Esther 6: Sermon Notes

The providence of God is one of the most mysterious and at the same time comforting truths the Bible presents to us.

It is good for us to revel in God’s orchestration of events for our good and his glory by living and acting in faith. In some of these moments, like today in Esther 6, God acts without us to bring glory to his name, increase our faith, and elicit worship from his people. 

We find ourselves at a providentially challenging season in the life of our church. We’ve been through Covid, a flooded worship area and relocation, people changing jobs and moving, and a hard time that has been filled with loss and grief. All of that can leave us with a feeling of instability. 

The blast radius of all these challenges is large, and it has been costly. 

Jesus Christ, however, is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

Our vision, which is his vision, remains the same.  

Our strategy of the RL is being lived out in our RL groups. If you are not in one, see Justin and he can help you get connected. 

We are working to get some of our tactical weekly ministries back up to speed.  

This is the first time since we started RK that we have not had weekly RK available because we don’t have enough workers. 

  • RK is not a service provided. 
  • It is a tactical/practical outworking of our strategy of Radical LIfe (UP/IN/OUT) in that we partner with our parents to disciple our families in the rhythms of worshiping Jesus, life together on mission, and reaching our city and world. 

There is only so much that can be done with fewer people. 

In some ways, we are “re-planting”.  

We are restructuring for work in a way that is emotionally, spiritually, and physically sustainable for the long term for everyone. 

Even before Covid hit, we were running at an unsustainable pace and working to restructure and get sustainable. 

God has seen fit to send us through this season and have us re-think some of what we do to get it sustainable so we can pursue healthily the vision of his glory among the nations beginning right here in Rome, Georgia.

We’ll be sharing more of that with you on November 21.

We just completed a full membership class. 

Restoration Rome is full speed ahead. 

Our global partners have been challenged by Covid and even toppled governments, but the kingdom of God is advancing still. 

Key Question: Do we believe that God has been at work for our good even in the dark providences of the past two years? Will we lean into the essentials of worship, RL, and disciple-making to a place of sustainable fruitfulness?

It is at these challenging moments when we’ve done all we can do that we see Esther 6 kind of moments where 1) God acts in ways that only he can, 2) brings amazement to our hearts when he does it, 3) increases our faith, and 4) elicits worship from his people. 

Big Idea: Esther 6 is the turning point in the story, and it is God alone who turns the events of history for the good of his people and his glory, and the Holy Spirit’s intent through the author is that we observe his work and marvel at him for it. 

What do we see?

  1. God is the Source and Mover of events in Esther 6, and neither Esther nor Mordecai share in turning the story. God alone gets that glory.  
    1. Psalms 105:16-17 reminds us that it is God who intended a famine in the land, and therefore, sent Joseph to Egypt in order to alleviate the famine and set up the Passover where God would reveal his salvation to his people.
    1. In Esther 5 we talked about how God’s usual way of working in the world is through means. 
      1. When God works through means, including human agents such and Esther and Mordecai, it is still God who is the primary acting agent. 
        1. We profoundly get to participate with God daily through his governance of us and his world, and it is yet God who guides that activity. 
      2. We also acknowledged that God acts without any human agency, and we worship him for it.
      3. God, when he works through us and when he acts alone, leaves us marveling at his majesty as he moves history for our good and his glory as he mysteriously moves people through their own free agency. 
      4. We see this put on display in Esther 6, and I want you to marvel at how God is moving the situation along in Esther 6. 
        1. We see God at work in Ahasuerus not being able to sleep. 6:1a
        2. We see God at work in Ahasuerus requesting a book about memorable deeds to be read to him. 6:1b
        3. We see God at work in an unnamed person who just happened to choose to read about Mordecai uncovering the plot to kill the king that just so happened to be forgotten until this critical point. 6:2-3
          1. The chances of the precision needed to see verses 2-3 happen have to be off the charts. 
            1. How many books did he have to choose from? What made him choose this one? What made him turn to that page?
            2. The reader just happened to choose the book that contained Mordecai’s deed. 
            3. The reader just happened to choose Mordecai’s deed. 
        4. We see God at work in the king not honoring Mordecai when he should have, and discovering that oversight at a key moment. 
          1. The Persian kings prided themselves in rewarding well those who helped them in some significant way. Xerxes realized that he had failed to honor Mordecai, so he decided to repair that error immediately. – (Mervin Breneman, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, vol. 10, The New American Commentary, 344)
          2. So, God was at work in the oversight of Mordecai. 
            1. Sometimes, God is at work when we don’t get rewarded as we should because there are greater and grander plans afoot. 
        5. We see God at work in making sure Haman arrived just after Ahasuerus was reminded about Mordecai saving his life so that God can exalt Mordecai and begin Haman’s demise. 6:4-5
          1. Why is Haman this early? 
          2. Did he stay up all night supervising the construction of the gallows he intended to have Mordecai hung on?
          3. Was he just eager to get to work? 
          4. Was he eager for Esther’s banquet? 
            1. We don’t know. What we know is that he showed up right on time to be part of the stinging irony about to be unleashed by God in judgment for his sin. 
        6. We see God’s hand in the irony of honoring Mordecai through one who intended to do him harm. 6:6-11
          1. Psalms 75:6-7 (ESV) For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
            1. God is able to set the record straight and deal out justice. 
              1. This is why we don’t take vengeance, seek to get even, slander, or gossip. 
              2. Romans 12:19 (ESV) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (from Deuteronomy 32:35)
        7. We see God’s hand in Haman’s “wise men” and his wife’s words about Haman’s fall. 6:12-13
          1. God spoke to Balaam through his donkey. 
          2. God spoke a prophetic word through folks who don’t fear God at all. 
            1. God gets reality communicated through any means he chooses, and in this instance, he did it through people who do not know him. 
              1. There is no means in all of creation in heaven and earth that God can’t or won’t use to get our good and his glory accomplished.
        8. We see God’s hand in speeding Haman to the place of judgment for his evil intent and rescuing his people. 6:14
          1. When it was time for Haman’s downfall, God did not delay it. 
          2. God would bring deliverance for his people at its time and when it arrived, it would progress quickly. 

Application

  1. Gospel: God has chosen Abraham and his descendants, that is, all those of the faith of Abraham, to be the means by which Jesus would enter time and space to provide the sacrifice for sin so that people from all nations would come into the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and he will not allow any nation or person to impede that salvation.
    1. There is no force in all of creation that can stand against God’s plan. 
    2. God moves heaven and earth to see that sin is paid for and that salvation is available to anyone who will believe.
    3. We see in Esther God’s commitment to save a people from all nations through the person and work of Jesus Christ. 
    4. God’s commitment and power to see that through emboldens us when Jesus tells us that all authority in heaven and earth is given to him, so we are sent in that power to see the work done.
  1. Being in the faith and following Jesus is the only way to see the good and redeeming side of God’s good providence. 
    1. Romans 8:28 is only good news for those in Christ. 
    2. For those not in Christ, there is no promise God is moving heaven and earth for your good. 
      1. Come to Jesus, believe, and make sure you get in the stream of Esther 6 level goodness. 
    3. Isaiah writes about the eternal covenant of the gospel that he gives us for peace: Isaiah 54:13-17 (ESV) All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. 14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. 15 If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; (These are the things God creates to deal with his enemies, not for his people.) 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”
  1. Marvel at God’s love for us. 
    1. Let your faith be emboldened. 
    2. Reflect on the details of your life and scan them to spot God’s providential hand working for your good.
    3. Remember Psalms 105:16-17. 
    4. Where has God caused famine in order to rescue me from me and show me his salvation?
  1. Lift up your heads. We are on the mission Jesus gave to his church. 
    1. As individuals, don’t get discouraged. Remember the faithfulness of God.
      1. We are standing on the shoulders of giants in church history who have endured hard times and have emerged victorious. 
    2. As a church, don’t let navigating hard times create despair. Remember how God has preserved and advanced the kingdom of God through the local church without fail.
      1. It’s in times like these we lean on the basics of the rhythms of God’s kingdom given to us in Christ:
        1. Up – walk with the merciful and faithful High Priest who understands. 
        2. In – walk together in covenant fellowship with each other on mission. 
        3. Out – make disciples who want Jesus above every other offering. 
        4. In these things, let’s worship together. 

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