Sermons

Summary: Using the biblical account of Haman, the dangers of bitterness are illustrated

The Three Thieves of Thanksgiving- Bitterness

CCCAG December 3rd, 2017

Sermon Text- Esther 2:21-3:6

When I was a teenager I was really into martial arts, and I hung with a group of guys that were always training, always sparring, always looking at new ways to fight and to perfect our fighting techniques.

All of us had pads, and a few of our parents even let us cut the grass in our backyards extra short in a spot to mark off the typical square that most competitive martial arts events take place in. It’s a little bigger than a boxing ring.

We would all put our pads on and agree to the rules of the day- typically only use half contact to the body, and very light contact to the face, and nothing other than sweeps to the legs as our parents would be a bit upset if we ended up in the ER every week. For the most part, we followed those rules.

I was by far the shortest of our group at 5’6”. One of my friends, Steve, was about 6 inches taller than I was, and had a significant reach advantage. All my friends learned that when they got into the ring with me, all they had to do was lunge punch me and I couldn’t counter because I still had 4-6 inches to go before my hands would even touch them. Steve did this to me all the time and loved showing off. We were sparring in front of our girlfriends one summer day and he was in full Steve mode- Showing off, doing the old rope a dope, and making me look bad in front of everyone.

Steve really started on the verbal abuse has he kept darting in with lunge punches to my forehead and making everyone else laugh. I then saw a weakness to his punch and how he telegraphed what he was about to do- his toe would slightly turn in right before he would lunge. So I waited for it- and the next time he came in, I ducked the right underneath it, and all I saw was his ribcage. The whole “half contact to the body rule” went right out the window.

I wound up a punch all the way from my toes and let it rip, lifting Steve right off the ground and knocking the wind right out of him.

As he rolled around on the ground gasping for air among the laughter of everyone else, he stumbled to his feet and said, “Ok, lets go”.

The next thing he threw was a front kick. He claimed he was aiming for my chest, but it only made it about half way up and the flat of his foot hit me right in the groin.

Yeah….now I was on the ground groaning feeling like I wanted to die.

Every guy in here just winced…

Life is like that though. Just when we think we scored a much-needed points, BAM- you are on the ground rolling around in pain.

When life starts to land kick after kick or punch after punch- it affects you, you start to expect it, and it affects how you see life and even how you view God. If we are not careful, a root forms in your spirit, and it produces bitterness within your soul.

Today we will be concluding our series on the three things that steal our joy or our ability to be a thankful person.

We saw how comparison leads to envy, envy to jealousy, and if left alone and allowed to flourish, changes us into a person filled with bitterness and anger.

In the Old Testament book of Esther, we read of a young Hebrew girl who was carried away to Babylon after the destruction of Jerusalem and is raised by her uncle Mordechai. Esther finds herself in a unique situation- the queen of Babylon has been exiled, and she enters a national beauty contest for to find a new queen and wins the heart of the King becomes his wife. While this is going on, Mordecai becomes one of the king’s officials, and uncovers a plot against the king, and that is where we pick up the story-

Esther 2:21

During the time Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, became angry and conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 22 But Mordecai found out about the plot and told Queen Esther, who in turn reported it to the king, giving credit to Mordecai. 23 And when the report was investigated and found to be true, the two officials were impaled on poles. All this was recorded in the book of the annals in the presence of the king.

Chapter 3 After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of all the other nobles. 2 All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor.

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