Sermon Date: 1/18/09
Text: Esther 4:12-17 – And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
- Esther rose to power
- Esther listened to instruction
- Esther chose to help
Reflections: It appears Pastor is doing a series on bible characters. Last week he preached on the faith of Jabez and this week he taught us about Esther’s dignity. Honestly, I didn’t really mine much out of this message. I feel a little guilty, but this does happen from time to time. Perhaps the Lord is making me work by the sweat of my brow to acquire the nugget of spiritual truth that Pastor has served up to us.
The problem I’ve noted about the last two messages is the disconnect between the virtue that these bible heroes possessed and the virtue that we’re supposed to demonstrate. The great question that has gone unanswered is, “How do I exercise the faith of Jabez and walk in the dignity of Esther?” I don’t know about most of you, but my faith is not like that of Jabez. My dignity in the face of dire consequences probably wouldn’t hold up as did Esther’s. I have no problem with being exhorted to the high standard of great men and women of God but I need to know how to live up to that standard. The answer, of course, is that by our own power and determination we never could measure up. Our only hope is the grace of God. We must cry out for the Lord’s mercy and compassion to help us lowly sinners look to the perfect finished work of Christ as our only hope for salvation. I’m too weak in my own strength to exercise great faith. The Lord must grant me faith to believe and grab hold of the promises. I’m too cowardly and self-preserving in the face of mortal danger to muster the dignity and courage to stick my neck out for my own people. The Lord must perform a work on my heart to turn it away from my self interests to the welfare of others.
I guess without a reference back to the work of Jesus on the cross these sermons are really instructing us in law, not grace. This is usually not the case with the vast majority of messages at our church. I believe that in this case the gospel portion of the message is assumed. I know my pastor well enough to be confident that he is not a moralist, but is steadfastly a gospel minister. However, I am convinced that we should never assume the gospel because the natural bent of the human heart is toward meritorious works. We must hear the gospel week in and week out in all its fullness, so that we may be humbled, lest our hearts be led astray by the things we believe we can accomplish in our own strength.
We are weak-minded, easily distracted sinners who desperately need to hear the gospel of Christ daily….especially when accounts of those who God has used in history are taught and lifted up as examples. Rightly seen, these accounts will only leave us hopeless, defeated and utterly discouraged, unless the light of the gospel through the truth of Jesus Christ is shared as well!
Right. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking this. I didn’t set out to criticize when I started this post, but I had no other direction I could go!