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 VIEW FROM ROCK BOTTOM: ESTHER 4(1-17)
-Recently, I heard a man talk about his path to sobriety.
-And he talked about hitting rock bottom (his lowest point)
-passed out on the couch one night and his 7 year old daughter came to wake him up…fell broke ribs
-Laying on the ground looking up into his daughter’s eyes.
-Broken, humiliated…and knew something had to change.
-We’re going to see something similar today w/Mordecai…
• Xerxes had became King in Persia.
• He banished Queen Vashti.
• Esther was promoted to be new Queen.
• Mordecai crossed Haman.
-Mordecai’s character has been a little sketchy so far in Esther
-He’s a Jewish man continuing to live in Persia instead of Israel
-He didn’t speak up or fight when they came for his daughter
-He’s hidden his nationality and religion for years.
-When he finally stood up for something…he chose rather poorly.
-He publically disrespected a very dangerous man who became an enemy of Mordecai…and all of God’s people.
• Haman issued a death sentence for all Jews in Persia.
-With the King’s support a decree was made saying that all the Jews in the Kingdom could be wiped out…and it was all legal.
-The Persians had the original pony express system; they sent these dispatches out far and wide…
-But they couldn’t kill them until the proper time… a year later.
-You hate getting surprise bills in the mail? 15 million people got a notice in the mail that they’d be killed in one year’s time.
-And all this was because Mordecai wouldn’t tip his hat to Haman
-He was cocky. He was arrogant. He was pretty proud of himself.
-He wasn’t going to be pushed around.
-He wasn’t going to go to be told what to do.
-He probably felt pretty smug about doing this and getting away with it…until..this edict was given.
-How do you think Mordecai felt when realized that he had single-handedly sealed the fate of the all the Jews in Persia?
ESTHER 4:1-3 We don’t have to wonder…the text tells us.
VS 1 When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.
-He was crushed. Devastated. This news wiped him out.
-He put on his official mourning clothes.
-It was common in the ancient world for people who were in mourning to put their feelings on display.
-When there was tragedy, or pending doom, or a great injustice, or great sin…they would look disheveled and often wail loudly.
-Think about how hard modern people try not to show their emotions…try to put on a strong face or good appearance.
-They hole up privately not wanting 2B seen in a vulnerable state.
-We put on a bathrobe, cable TV and a carton of Rocky Road.
-These people put on a gunny sack, threw ashes on themselves, messed up their hair, and went downtown to cry.
-Sounds weird to us…but when they were suffering they let the people around them know, and even see it up close.
-That’s what Mordecai has done here. But not just Mordecai.
VS 2 He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning.
-The king only liked to be around the nice looking people…happy.
VS 3 And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.
-He heads toward the gate of the palace…where he works.
-And you know the office gossips were talking about old Morty.
-We tried to warn him. We tried to tell him.
-We didn’t want to tell Haman what Mordecai was doing…but we had no choice. He brought this upon himself. Sad really.
-If they said such things…they were right.
-Mordecai’s own sin brought pain/trouble into his life.
-What did Mordecai think would happen? He didn’t think.
-People never do think much about consequences of sin.
-You don’t think about a DUI when you’re partying with friends
-You don’t think about getting your girlfriend pregnant…love
-You don’t think about your husband leaving you because you’ve beaten him down with criticism and nagging for 20 years.
-You don’t think about losing your job when your firing back at your boss in the heat of the moment.
-You don’t think about losing a friend when you’re gossiping.
-You don’t think about heart attacks and strokes when you’re overeating.
-You don’t think about the consequences of sin while sinning.
-Because sin always bring some sort of immediate satisfaction.
-Sin bring pleasure, or feelings of control, or temporary escape...if sin wasn’t somehow appealing we wouldn’t do it.