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.
LIVING FOR GOD IN A GODLESS CULTURE
Surprise Endings: Esther 2:1-18
-A few weeks ago Shelly Szekely texted me to ask what to say when someone else uses the Lord’s name in vain.
-It struck me that it kind of depends on who the person is.
-What if they are a non-Christian? What if they are an atheist?
-What if it’s a stranger on the street? What if they are a Christian?
-What if they are someone who calls themselves a Christian?
-How we respond to such situations…sometimes depends on who the person is, and where they are at in their spiritual journey.
-When you live in a godless culture, it’s tricky to deal with the different people around you….
-Especially when you’re someone who is trying to follow God.
-Evangelical Christians in, people with beliefs like ours, make up about 13% of the American population.
-If you’ve ever felt like you held the minority view on issues of morality and faith there is a reason why…you do.
-No one hear considers themselves a radical fundamentalist but compared to many people in our culture…you are.
-And that sometimes has an unfortunate side effect.
-Sometimes we start seeing ourselves as the opponents of the people in our godless culture.
-In our mind we are pitted against people who are our family, neighbors, co-workers because they don’t share our beliefs.
-But the godless people in our godless culture are not our adversaries. They are simply people who don’t yet know God.
-And our privilege, our joy, our job is tell them the good news about our God and his Son Jesus Christ.
-And to recognize where people are at in their knowledge of God, their obedience to God, and their love of God.
-This morning we finally get to meet Esther and Mordecai.
-But let me give you a filter to read this book with.
-Esther and Mordecai were both sinners and saints.
-History remembers them as heroes, and they were. But they were also people who struggled…especially early in our story.
XERXES: A NON-BELIEVER
-A lot has happened between chapter 1 and chapter 2.
-Last week Jae and Allan told the story of King Xerxes and Vashti
-In chapter 1 Xerxes got drunk and demanded that his wife strut her stuff in front of all of the people at his party.
-He was wrong, she was right. To save face in front of all his men, he banished Queen Vashti.
-Between the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2, four years has passed.
-During that time Xerxes has launched two unsuccessful military campaigns against the Greeks.
-He spend 6 months wining and dining the nobles to get them on board with his plan, and once they were committed they were defeated by the Greeks.
-So the selfish, egotistical, and arrogant king has been humbled.
-And that is where we pick up in chapter 2:
VS 2 But after Xerxes’ anger had subsided, he began thinking about Vashti and what she had done and the decree he had made.
-It’s not clearly stated but it’s clearly implied. Xerxes realized that he’d made a mistake.
-He was drunk. He was angry. He was being selfish.
-He divorced his wife for all the wrong reasons and years later when things have died down, he regrets it.
-He was offended by her, and in the heat of the moment he made a very permanent decision over a very temporary problem.
-He got divorced. And in his case, he made a decree which could not be revoked…Vashti was gone for good.
-This happens all the time. People have a fight, have a bad season. -Words are spoken. Names are called. Threats are made.
-And many people today do what the king did back then.
-The king turned to his advisors, who were all single guys, for advice and they said, “you don’t need her. Cut your losses.
-Why do we seek advice from people who are not happily married, when we want to be happily married?
-Why do Christian people often seek marriage advice from non-Christians when they are having marriage struggles?
-Why don’t we seek counsel from God and God’s people?
-Years after their divorces…many people do exactly what Xerxes did. He rolled back the tape and regretted his actions.
-But not because of any religious conviction.
-Xerxes wasn’t interested in following God.
-There are countless people like this in our culture.
-They don’t know God and they don’t care what he says.
-They’ll get advice from anywhere, from anyone.
-And when we start feeling religious we get cantankerous toward these people…what is there problem?
-Why are they so foolish? Why can’t they get their act together?
-Like who…like me. Why can’t they be more like…me?
-I don’t act like that, do that, say that. I would never be like them.