Insomnia 

Esther 6:1
“That night the king could not sleep. So one was commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king.”

We don’t always get to see what God is doing on the other side of our trials. This is one of those rare cases and should provide us with a great deal of comfort. Esther had been encouraged by her uncle to use her position as Queen to make a request on behalf of the Jewish people who were being targeted for extermination. She knew this was a dangerous move since it would require her accessing the king without permission as well as exposing that she too was Jewish. None the less she boldly requested the king and Haman to attend a banquet where she would expose Haman as a fiend and plead for the salvation of her people. What Esther did not know is that God was working behind the scenes in an extraordinary way.

That night the king was unable to sleep and decided to review the official book of records. It seems that even then the cure for insomnia was a good old fashion history text book. While examining these records he came across a section that described a murderous plot against the king that had been thwarted by a Jewish man named Mordecai, yet there was no record of him being rewarded for his service. The very man who wanted to destroy the Jews found himself having to honor one of the Jews.

When Esther arrives at the banquet to make request on behalf of her people the Lord has already prepared the heart of the king. The same thing is true in our lives. The Lord is faithfully working behind the scenes to prepare the way for what He has called us to accomplish.

Jim

 

Living Differently

Esther 3:8
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.”

Haman’s problem with Mordecai and the Jewish people as a whole was not that they were lawless, insubordinate, unruly or even rebellious. His problem was that they lived by a higher law and as a result were not easily swayed by the changing tides of cultural. As a result he determined to rid the landscape of all those who named the name of YHWH. As a follower of Christ we should seek not to be lawless but to live by a higher law. When the apostles were being threatened they responded “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

A careful examination of the commands of Christ teach us that believers are to love God with all their heart, love others with a self sacrificing love, take the low place and serve one another, turn the other cheek when mistreated, give without any expectation of return, pray for those who mistreat us, seek to win people over with words of grace and truth, behave with patience, speak words that are edifying, forgive when wronged, and the list goes on and on. What is it about those behaviors that is so unpalatable to the world we live in? I think the answer to that question is that the person living under the law of Christ is not swayed by the changing tides of culture.

If we live for Jesus we cannot avoid opposition from a world that is floating in another direction, but we can be sure that the opposition is not because we are failing to rightly represent Christ.

Jim

 

Purim 

Esther 9:26
“So they called these days Purim, after the name Pur.”

Feasts were an important part of Israel’s annual worship. In the Law, God established seven feasts which occurred during three different seasons of their calendar year. These feasts were a reminder of the work of God. They were designed to bring the people together, and to fix their attention upon the things of the Lord. Each feast included times of worship, reading of the Word, and celebrating the Lord together. Historically, it was during these feasts, commitments were made to the Lord, and even times of national revival broke out. Here, in Esther, we see the feast of Purim added to their worship calendar. Purim was not one of the feasts established by the Law. This one was added to celebrate the events described in Esther, and to remember the good hand of God upon them.

While it is not required of the Christian to celebrate the Old Testament feasts, it is important we take time to remember what God has done for us; to gather with other believers for times of deeper dedication to the Lord. This should be done on a weekly basis in a church setting.  Jesus designed the church as a place where believers could meet, worship the Lord, study His Word, and establish a deeper commitment to Christ. One of the great dangers for every believer, is to neglect gathering regularly with God’s people. It is not uncommon to hear the suggestion, a Christian can grow on his own, apart from church life. Empirical data proves that to be untrue. Most Christians who isolate themselves, soon return to the sins from which Jesus delivered them. Let’s be sure not to neglect celebrating the work of the Lord together.

Pastor Jim

 

Mind The Gap

Esther 7:3
Then Queen Esther answered and said, ‘If I have found favor in your sight, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request.'”

When the chance arose for Esther to make her request known to the king, she pleaded on the behalf of others. This is called intercession, and is a critical part of the prayer life of every believer.

When Jesus responded to the disciples’s request to teach them to pray, He gave a model prayer that included praise, petition, confession and intercession. When we pray we should allow time for praying on behalf of others. Intercession includes both praying with others, and in the place of others. We should pray for the physical and spiritual needs of our Christian friends, and we should pray for those who have not yet come to Christ.

Esther’s prayer for the life of her countrymen is a good illustration of what is at stake when we are praying for our unsaved friends. We should keep in mind, we are standing between them and separation from God. Like the watchman who stood guard over an ancient city, we should stand in the gap for those who don’t yet know Christ; praying for their salvation.

Intercession should include praying for their hearts to soften, their eyes to open, and an opportunity for them to hear the Gospel. We should also pray for boldness to share the love of Christ with them, and power to live out our Christianity in a way that is attractive to them.

A great complement to intercession, is taking an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. Perhaps an invitation to coffee, or even to church, might open a door to share the Gospel with someone you have been praying for.

Pastor Jim

 

Request

Esther 5:2-3
“So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter. And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

Esther was given access to the king. She was allowed to make a single request that seemed to be limitless. With all the wealth of the Persian kingdom at her disposal, her request was for the salvation of her people. Imagine if you had access to a wealthy and powerful king, who allowed you to ask for anything up to half of all he possessed. What would your request be? Now stop imagining. If you have received Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, the Bible promises you have access to the King of Kings. You can make constant requests before God. You have continual access to God and are exhorted to come regularly to His throne.

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Whatever our needs are, we are invited to come to the throne of grace and receive. The Apostle James declared, one reason we find ourselves in want, is because we simply fail to come to the throne and ask. Jesus explained, we should ask consistently and persistently, until our requests are answered. If your need is physical, spiritual, emotional, if it has to do with provision, strength, guidance, comfort or anything else, the answer will be found at the Throne of Grace.

When Esther approached the throne, her request was for something bigger than any personal problem she was facing. Her request was for the salvation of her people. While it is necessary to spend time at the Throne of Grace praying for our personal needs, it is also important that we spend time praying on behalf of those who have not yet received Christ. Make a list of people that you know personally; people from your family, work, neighborhood, and places of recreation. Pray daily for their salvation. Pray for their hearts to soften to Christ, and pray for opportunities to share Christ with them, and invite them to church.

Pastor Jim

 

Platforms

Esther 4:14
“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. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

It is not easy to figure out why one person is given certain gifts and opportunities, that are not afforded to another. We see two people with relatively the same skill level, yet, one is chosen for a task and the other is not. Instead of allowing this to discourage us, we should keep in mind, whatever station we find ourselves, it will give us a platform to tell others about the hope of eternal life found in Christ.

Esther found herself exalted to the highest position a woman of her day could attain. She was the Queen of Persia. Her uncle Mordecai encouraged her to remember she would have an opportunity to be used by the Lord that few others would ever have. Years later, the Apostle Paul found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum; he was incarcerated in a Roman prison. Rather than complaining about how unfair things were, he used his situation as a platform to share Christ, and found he was given an opportunity to share with family members of the king.

Whether it is a promotion or a demotion, a seeming success or failure, whatever we find ourselves facing, we should realize, we are in the midst of it for such a time as this. Esther’s actions resulted in saving the lives of many. It would do us good to realize our actions and the ideas we share can also result in saving lives.

Look for an opportunity to use the platform you have been given to share the love of Christ and the way to heaven with someone today.

Pastor Jim

 

Chosen

Esther 2:17
“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

It could have been easy for a woman like Esther to feel forgotten. She had lost her parents at a young age, and was a believer living, in an area where she was surrounded by those who did not know the Lord. As the pages turn, it appears there must have been some level of persecution against the Jews, since Esther chose to hide her heritage from everyone in authority. This rising persecution will set the stage for much of what develops in her story. It seems as though, instead of allowing difficulty to tarnish her view of God, she allowed her situation to give God an opportunity to show His love in her life.

Apparently,  the removal of Vashti from her position as queen, and the king’s decision to select a new bride, must have spread through the kingdom. I can only imagine the wide gamete of emotions that must have run through young Esther when she was selected as a prospective queen and taken to the palace. As the next year unfolded, the Lord began to show His sovereignty and love, as Esther rose above the other candidates. When her turn came to present herself before he king, she was chosen above all others, as the next queen of Persia.

The remainder of this book will illustrate that when God changed her station, He did it to give her a larger platform, in order to be a part of the furtherance of the kingdom of God. This is an important principle to keep in mind. When God blesses us and raises our station in life, we need to ask Him why. Why has God blessed your resources? Is it so you can have a faster car or newer gadgets? Or is it so you can use your resources to further the kingdom. If God has increased your sphere of influence perhaps it is so you can have a larger platform to tell the world about Christ.

Esther teaches us that we are not forgotten, that God knows our current state, and that His plans for us include His desire to raise us up and use us for the furtherance of His kingdom.

Pastor Jim