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Summary: Though God is never mentioned in this book, his fingerprints are all over the story of the heroic Esther and Mordecai. Study along as we discuss the ins and outs of living for God in a godless culture.

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Esther: Living For God, in a Godless Culture

Esther 1:1-9

INTRODUCTION TO ESTHER

-For 60 years in a row the percentage of Christians in every American state has been decreasing.

-Some modern day prophets see this decline as evidence that the end is near…perhaps they’re right.

-Some experts and scholars say this is the historical trend of the gospel worldwide…the gospel comes and goes.

-The pessimists say…that God is judging our country for its sins…there might be some truth to that.

-The optimists say…that’s just more lost people for us to share the message of Jesus with!

-Whatever the explanation, the percentage of Christians in every American state has been decreasing for 60 years!

-Many of us who are trying to follow God feel overwhelmed at times by the godless culture that we live in.

-When I was a kid pastors would say, “This is a Christian nation.”

-But no one really believes that today.

-We are Christians, but it’s hard to be Christians in a world that seems contrary to everything we believe in.

-Our children are taught things at school that contradict our beliefs.

-The courts make decisions that don’t reflect our values.

-Television shows get raunchier and more graphic all the time.

-The breakdown of marriage and family in our land is epidemic.

-We can’t hardly let our kids spend the night at a friend’s house because we aren’t sure of what they’ll see, hear, watch, or dig up online!

-More and more Christians have a sense that we are the minority; the culture we live in doesn’t share our worldview, our values, or our faith in Jesus Christ.

-That can make us feel marginalized, angry, sad, overwhelmed, and can make us feel like just giving up on our faith.

-But Christians; this isn't a new thing. This is a normal thing.

-Historically the people of God have almost always been in the minority in their respective countries and cultures.

-Jesus and his disciples were branded, ostracized, and persecuted.

-Roman Christians were persecuted fiercely & killed for their beliefs.

-And even before Christ came; God’s people knew what it was like to “live for God in a godless culture.”

-That’s what we’re going to be studying as we head into the book of Esther these next couple months.

-Here are some things you need to know about the book of Esther:

• The author is unknown. (Mordecai)

• One of the last books written in OT.

• One of only two books in the Bible named after a woman.

• God is never mentioned in this book.

-The entire setting of Esther is so godless that God isn’t even mentioned in the account of what went on.

-Today we aren’t going to focus on Esther but another key character who is introduced in chap 1.

-It’s perfect that many of you are wearing football gear today.

-There is one necessary component for all serious armchair quarterbacks…an arm chair. A recliner! Men love their recliners

XERXES: A GODLESS KING who loved his armchair…more on that later.

VS 1 These events happened in the days of King Xerxes, who reigned over 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia.

-Xerxes was the son of the ruthless Persian King Darius who had conquered most of the known world at that time.

-Darius, like most of the ancient kings, had a whole harem of wives and thus he had many children.

-Xerxes was the chosen son to be the heir to this massive kingdom.

-At the time of Esther’s story he was about 35 years old. (483BC)

-Xerxes was raised in luxury at the King’s palace.

-He was spoiled. He was concieted and extremly egostictical.

-He was a typical ancient king. He wasn’t elected by the people.

-His dad handed him the keys to a vast kingdom.

-He owned many nations, ruled over people who spoke many languages, had control over a vast army and had a god-like status over the people that he ruled.

-In fact, he gave himself the title “king of kings.”

-There’s someone else we know who rightfully owns that title, and I wouldn’t suggest calling yourself that! Lighting could strike!

-Xerxes had an amazing armchair…well it was a throne.

-And it was a very impressive, richly decorated throne.

-And he loved to sit in it. It may have even had heated seat and massage, we aren’t sure.

-It was carried on the shoulders of slaves so that wherever he went people had to look up on him and so he could look down on them.

-People were required to bow down as his throne passed buy.

-He would sit in that throne while his army would fight for him.

-He was hands down the most powerful man in the world.

-He was the leader of the largest, richest, most powerful nation in the history of the world at that time.

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