Summary: Will we pursue righteousness or rewards?
Woodlawn Baptist Church
September 26, 2004
As we get closer to the end of our walk through the book of Esther, I want to tell you that I have really enjoyed the things the Lord has been teaching me through the study. A well-known preacher one time said that before a preacher preaches through any book of the Bible, he ought to read it through at least 50 times. The first time I heard that I thought it was nonsense, but let me tell you I am beginning to see his point. Each time I begin a new book, I take off in some direction, just knowing that it was where the Lord wanted me to go, but as I neared the end of the book, I realized that there was so much more to what I thought was there. Esther is no different. If I thought you could stand it, I think I would preach through some of these books twice, one time the way I thought it ought to be, and the second time the way I learned God intended it to be.
If you never learn anything else from me, I want to leave with you a lasting impression of the wonder of the Word of God. It may be an old book, but if you will only read them, the stories are as fresh and interesting as today’s news, and the truths are timeless and relevant for each of our lives, regardless of who we are or what we do. The Lord wants you to be a life-long student of the Word of God. He wants you to learn it, to grow in it, to love it, because in it is contained the greatest story ever told – the story of God’s great love for you and how He has redeemed you and set you free to a life of great purpose and passion for Him. Don’t ever come to the place where you are unteachable. All of us can learn from God’s Word. If you’re not willing to learn from it and have your mind changed about something in it, then don’t bother opening it up. I wonder sometimes if that’s why some of you don’t bring one or open one when I preach. Listen, if you’ll be an honest student of the Word, you’ll fall in love with the God of the Word.
Do you ever wonder why it is that you struggle with things like Bible study? There is a part of you that wants to read it and study it, but another part that keeps putting it off or making excuses. It may not be Bible study; perhaps it is some other thing like taking your needs to the Lord in prayer, or loving others. You hear preachers say to do the right thing, or to obey the Lord. We tell you to hang in there or put up a good fight and all that religious kind of talk, but no matter how pumped up you may feel when you leave here you realize all too quickly that Sunday morning pep talks don’t help much when your wife is mad at you or when you’re faced with temptation.
Is it worth the trouble? Don’t you ever ask yourself that question? You love and you love someone, but they stomp on you. You give and you give, but you don’t seem to be getting. You read and you pray and you go to church, but things aren’t getting much better. Some of you have been going through some long lasting trying times, and you wonder when you’re going to get some relief. Why bother? Is it worth the trouble? As we look at this 8th chapter of Esther this morning, I want to impress upon you that it is worth it – that living for the Lord is worth it, not just in heavenly, eternal rewards, but in terms of today, the “right where you are” kinds of rewards that only the Lord can offer in this lifetime. Let’s read our text and then we’ll consider some of God’s rewards for righteous living before Him.