Saturday, February 7, 2015

Practical Applications of the Book of Esther

(This is the third and the last part of this series on the book of Esther

1)      God is in it all
The Book of Esther shows the choice we make between seeing the hand of God in our circumstances in life and seeing things as merely coincidence. God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not be moved by the actions of mere evil men – even kings and rulers. Although His name is not mentioned in the book, His providential care for his people, both individuals and the nation, is evident throughout.
For instance, we cannot fail to see the Almighty exerting influence over King Xerxes’s timely insomnia. Why did the king decide to look at the annals? Was it God or coincidence that led him to open the very page with the actions of Mordecai that foiled treason? Can’t you see God ordering things to go in His own way that Haman came in at the very time when the King was already set on honouring the same Mordecai that Haman had come to have him hanged on the gallows?
Here we see God ordering, directing and governing all His creatures and all their actions. Thank God that He is sovereign. That we do not worship and serve an impotent or dead God – our God is both living and actively involved in all the aspects of your life.
2)      Be assured of the Love of God always
Through the example of Mordecai and Esther, the silent love language our Father often uses to communicate directly to our spirits is shown in this book. We see both the powerful hand of God, as well as His gracious dealings with His people so that in love we are not consumed by our enemies or are also the enemies of God. We need not fear the devil and his entourage – because the one in us is greater than the one in the world. There is nothing that has the capacity to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This truth is anchor for our souls. For we know that we are loved by the sovereign, eternal God with an everlasting love. We may be rejected by anyone here on earth, yet our delight and comfort is that the one who is able, powerful and sovereign is in love with us. He is abounding in love and this is for our joy and blessedness.
3)      Humility is all you need – submit to God’s will.
… “If I perish, I perish” (4:16). In this she did not count her life of more value of others, even though a queen. She knew that the Lord had appointed her to the position of queen for service. For she had been appointed for ‘such a time as this’ to serve His people. She therefore took the counsel of Mordecai seriously –
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?" (4:13-14)

Esther proved to have a godly and teachable spirit that also showed great strength and willing obedience. Esther’s humility was markedly different from those around her. It is particularly contrasted with the arrogance of Vashti! This humility caused her to be elevated into the position of queen. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Esther shows us that remaining respectful and humble, even in difficult, if not humanly impossible circumstances, often sets us up to be the vessels of untold blessing for both ourselves and others. We would do well to emulate her godly attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Our Master, remember, was an epitome of humility. He did not call a legion of angels to fight for Himself. Like a lamb to the slaughter, He did not open His mouth. Not once is there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the writing of Esther’s mouth.
Our lesson here is that the sovereign and loving God dwells with those of a humble and a contrite spirit. He will not despise those who diligently seek Him with broken and contrite spirits. He gives them grace (James 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5).  It is amazing that the sovereign would dwell with anyone who will admit that He has nothing! As long as you are in Christ, you are assured that  He has cast His love on you for good.
4)      Salvation is of grace alone
Many times we read that Esther won the "favour" of those around her and especially of the king (2:9, 15, 17). Grace is living in the understanding of not deserving anything – this is animated by the humility. While God dwells in inapproachable light where immortality dwells, and the reality that God cannot behold evil, should tell us that just like Esther could not just go before the king, we also cannot stand before God. Because of our iniquities, no we cannot stand before Him. The only reason why we can stand before God, is because of divine grace and favour that He has been pleased to offer to us. It does not depend on anything that we have done (this is humbling) but on His mercy.
Such favour is what ultimately saved her and the people. We can be granted such favour as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Esther’s example of maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on God. Who knows but that God put us in such a position, for just such a time as this?

5)      The Victory is ours
In one day (500+300) were enemies of the people of God were killed in Susa, and 75,000 more in the rest of the kingdom! We are sure that the victory belongs to Christ as depicted in the prophesy of the book of Revelation of John. We can be assured that there is no apocalypse that will annihilate Christians though all the world kings and leaders gather and take counsel together. Muslims gather together. There is no reason to worry that nuclear and atomic powers will end the world, because God is the one in ultimate throne of sovereignty not human beings. We know that the Lord will have the last laugh and we who are in Christ shall reign with Him forever. Ultimately, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of Christ.
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever." Rev 11:15.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. Rev 12:10.

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