This lesson has been coming for some time...But I had to wait on God's timing!
And as the preparation work finally began...God opened up to me... Just how amazingly PERFECT this Story speaks to our generation... In every way today's message needs to speak on the topic I felt led to bring!
So we will follow God's Story of Esther...And let His Word speak to THIS generation concerning our greatest needs and responsibilities today! Because remember... Every Old Testament story is there for our benefit...Even... And especially today!
1 Corinthians 10:11-12 (NKJV)
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition (warning, caution), upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Romans 15:4 (NKJV)
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
So... Without further introduction or expansion...Let's dive in... And allow God's Word to speak for Itself!
During the time of the kings of Israel...The Nation was split into two Kingdoms...
The Northern Kingdom of Israel was eventually taken over by the Assyrians, and never returned! (722 BC) The Southern Kingdom (Called Judah), was later taken over by the Babylonians... (605 BC) Then, in 540 BC, the Medes & Persians conquered the Babylonians...And all of the fallen nations under Babylon, became the property of the Persians! With this victory, along with the territory already taken by the Persians...The Persians ruled the largest area of land and people the world had ever seen...
Covering the areas we now know as Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and sections of modern-day Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Saudi Arabia.
Under the Persians many Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem...But some chose to stay in the Persian Empire in which they had grown accustomed to by then...
The Story of Esther occurs between 478-473BC...Between the time of rebuilding the Temple in 516BC...And when Nehemiah rebuilds the walls of the city of Jerusalem in 445BC...Artexerxes, the King who gave Nehemiah permission to rebuild Jerusalem... Was most probably Xerxe's (Ahasuerus') son! (Ah-has'-you-air-us)
Esther was a child of parents that had been taken captive some 100 years earlier, from the tribe of Benjamin...Her parents had died when she was young…And she was raised by an older cousin named Mordecai...Mordecai served in the Persian ruler's palace...So, Esther had a very humble early life...
As a woman (which was looked down on in the culture), Who was also born in Jewish exile because her nation was conquered and occupied by the Persians...
Who had no parents, no education, no skills, no real future mentioned in Scriptures...
She was socially in poverty...And then... It happened!
Poverty to Prosperity!
At this time, Ahasuerus (Xerxes) was king...And in an act of arrogant pride and anger... He had his wife, Queen Vashti removed from her royal position! Then the king gathered all of the most beautiful young virgins from the land under his eunuch, Hegai... Imagine how many there were to choose from! (25 million?)
And had somewhat of an Ancient Beauty Pageant! With the winner, taking the crown... The ultimate crown! The ancient Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Ahasuerus selected 400 women as finalists! They were all given beauty preparations for twelve months...To win one single day with the king!!! To then be sent to the king's house of concubines, never to see the king again unless called upon by name...
Esther was beautiful in figure and appearance, and was chosen as one of the "contestants" to come to the king! Because of her beauty and disposition…Esther was favored by all who met her! She was given special treatment and advise by the eunuch in preparation to meet the king...
And when she met the King…She won his heart over all the women of the kingdom... And she was crowned as the new Queen! (Fairest of 25 million!)
Through all of this…Esther never revealed her true nationality to anyone... At the counsel of her older cousin, Mordecai...
Mordecai And Haman...
The next major event in this story…Is the promotion of a certain man named Haman…To a place above all the princes of the kingdom...Haman was an arrogant, selfish, and immature man...And when all the people bowed to Haman as he passed, Mordecai would refuse to pay homage to him! His reason given was simply, "Because Mordecai was a Jew."
Which probably meant...Haman wanted homage that was too close to worship…And is forbidden by Mosaic law... (But not bowing in respect to authority)
He did not make a scene... Did not rebel and riot...He simply, quietly stood by his convictions!!
APPLICATION: You and I are being called on by the "laws of our land"... More and more...To stand against God's Will... Against God's Morals... Against God Himself!
We are being called to accept, bow down to…And even contribute to things…Which break God's Heart and destroy lives!
JUST AS SURELY AS MORDECAI STOOD HIS GROUND...JUST AS SURELY AS SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO STOOD THEIR GROUND AGAINST ALL BABYLON FOR GOD...WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE FOR THE ONE WHO DIED FOR US! RIGHT HERE... TODAY... WE ARE NO DIFFERENT!
And take special note... Haman was an Agagite... From King Agag of the Amalekites...It was these Amalekites, who had attacked Israel when vulnerable in the desert coming from Egypt...These Amalekites, which God many years later ...
Instructed Saul to utterly destroy when in battle with them... But he was disobedient and let many live! That failure brought this seed which almost completely destroyed the Jewish people!!! God's Ways are so far above ours... Trust Him!!
Haman, in his immature selfishness and pride...Became determined... To not only do away with Mordecai...But label all who may look upon him unfavorably... For destruction! He wanted ALL of the Jewish people DEAD! The resistance crushed! Cancelled!! (Hmmmm…)
So Haman met with his soothsayers and cast lots…To determine the day fate would pick to execute his plan in killing all of the Jews...This casting of lots, was called casting, "Pur!" (Remember that)
The lot fell on the 13th day of the last month of the year (Adar).Giving the period of almost a year before the day of execution!
APPLICATION: This of course, was God's Sovereignty...
God was giving a Grace Period to the Jews...A period of time in which He could work on their behalf...IF... THEY would seek Him and step out in FAITH for HIM!
WE ARE LIVING IN THAT PERIOD OF GRACE AT THIS EXACT HOUR MY FRIENDS!! WILL WE STEP OUT IN FAITH FOR HIM? LET'S SEE HOW...
Haman exaggerated his story about the Jews to the King…Telling him that an entire group of people in the kingdom would not keep his laws…And we’re a threat because their beliefs were different from all other people!
Esther 3:8-11 (NKJV)
8 Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, "There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people's, and they do not keep the king's laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain. 9 If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the king's treasuries." 10 So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. 11 And the king said to Haman, "The money and the people are given to you, to do with them as seems good to you."
Haman made the religious beliefs of the Jews...Look as though they were a threat to his kingdom and society...Which was completely untrue and unfounded! They were law-abiding, good citizens! Haman simple refused to be unaccepted and honored! And in his pride, wanted them ALL gone! Haman worked his plan by offering to make it very profitable for the king to help him...By bringing an extremely large amount of money to his government in return! (From Jews property, no doubt)
-10,000 talents of silver…That is equivalent to $165,000,000 TODAY!
So get the scene here...Haman enticed the government to believe all those HE did not like... Were a threat to society...SO THERE COULD BE LAWS WRITTEN AGAINST THEM! THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, IS THERE?! The king gave Haman his signet ring to make an official decree…That on the 13th day of the twelfth month, all Jews were to be, "destroyed, killed and annihilated!" And as a copy went out to every province. Bringing terror and dread to the Jews... The king and Haman sat down to drink & celebrate together!
For Such A Time...
Mordecai sends news to Queen Esther of the plot...But Esther responds by saying:
Esther 4:10-11 (NKJV)
10 Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: 11 "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days."
To appear without request of the king meant immediate death...And she was not currently on an intimate basis with him… Having not even seen him herself for over a month! Esther did not want to risk all that she had attained! She had come from nothing... And now have everything! She was the most rich woman of the world at that time! She felt comfort and security in her position... Protected from harm... And she was hesitant to risk all she had in an effort to step out! Forgetting that she had done NOTHING to receive these blessings...AND IT WAS GOD'S GRACE AND DESIGN THAT BROUGHT HER THERE!
APPLICATION: SO MANY OF US ARE LIVING SUCH A BLESSED,
SHELTERED, COMFORTABLE LIFE...
THAT WE ARE HESITANT TO STEP OUT FOR OUR GOD... FOR TRUTH...IN FEAR OF LOSING SOMETHING AS WELL...Loss of status and dislike with from our peer group or family...A job or position...Today... Possibly even a legal charge or lawsuit!
WE HAVE DOWNPLAYED THE COMING DANGERS...WHICH CAN AND WILL QUICKLY TAKE AWAY THOSE COMFORTS! WE HAVE LOST SIGHT OF WHO PLACED US IN THIS POSITION OF BLESSINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Mordecai awakens Esther to this hard truth:
Esther 4:13-14 (NKJV)
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish....
He told her that IF SHE remained silent and uninvolved...She would be turning from God's Will...But that God WOULD HAVE HIS WILL some other way...Which would not involve her in His Plans! And that even though she felt blessed and protected... These blessings wouldn't protect her from what was to come! Then Mordecai ended his message to Esther...With words of incredible impact, even for each of us today:
Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
The Truth that Mordecai speaks to Esther strikes her heart...Because Esther makes a life-changing, history-altering decision at that moment!
Esther 4:15-16 (NKJV)
15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
All of the people fasted and prayed with passion... In faith! And Esther stepped out for God... Counting all lost...And God moved in incredible ways because of their faithfulness and sacrifice!
Ever hear of the Jewish Feast of Purim? Here is the origin! So named, from the lots cast by Haman (casting pur)...To choose the day of the Jews annihilation... Which instead... Became the day of their Deliverance!!
Esther 9:20-22 (NKJV)
20 And Mordecai wrote these things and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, who were in all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, 21 to establish among them that they should celebrate yearly the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar, 22 as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.
THIS IS OUR TIME!
The lessons God's Word conveys to us TODAY are unmistakable...In this incredible parallel we find ourselves in now...We have a society which is so prideful and hell-bent on everyone...Bending to, and embracing…THEIR ways of godlessness...That they entice and sway our government...To change the very laws of the land to incriminate and villainize those opposed!
While we sit in our blessed state... Too infatuated with where we are... Too afraid to lose what we have... To stand for God... To stand for His Glory... To live for Him over our own comforts... THAT HE HAS GIVEN TO US!
And just like Mordecai... Just like Queen Esther...Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego...Just like all of the TRUE Disciples of Christ before us...
We have openly, repeatedly been told...Openly, repeatedly been CALLED...To show our love and faithfulness...In return for the love and faithfulness shown to us...By forsaking this life... Not treasuring it and protecting it!
John 15:20 (NKJV)
20 Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
Matthew 10:34-39 (NKJV)
34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; 36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Luke 14:33 (NKJV)
33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
We are NOT called to do this out of legalistic necessity...But BECAUSE HE IS OUR REASON FOR LIFE...AND HE IS WORTH IT... AS WE ARE TO HIM!
To create an intimate relationship with Our God...By showing our love in action for Him... As He did to save us...
WE… ALL… SEE THE CHANGES...THE THREATS OF LOOMING TROUBLE AHEAD AS CHRISTIANS…THE DISLIKE, EXCLUSION, ISOLATION, LOSS, AND PERSECUTION...HINGING ON EVERY NEXT BILL PASSED...AND EVERY QUICKLY CHANGING SOCIAL TREND...WE SEE HOW FAST INDIVIDUALS AND ENTIRE GROUPS… CAN GO FROM HERO TO ZERO IN OUR CANCEL CULTURE...
There is ONE WAY to become undefeatable...
There is one way to lose all of our fear and meekness...There is one way to find true peace, purpose and joy in the fight...
EMBRACE THE RISING STRUGGLE AND PERSECUTION AS OUR FIGHT...
FOR OUR TIME... AS OUR PURPOSE IN LIFE... DECIDE THAT ANY LOSS INCURRED IS A BADGE OF HONOR AND IS WELCOMED... RATHER THAN SOMETHING TO BE DREADED...
IF WE ACCEPT ALL THAT COULD HAPPEN...AND ALL THAT COULD BE LOST NOW... IN WILLING ANTICIPATION FOR HIS CAUSE...
WHAT ELSE CAN SILENCE US? WHAT ELSE CAN PARALYZE US IN FEAR?
WHAT ELSE CAN MAKE US TURN AWAY AGAIN?
His Kingdom is under extreme threat of being annihilated in our generation!
THEREFORE... IT IS CLEARLY OUR TIME... YOU AND I HAVE COME TO THE KINGDOM FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!!
The time for struggling to even attend church is over... Being together in worship and support of our King publicly needs to be precedent! The time for getting offended and hurt by other church brothers is over...We are united under a much larger Purpose than our petty offenses! The time for worrying over labels and social status is over... We ARE labeled… We have HIS Name… WEAR IT PROUDLY!
The time for using Scriptures as a hope of material blessing and prosperity is over... Scriptures call us to arms, and rescue, and blessings for others… Not ease of life and luxury… If you came for that, you need to turn around! The time for being infatuated and distracted by the world and entertainment is over...
Paul said a soldier is not distracted by the things of the world!
Here is where we will find Jesus in literal, intimate reality and power! He will meet us where we are... When we go where He Is!
When we truly abandon ALL for His Cause! We need to come to Him with the Love and Passion to say,
"I WANT to be counted worthy to sacrifice and fight for Your Name…
I WANT to join YOUR struggle!"
"In a world that is giving ALL to hurt and destroy Your Love... Your Kingdom... Your Gift... Your Sweet Presence!
YOU ARE MY GOD... I AM YOUR SERVANT...
WHOM YOU CALL BELOVED...
I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BECAUSE MY LIFE WAS GIVEN WHEN YOU GAVE YOURS!"
Then… And only then…Will we find true contentment…Will we realize our purpose…
Will we lose our fears and become a force to be recorded with... Against Satan! Will we Glorify Our Savior & show Him our real love!
It IS time…
Put on the Crown of Royalty He won for you…Use the place of blessing and strength…He put you in this day…And pick up your sword against Satan…
TRULY FORSAKE ALL RIGHT NOW… COUNT IT ALREADY GONE…AND THEN... WIN OR LOSE THE BATTLE TODAY… WE HAVE ALREADY WON THE WAR! IT IS TIME TO BE LIKE QUEEN ESTHER...AND NO LONGER KEEP YOUR TRUE IDENTITY A SECRET!
Plea for fasting and meditation on these words! On a turning point in life…
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