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
THE JOY OF OUR SALVATION
Preached tag team style with Pastor Justin Werber
INTRODUCTION (ERIK-5 MIN)
-What do you think of when you hear the word “celebration”?
-The last few weeks I typed “celebration” into Google to see what would come up.
-I was surprised by some of what I saw:
-This past week people celebrated “roof over your head day”. Didn’t know that was a holiday.
-Nigerian soccer fans celebrated getting into the world cup and 12 people died, 240 injured
-Found a headline saying “celebrate National Geography Week with your kids.”
(Can’t figure out why that one hasn’t caught on)
-150th celebration of the Gettysburg address
-Probably the most moving thing I found was 100 kidney transplant recipients and their donors got together to celebrate being alive!
-What do you celebrate? What brings you so much joy that you want to celebrate?
-Obviously we’re heading into the holiday so we think Christmas.
-But outside the thing that the calendar tells you to celebrate...what do you want to celebrate?
-What causes you to get so excited that you want to share it with everyone you meet?
-What good things have happened in your life that are so good that you don’t want to forget?
-That’s what we’ll discuss today as we end our series in the book of Esther chapter 9.
-Justin Werber is with me…
• Haman was killed.
• Esther and Mordecai were honored.
• The Jews were vindicated and their enemies were destroyed.
-It doesn’t take much imagination to figure what kind of mood they were in.
-They were beyond happy! They were thrilled! Elated! Overjoyed!
-They had just been saved! 15 million people saved.
-Not surprisingly they wanted to celebrate the joy of their salvation!
-They wanted to party like it was 499 B.C. and they had a good reason to.
-They’d been saved! They were heading for destruction and now they’re alive and overjoyed!
-But they didn’t just want to celebrate, they wanted to commemorate!
-And so they took some very deliberate steps to make sure that they would never forget the day of their salvation.
ESTHER 9:20-22 (JUSTIN-7 MIN)
-vs 20 says
VS 20 Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, 21 calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days. 22 He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor. This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.
-The Jews had won an amazing victory because of God’s mercy, so Mordecai called the Jews to celebrate the salvation they received.
-Imagine with me:
-Before their salvation, they were:
-scared, people probably didn’t even want to leave their homes for fear of the unknown.
-there were tears of sorrow, everywhere you looked you saw red eyes and damp sleeves.
-the Jews were fearful for their children, their children were going to die, and they had nothing they could do. How would that make you feel? Can you imagine?
-they might have been trying to find a place to hide, they knew they were going to die, but if they could just hide they might be able to survive...
-they might have tried to leave town...if they left town maybe they could have escaped the genocide that was going to happen
-After they received their salvation:
-they were overwhelmed with joy
-it was a very emotional time, one moment everyone is scared for their lives, and next they are being told that they have been saved…
-they probably sang songs, praising God for everything that had happened to them.
-I can picture them dancing in the streets
-the children were probably able to play without fear of who was around them.
-I’m sure there was there was laughter
-and tears of joy
-The Jews in Persia were overjoyed by their salvation!
-How would you expect a bunch of religious Jews to celebrate? (sell this better)
-These are the guys with long beards, robes, who were known for the strict laws they followed and were soo religious that they even abstained from eating bacon.
-For some reason in my head I picture them gathering together making sacrifices, singing religious songs, and reading long boring scrolls.
-But that’s not what did they did to celebrate!
-The Jews celebrated in style! They ate tons of food, flat bread, matzo balls, lamb, most likely medium rare. They probably made a Kugel! (a Jewish pudding/casserole similar to a pie)
-It says they gave food to friends...probably in casserole dishes.
-They gave presents to the poor...usually this was money that they would give to people, or donate to a charity that they supported.