. God created us for him, and God created us in community that we would reflect his glory to each other. It’s in our humility before God, in the solace of those moments, elevating him above our problems, that we find his grace sufficient, as Paul says. When you find yourself in darkness, what is your reaction? Is it to begin with pride in defending yourself? Or is it with humility to come before your king? Observation two is this of Esther humility before the Lord draws you to the heart of God, and God to your heart. James talks about this in a beautiful way. Not only should we, we seek God in humility, but know when we seek God in humility. It’s the beauty that God loves in our hearts to be demonstrated. It’s a beautiful thing to him. God looks for that humble heart surrendered to him, because it’s in that humble heart that God now has the freedom to move as he desires. In James chapter four, he starts to express this, this need for humility before God, because it draws us near to his heart and his heart near to us. And James says this in verse six, God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.

Draw near to God in verse eight, and he will draw near to you in verse ten. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and he will exalt you. You know, I shared in the beginning the nation of Israel after the first three kings ending with, with Solomon, that the the nation went into a split and there was never a godly king in the north. And there were a few godly kings in the South. But do you know when you read about those ungodly kings, God continues to say the same remark about them. And that’s this. And he never humbled himself before God. It’s as if. Do you want to know the indication of why this individual lived in pride and lived in sin and lived for himself? Apart from me. He never humbled himself before God. Second Chronicles 33 and verse 23 says this about King Ammon. King Ammon did not humble himself before the Lord. There’s a place in all of our lives that Jesus has promised us the opportunity for salvation. But he says this. It’s not found in yourself. It’s on me. Jesus came to the cross to die for you. By grace are you saved through faith? And that not of yourselves. It’s the gift of God, not of works, lest no one should boast. Ephesians two eight and nine. Humbling yourself before Christ and the sacrifice that he has brought you, brings you life in him.

But do you know that salvation brings us life? But the Christian life continues to grow in that same sense. The way that you succeed in the Christian life is surrender. It’s funny, the the Bible talks a lot about spiritual warfare and battle. And when you go into warfare and battle, the last option is surrender, right? But when it comes to the Christian life, in order to thrive in God, the first option and the only option is surrendering before him. If you desire for godliness to be made known in those moments, Haman and Xerxes humble yourself before him. Esther. Humble yourself before him, that he may exalt you in due time. Observation three is this. If you anticipate or desire to be used of the Lord, start with humility before him. Not only in this moment has Esther said, you know, God, we need you, and I’m seeking you with all my heart. But she’s also recognized God, and I want to be used by you. Not only do we need humility to to to seek after the Lord, but but humility allows the Lord to to move and within us and use us. In Psalm ten and verse 17 says this, O Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble, you will strengthen their heart. In those moments, God uses that opportunity before him to strengthen your heart and service to him.

But can I tell you as as we’re talking about humility this morning? Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself. So we talk about humility. We’re not we’re not saying that you need to look at yourself as worthless. We’re saying is to think selfless. Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself. Humility is about thinking selfless. In order for God to be able to use you, you’ve got to consider the needs of the people more important than yourself. In order for Hayman to allow God to work in that moment, he has to see the need for the relationship of Mordechai to be more important than his pride in that moment. In order for Xerxes to allow God to work in his marriage, he he has to see the need for that relationship to be elevated over his own embarrassment. Thinking less of self isn’t what humility is about, but thinking selfless is what humility is. Humility seeks God’s strength in this moment, and Esther lays herself aside that God may use her humility before the Lord has opened her eyes to the opportunity to serve. Humility in these moments is recognized for Esther that maybe, maybe God has me in these positions of of being a queen for the very purpose of saving my people. And you think about the way it works in your life, right? When what position has God put you in? What talents and gifts has God given you to serve him? And he’s got you in that position that in humility you may see how God can magnify that giftedness to proclaim his glory.

I think sometimes in our life we are really anxious to use our gifts for him. We we want to serve God. But then we start looking at the problems that we’re facing, and we and we forget how big our God is, don’t we? I can’t be bold in this moment for you, Lord. What are they going to say, right? Aw, God. How how are they going to react or what? What if they reject me or God? What if it costs me? Look, look at this moment. God, who’s even. Who’s even going to care? What can I tell you in those moments? The important thing to remember. God’s got you in a position to use your gifts and talents for him. And what needs to be in the forefront of our mind is to not tell our God how big our problems are, but to tell our problems, how big our God is. Esther, in these moments in her humility, then begins to recognize she had been focusing on the problem. And and now all of a sudden, she’s seeing her position as as a divine place that God has used her in. First Corinthians 127 it says this God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. I love that. It reminds us that when when we feel at our weakest, it’s it’s the display that God’s glory is going to be infinitely be be made known in those moments.

It’s in darkness that his light shines through. And can I think of a different way and say this what if God’s holding you accountable for every gift and talent he gives? What is God blessed you with in this world? I mean, I look at Astor and I could judge her immediately. Of course. Astor, I cannot see this. Right. Doesn’t it make sense that all of a sudden you became queen? I mean, God’s definitely got you in that place. And all of a sudden, I find myself, as I’m preaching to Astor, saying it to me. Of course. Nathaniel, it makes so much sense. I mean, you know the Lord. Why wouldn’t you honor him in that moment? To make his goodness known? God uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. The fourth is this true humility takes true sacrifice. Before you see. Serve the need of others. Excuse me. Before you serve the the need of others, you’ve got to be concerned with the need of others above your own. Humility is all about honoring another. If. If I simply put it like this, it would be say this proud people feel the need to fight for their position. Humble people already know Jesus did. And Jesus was in the argument with his disciples, and they wanted to be greatest in the kingdom.

And Jesus was response. He who is least that is the greatest in my kingdom. Recognizing we understand that Jesus has already accomplished it for us. There’s no need to fight for a position because there is no position greater than what Christ has already offered to us. And proud people are fighting as their own king in this world, scrapping for things of this life that will pass away. But the humble before God already know that what Jesus has given you is far greater. And so before him we can walk with this idea of serving the well-being of others, that they may be lifted up in him to. True humility takes true sacrifice. And I would say it only is possible, but recognizing your identity in Christ. Philippians two eight says this Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Jesus recognized in his humility the need to elevate others. Humility brings about sacrifice, and Christ becomes the ultimate sacrifice for us and demonstrating to us how we have been called into this world to give of ourselves for one another. Next. I would say this about Ezra humility as the avenue that God uses to bring life. You know, in this moments when you read chapter four and verse 13 that Mordecai had come to Esther previous to this and and he told Esther the problem, the king has just issued a law, and he’s going to take the life of the Jews.

And Esther’s initial response was, uh, go tell somebody else, right? Oh that’s scary. I don’t want to do that. Right. Go tell somebody else. And Mordecai comes back to Esther and he says, listen, Esther, you’re fooling yourself if you don’t think that God has you in this position and you’re fooling yourself. You think because you’re queen, you’re going to escape this moment? They’re going to come for your life? But God is definitely going to intervene and save his people. He’s promised that. So he can either use you or he can lose you. But you need to understand your need to stand for God in these moments. He doesn’t need you, Esther. But humility. Because the avenue that God uses to bring life. In our world. It works like this. Um, when you care about people, uh, I feel like if if we argue for for Jesus or we argue with other people about Jesus being confident in him, um. We lose. But we talk about Jesus for his glory to the benefit of other people. We win. Meaning this in Christianity, God has called us in this world to watch lives be transformed to him, to proclaim his goodness, to to watch people be discipled in Christ, or watch people come to salvation in Christ. And we proclaim that with each other. But but on the same token, we recognize Christianity.

Um. It makes sense. It is the most logical belief system. That exists because it’s true, right? Um, I don’t want to get into the validations of Jesus and scripture, but when you study those things and proving Jesus to be who he says he was, and validating the Bible to be inerrant, and you see God’s Word resting in that, and nothing else in this world can even compare to to what the way that Jesus in Scripture communicates to us and in truth, that becomes very easy for us in arrogance to argue people to Jesus. But rather in this and humility, we bring people to Jesus by proclaiming his glory to the benefit of all people. It’s not about I’m right and you’re wrong. It’s about Jesus and his life that he desires to bring to you. Yeah. I don’t care if we walk out this morning and everyone feels like we’re right and wrong. What I want to walk out this morning, truth is important. I want us to walk in truth. But. But most importantly, it’s just to see the significance of Jesus. Jesus has come to set you free. Humility brings life in Christ’s humility. He brought life and the humility that you bring to to others. It brings life. In these moments, I can’t help but think that Esther maybe is thinking about this passage that God gives in Second Corinthians seven. It says this if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, I will forgive them of their sins and heal their land in humility.

God’s bringing life. In Esther’s humility, God is offering life to the people. Last is this. Pride dies with a man. But humility impacts generations. If you were to read the story of Esther, what you discover is that Esther comes before the king eventually and shares with him what Haman has done against her people. The king doesn’t even know Esther is a Jew at this point, and she she reveals that she’s Jewish, and the Haman’s brought this against her people. And so the king is outraged, and the king goes out and he hangs Haman. Pride dies with a man, but humility impacts generations. Proverbs 1618 says this pride goes before destruction. But we find in this passage that humility lives on. Give me one more click. Tells us. As a result of what happened, Mordechai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold, and a purple robe of fine linen, and the city of Susa held a joyous celebration for the Jews. It was a time of happiness and joy and gladness and honor, and every province, and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews with feasting and celebration, and many people of other nationalities became Jews because of fear of the Jews had seized them.

What happens after the edict that Haman has released to kill all of the Jews? The king then releases an edict saying The Jews may fight for the lives and the Jews are to be spared. And so in chapter nine, the Jews began to rejoice over what God has done in giving them life through the humility that they brought before God. And in fact in chapter ten says that the Jews then create a celebration called pure in honor of that, on March 15th of this year, the Jewish people celebrated Purim. The humility of Esther in this moment, though she didn’t live previous to this, a godly life in this moment, in this circumstance, she saw her need for God to intervene. And God used that circumstance to turn Esther’s heart to the Lord. And in fasting. Her people sought after him, and in humility they they sought after God. And the result of that is the nation of Israel was spared. And through her humility and through the nation of Israel’s humility, life is given. And through that humility, generations have been impacted, that here we are, 2500 years later, still celebrating what God did in the life of Esther. Pride dies with a man, but humility impacts generations. This is just an extra touch. But the nation of Israel, when they gather to read the Book of Esther, they do that during the time of Purim. It’s it’s a day.

It’s a it’s a holy day. They celebrate just for celebrating. Have just for celebration and joy. It’s a festive holiday. And when they read the Book of Esther, every time Haman’s name is mentioned, they give all the kids rattles. And every time his name is mentioned, all the kids shake the rattle so loud that no one can even hear or utter the name Haman. Pride leads to destruction. But humility cures. When we’re in, moments where we’re pressured, what comes out? I’d like to think that we’re no different than Haman and Xerxes. I don’t want to think that way. But we are. When we’re stressed. When we’re upset. When you do me wrong. Heyman comes out. When you look at this, you look at this story and you say, you know, I’m thinking, how in the world can I relate to my people being attacked, right? I mean, the story of Esther, really, when you break it down is how how do we relate to a story where, where this nation is going to destroy people? I don’t feel like we’re ever going to be pressured, or maybe in my lifetime to be pressured where this nation is going to be destroyed, or we could be destroyed. It might happen, but I don’t feel any present danger right now. How can I relate to this? Can I tell you this morning? Even though you may not be in a physical battle for life? You are in a spiritual battle.

And sometimes when we are fighting a spiritual battle, we have the tendency to get fed up with people, right? I mean, you go in the world. Excuse me? You go in the world and you represent the Lord, and you talk to people about him. And and they just just wall after wall you’re hitting. And eventually you get frustrated and and all of a sudden this Heyman anger starts building up with inside of you. And you just get fed up with the battle. With the reminder of Esther. Is this. When you face those challenges. Go to Jesus and humility. Fast. Pray before him. Seek the benefit of that relationship that that may be honoring to God and and the people that you serve may be lifted up in him. You may not fight a physical battle, but you do fight a spiritual one. We fight a battle every day between pride of trusting and myself, and the humility of trusting in the Lord. Needing to elevate my own position by my power. Trusting in God to elevate us through his. We don’t win by our power. We win by our king. And God has given you opportunities and talents and resources to represent him in this world, and he’s holding you accountable for that. How can God use you in those moments to make his glory made known? The reminder toss as we face those stresses. Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Tell your problem. How big your gods are or your god is. Excuse me? And in humility, seek him.

Daniel

Malachi