Esther 8-10: Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Through Esther and Mordecai, God rescues and mobilizes his people in order to highlight his saving grace and build into history the remembrance of his great name. 

Observations:

All of this story highlights God’s providential power in rescuing us from the collateral damage done by sin.

  1. Haman’s personal animosity towards God’s people and particularly Mordecai, has led to the collateral blast radius of the whole people.

Esther was willing to risk her life and security AGAIN for the sake of her people. 8:1-8

  1. Esther goes in before the king one more time and falls down before him in a passionate plea for everyone else who needs to come under a new edict for protection. 
  2. They are going to have to plead for an edict that will allow them to defend themselves because the previous edict can’t be revoked. 
    1. This situation allows for their deliverance but also sets up a situation for armed conflict. 8:11-14

God brings nations to faith with a holy fear of God through his covenant people. 8:17

“…for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.”

  1. Most OT scholars say that “fear of the Jews” is the closest the author comes to mentioning the name of God in the book of Esther. 
    1. Because God’s people are often synonymous with him, many believe that the “fear of the Jews” is understood to mean that these Persians began to fear the LORD. 
    2. I believe this to be the case since this is God’s plan from the beginning…to save a people from all nations through his chosen instrument of his people who are of the faith of Abraham. 
  2. God does his saving work through the corporate discipleship of his people.  
  3. It’s the rhythms of celebration because of God’s saving rescue of his people that God used to bring Persians to the faith. 

God rules history. The enemy cannot and will not impede God’s plan of redemption. God rescues his people, advances his rule, and ensures that his kingdom will advance and the redemptive work of the cross will happen on schedule. 9:1-4

  1. God is the God of the supernatural reversal of circumstances because he will not allow his purposes and his people on his purposes to be eternally thwarted. 
    1. Any setback we may encounter serves divine and holy ends, and God will ultimately set straight all that sin and the curse tries to make crooked. 
  2. We have only to hear God’s word, obey God’s word, and be patient for “his purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour. The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.” – William Cowper 

God hits straight licks with crooked sticks. 9:13

  1. Esther pleads with the king for one more day to exact some additional vengeance on those who might come after them in addition to the public execution display of Haman’s executed sons. 
    1. Everywhere else, they defend themselves on day 13 and rest on the 14th day. 
    2. In Susa, according to Esther’s request, they fought on the 13th and 14th day and rested on the 15th day. 9:16-18
      1. There are no heroes in the Bible. 
      2. The only hero of the Scriptures is Jesus.
        1. The Bible gives us this raw and unfiltered and realistic view of it’s actors on the stage of history as being supremely flawed people. 
        2. The Bible rejects the idea of following heroes. 
        3. The people in the Bible are there to point us to the one they are imperfectly following, and that is Jesus. 
        4. Make no mistake. God is not pleased when his people step out of bounds. He calls them to course correct through repentance.
          1. When his people repent, they find themselves back on track and pointing people in the right direction. 
  2. This fact should give us great hope. 
    1. God works with us flawed people if we will live lives of repentance and faith. 

God establishes feasts of remembrance for his glory and our joy. 9:20-22

  1. From the establishment of the governance of his people, God ordained that his people keep feasts for the sake of remembrance. 
    1. From Passover to the Day of Atonement, feasts were established by God to remember key theological truths. 
    2. Purim is established to remember through feasting and gladness how God delivered his people. 
      1. God engages all our senses in order to carry us back to himself, remember who he is, remember who we are, and come back to the center of worshiping God as the baseline of life. 

Mordecai worked for the good of his people not his own welfare, and in the end, his people flourished and God saw after his welfare. 10:1-3

  1. Being part of the family of God is an intentional effort to inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others. 
  2. This is intensely and intimately theological in nature. 
  3. Mordecai, like us all, is created in the Trinitarian nature of God. Although he did not have the benefit of 2,000 years of biblical scholarship, he acted out of the nature of Trinity in that he did what Holy Spirit does. 
    1. Holy Spirit does not seek his own welfare first. He seeks the glory of Jesus. It’s his mission to lift up the Son of God, and yet, in the end, he is God and is glorified as the Son of God is glorified. 
  4. We, likewise, find this upside-down truth at work because we are created this way.
    1. When we inconvenience ourselves for the sake of others, we find ourselves. 
    2. Matthew 10:39 (ESV) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Application

  1. There is no easy fix for the collateral damage of Haman’s personal sin. 
    1. Haman’s personal sin led to the national sin of seeking to exterminate an entire people. 
    2. The second edict that brings relief for the people accomplishes the mission, but it does not wipe out the collateral impact from Haman’s initial seeking destruction. 
      1. The ripple effects of Haman’s actions affect even Esther’s later over-response of seeking one more day of vengeance. 
    3. “Personal sin always results in collateral suffering.” – Jennifer Wilkin
    4. “Personal holiness always results in collateral benefit.” – Jennifer Wilkin
  2. Give your life to being a people who risk and work for the good of others and the corporate welfare of the whole as we see in Esther and Mordecai. 
    1. This labor of love results in an evangelistic and disciple-making culture that attracts non-Christians to salvation and Christians into disciple-making relationships. 
    2. The truth of the matter is that evangelism and discipleship are corporate matters before they are individual matters. 
  • I was discipled by the whole church and her rhythms, not one person. 
  • I used to think this was wrong because I didn’t have that one person who was my “mentor” in the faith. 
  • I have begun to realize that this is not even the pattern in the Bible nor the Holy Spirit’s strategy in gifting the whole church. 
  • If God intended us to be discipled by one person he’d gift one person with every gift, but he does not do that. 
  • He gifts individuals with limited gifts as he chooses so that the whole body would be built up and we would be discipled by the whole body. 
  1. Take heart that God is ruling our personal and corporate history for the salvation of the nations and our good and joy. 
    1. Our challenges and hurts and hurdles will not stop the kingdom of God nor will they stop God from being good and doing good to us. 
  1. Believe that God can and will partner with us, broken people, to lift up the hero Jesus. 
    1. God does not partner with perfect people because there are none. 
    2. God does work with flawed saints who are willing to repent of sin, live in the light, and work out their salvation with fear and trembling. 
    3. If you are in Christ, you are in a prime spot to be a powerful ambassador for God’s kingdom. 
    4. He does not demand perfection that he won’t supply you in Christ. 
      1. He calls you to be holy and on his mission, and he will supply it all for you. 
      2. Step out in obedience and watch God take us crooked sticks and hit some straight licks. 
  1. The local church celebrates of all God’s feasts in her life together. 
    1. Worship order, the elements, music, the preached word of God, and human interaction are all designed by God as reminders and MEANS OF GRACE for his redemptive work leading to his glory and our salvation. 
    2. Re-prioritize life to taste the multi-faceted grace of God in the gathered people of God. 
    3. This leads us back to the worship of Jesus as grounding and the center of all that really matters. 
    4. Let’s worship in song!

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