Summary: Four qualities we must possess in order for God to fully use us.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
July 11, 2004
“After these things, when the wrath of king Ahasuerus was appeased, he remembered Vashti, and what she had done, and what was decreed against her. Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, Let there be fair young virgins sought for the king: and let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins unto Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, unto the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them: and let the maiden which pleaseth the king be queen instead of Vashti. And the thing pleased the king; and he did so.”
The last time we looked at the book of Esther, we were introduced to a story that has fascinated men and women through the years as it tells of a king and his queens and how a young Jewish girl rose to fame from her humble beginnings as an orphan girl. The story never mentions the name of God, but as we have already begun to see, God was there all along, working behind the scenes to accomplish His divine will.
God is still at work today doing the same thing in our lives, and while we may not always see or acknowledge Him, He is there nonetheless, using our actions and decisions to accomplish His will, even when those actions and decisions are made without regard to Him. What is God’s will? Quite simply it is to bring Him glory. God’s eternal plan has always been to make Himself the center of attention, both in heaven and on earth. God is going to get the glory. He worked through the nation of Israel to do it, and today He works through His New Testament churches, using people just like you and me to please Him and to glorify His name.
I have said now many times that while God’s one chief purpose never changes, there are various ways in which that purpose may be accomplished. For instance, God has always desired to be glorified through a people who are both different and separated from the world. From earliest times, He has consistently expressed to His people their need to be different from everyone else, different both on the outside, and more importantly on the inside. But the differences that you and I have come to accept are not necessarily the kind of differences that God primarily wants and desires for us. We have come to think that God just wants us to get our acts cleaned up, but we don’t think much about why. We focus on the outward, but too often forget about the inside. Cursing, drinking, smoking, doping and all those sins are addressed as though when God’s people get them under control He will be happy and we will be satisfied, but that’s not necessarily the case.
The chief difference that God wants from us that should separate us from all the world can be summed up in one word: passion. We live with a different passion than all the rest of the world. Anyone can clean up a life, and do so for various reasons, but we are the only people on the face of the earth, and always have been, who are to live with great passion for God and heavenly, eternal things. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” When God’s kingdom and God’s character become our one great passion then all that other stuff will fall into place.
It’s a messed up world that we live in. It always has been. We saw this when we looked at chapter 1, and we see it again today. About three years has passed since Ahasuerus divorced Vashti and dethroned her as queen. Chapter 2 tells us that he started regretting his decisions and was missing her when his royal advisors came up with a plan to get him a new wife. You can image why they were so concerned that he not figure out a way to get Vashti back. After all, it was their idea to get rid of her, so you can imagine what she might have done to them if she came back. So, these advisors suggested to the king that all the young virgins in the land, throughout his 127 provinces, be brought in so he could inspect them and choose from among them a new wife. You have seen the Cinderella movie where the king tries to arrange for his son to meet the right woman to marry, so they throw a big ball where he meets them all and dances with them. Well that movie always comes to my mind here, but our story in Esther is not nearly so innocent. These women were to spend a full year getting cleaned up before they would spend an evening with the king. They may or may not be required to perform other deeds for him, then they would be placed in his royal harem, where they would never see him again.