ESTHER #19

11/23/21

Haman was thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated when King Xerxes commanded him to honor Mordecai with a public display of the king’s gratitude that Mordecai had expected to receive for himself.

Esther 6: 12-13  “Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, and told…his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. His advisors and his wife…said to him, ‘Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him – you will surely come to ruin.’” 

Haman’s own family and his advisors tell him, “Your downfall has started.”   That parade through the streets was just the beginning.  Your plan never had a chance because “Mordecai is of Jewish origin.”  He’s a descendant of Abraham, the “father” of the Jewish nation.  He’s a part of the promises God made to Abraham.  You cannot sand against him. You will never succeed in your plans against him.  It will be fatal to continue to oppose him.  Haman knew it and his whole family knew it too. 

When Jesus stepped out of the tomb, Satan’s downfall had started. It was the beginning of the end for the devil and his angels.  Satan knows he will never succeed and it will be fatal to oppose Jesus.  He also knows the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church; against believers.  Because of our faith in Jesus, we are also “of Jewish origin” and linked to those promises God made to Abraham.   

 “You are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  (Galatians 3:26, 29)

When we place our complete trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins; when we accept His free gift of everlasting life and invite Him into our lives as our Savior, we become born again. We are “bought with a price.”   We are adopted into His family.  We become His children “through faith in Christ Jesus.” The devil knows he will never succeed and it will be fatal for him to oppose us.  

Esther 6: 14 – 7:4     “While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs  arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared. So the king and Haman went to dine with Queen Esther and as they were drinking wine on that second day, the king again asked,  ‘Queen Esther, what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.’ Then Queen Esther answered, ‘If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life – this is my petition. And spare my people – this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation. If we had merely been sold as male and female slaves, I would have kept quiet, because no such distress would justify disturbing the king.’”

“I and my people have been sold for destruction, slaughter and annihilation.”  Jesus said, “”the thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy; but I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Because of our love for and our trust in Jesus, we are being targeted for destruction.  Believers are constantly struggling against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  The devil knows he can’t win.  But that hasn’t stopped him from trying.  He won’t give up until it’s completely over for him.  He keeps trying to prevent us from living the abundant life Jesus came to give us.   

Esther 7: 5-6a    “King Xerxes asked Queen Esther, ‘Who is he? Where is the man who dared to do such a thing?’ Esther said, ‘The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.”

Haman is “outed” and exposed as the monster he really is.  The truth about Haman has been revealed.  Our adversary, the one who keeps opposing us and tormenting us; our enemy, the one who is trying to defeat and destroy us, is this vile Satan and the truth about him will one day be exposed.    

Esther 7:6b   “The Haman was terrified before the king and queen.”

The devil is more terrified before God than Haman was before Xerxes and it’s important for all of us to know and believe that.  The devil is terrified and we’d better not forget it.  The devil is “terrified before the King and Queen.”  Satan is terrified of Jesus and His Church. 

Let’s break here and, Lord willing, pick it up again next Tuesday. Thanks for being I n God’s Word with Pastor Buj.  

ESTHER #18

11/16/21

We’ve been talking about the obvious parallels between Satan’s plan for Jesus and Haman’s plan for Mordecai.  Haman’s plan was to hang Mordecai on a gallows and Satan’s plan was to hang Jesus on a cross.  Both plans were designed, not only to kill them, but also to disgrace and humiliate them as well.  The plans were both designed to terrorize anyone who belonged to their families and cause the rest of the world to hate them.

Haman had the gallows built before he went to the king.  That’s how sure he was that he could persuade the king to do it. That’s how much influence; how much control Haman believed he had over King Xerxes. 

But Haman didn’t realize that before he got there, King Xerxes had been reading in his records about the time Mordecai saved his life and prevented the collapse of the kingdom by uncovering a plot to assassinate him.  Xerxes also noticed that nothing had ever been done to acknowledge or to thank Mordecai for saving the king’s life. Haman came into the palace to convince King Xerxes that he should kill Mordecai, but King Xerxes has already decided that he wants to honor Mordecai.

Haman wants to be king.  Haman is planning to become the king.  But Haman is not the king yet and because he’s not the king yet, he can’t ignore the fundamental rules of Kingship.

1. The king always speaks first.  The king always speaks the first word.  Nobody speaks to the king until the king gives them permission to speak. 

We really don’t have to worry about that with Jesus, our king, because He’s already given us an open invitation to come to Him at any time for any reason.  We know we’ll never be turned away.  Jesus already gave us His permission to speak when He said, “Ask.” 

But when Haman came to see King Xerxes, I have a feeling he might have forgotten that first rule of kingship.  He may not have forgotten it, but I doubt he was worried about it.  It really doesn’t matter because, when Haman came into the palace, Xerxes had the first word.   

 Esther 6:6a    “The king said, ‘What shall be done for the man the king delights to honor?’”

Haman’s thinking to himself; “This is too easy.” 

Esther 6: 6b-9    “Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me? So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest on its head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets , proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor.’”  

This is Haman’s fantasy.  Haman’s fantasy is seeing himself being paraded through the streets and exalted by the people.  Haman’s ultimate fantasy is seeing himself sitting on the throne and ruling the whole kingdom.  Satan can see himself on the throne ruling heaven and earth forever.  That’s Satan’s fantasy. 

Both of these fantasies might have become realities, but the King always speaks first.  The King always has the first word.  

Esther 6:10   “’Go at once’, the king commanded Haman. Get the robe and the horse and do as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.’” 

You can practically hear Haman screaming to himself, “Noooooooooo!!!!!!!! That’s not what I meant.  That’s not how it’s supposed to be.  You got it wrong. You misunderstood me.” The King always speaks first.  

2. The second rule of Kingship: The king is never wrong.  He never misunderstands and He is never mistaken. Even when I think He’s wrong; even when I believe I can’t possibly be wrong; even when I’m positively convinced I’m absolutely right, the King is never wrong.  Suck it up, Haman.  The king is never wrong.  

Esther 6:11    “So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor,’”  

Haman’s fantasy is crushed.  His plans have been turned upside down.  It’s the beginning of the end for Haman as he’s parading Mordecai through the streets.  The body of Jesus was taken down off the cross and placed in a tomb.  Three days later, Satan’s fantasy was crushed.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightening, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became as dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; He has risen just as He said.’”  (Matthew 28: 2-6)

You can hear the devil screaming to himself; “No!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s not how it’s supposed to be.”  You are wrong. 

It may not be the way you think it should be.  It may not be the way you want it to be.  But it’s exactly the way the King says it will be.  The King always speaks first and the King is never wrong.

Lord willing, we’ll go on from here next Tuesday. You won’t want to miss the rest of the story. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

ESTHER #17

11/09/21

            King Xerxes has been reading the chronicles of his reign and was reminded that Mordecai had once saved his live and nothing was ever done to reward him.

Esther 6: 4-5    “The king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about hanging Mordecai on the gallows he had built for him. His attendants answered, ‘Haman is standing in the court.’ ‘Bring him in,’ the king ordered.”

Talk about bad timing.  Xerxes’ meditation and quiet time were interrupted by Haman who’s come to talk to the king about his diabolical plan to murder Mordecai.  But when he gets there, Haman doesn’t get a chance to say anything.  

Esther 6:6a     “When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’”

“What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”  Is what I think you said what I think you meant?  Confused?  Good; you should be.  Haman is certainly confused.  If we’re confused, we can’t blame God for it.  Sin causes confusion and Satan is the author of it..   

“Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find confusion and every evil practice.(James 3:16)

God is not the author of confusion. Wherever Satan rules and sin runs unchecked, confusion, chaos and disorder will run rampant in a life, in a home, in a church, or in a nation..   

 Esther 6:6b  “Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?’”    

What I think he said, must be what I thought he meant. “Who would the king rather honor than me?”   Haman and Satan, two self-absorbed egotists who both want to be king; who both want to rule people’s lives; who cannot be satisfied as long as someone tries to resist them and has absolutely no fear of them.  There is no room in Haman’s world for anyone or anything but himself.  He loves himself and no one else. 

The devil is full of himself too.  He can’t think of anyone who should be honored more than he.  He will use, abuse and then abandon anyone and anything he can to achieve his own goals and purposes. He will never love or honor anyone but himself.     

Esther 6: 7-9    “So he answered the king, ‘For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on his head. Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the one the king delights to honor.’”

Since what I think you said is what I think you meant; since you’re obviously planning to honor me; let me wear your robe.  I already have your ring.  Let me ride your horse, the one with the royal crest on his forehead that lets everyone know it’s your horse.  Parade me through the streets of the city and let the whole world know; “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor.”  In other words, if you really want to honor me, step aside; step down; move over and let me take your place. 

So we leave today with two plans on the table; a plan to humiliate and disgrace and a plan to honor and exalt.  One plan ends in victory and life.  The other ends in defeat and death.  Hang him on a gallows.    Parade him through the streets.  Both of the events are going to happen.  Both of these plans will be carried out.  It’s not exactly what Haman had in mind.  Obviously, what he thought Xerxes said what not what Haman thought he meant. 

That’s the kind of damage sin and confusion will cause.  Before it’s all over, someone will be impaled on a pole and someone will be paraded through the streets.  There are two plans on the table of world events right now.  The devil has his plan and God has His own.  Both plans will be carried out. 

The questions I’ve got to answer are, “which plan will I be a part of?  Where will I be standing when these plans are completed:  Who am I standing with?  Whose side am I on?”

Lord willing, we’ll continue to watch this unfold next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj. 

ESTHER #16

11/02/21

In the middle of the night, Haman and his family devised a plan to humiliate and kill Mordecai by impaling him on a stake and they have begun to carry out their plan.

Esther 6:1a     “That night the king could not sleep.”

The king can’t sleep. Maybe the pressure and weight of the enormous burden of leadership was taking its toll on him. There’s been a steadily increasing sense of anxiety and fear in the kingdom lately, with very little joy or satisfaction. The nation had lost much more than it gained over the years. It declined much farther than it had advanced since the king started listening to Haman’s advice. 

Everything Haman did was designed to satisfy his own agenda and accomplish his own purpose.  But Haman had managed to convince the king that it was in the best interest of the nation.  It was all supposed to make things better.  But things kept getting worse.  Haman keeps telling me its right but something inside me says it’s wrong.  The king was restless.  He needed answers.  He started searching for truth.     

Esther 6:1b   “so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him.”

He started reading his diary, “the book of the chronicles; the record of his reign,” which was actually an official account of their nation’s history.  He began to remember a time in his life when he had the peace and the rest he was so desperately searching for now. What happened to it?  Where did it go?  When and how did I lose it?  He went back into the history books to find out what had once made their nation so great; why they had been so blest and prosperous in the past.    

Esther 6:2     “It was found there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes.”

That’s right!  There was a time in our nation’s history when truth mattered.  Listening to Mordecai and following his advice saved my life and prevented a collapse of the kingdom.

Esther 6:3a   ‘”What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?’, the king asked.”

What did we ever do about that?  How did we thank him for what he did for us?   

Esther 6:3b  “’Nothing has been done for him,’ his servants answered.”   

Nothing has ever been done for him.  Instead of thanking Mordecai, King Xerxes elevated Haman to a position of second in command of the nation and believing Haman’s lies have turned Mordecai from a friend and helper, into an enemy and a liability. 

The “spirit of the antichrist” that is present in the world today has deceived this nation the way Haman deceived the nation of Persia.  Years of self-indulgence, self-gratification and self-exultation that come from embracing the lies of the devil have stolen the greatness from our land. 

Like Xerxes, we have forgotten that honoring the truth of God’s Word is what blessed us in the past, kept us free, and caused us to prosper as a nation.  We have allowed freedom and blessings to slip through our fingers and the God of the Bible; the one who is “the way, the truth and the life;” the one who is “the only way to the Father,” has now become our enemy and believing in this God has become a threat to our national security. 

Because we see ourselves as being more progressive and enlightened now, we keep telling ourselves that things are supposed to be getting better.  But we know they keep getting worse.  We’ve convinced ourselves that what we are doing and the direction we are going is right.  But deep down inside, we know it’s wrong.  We’re not advancing as a civilization, we’re steadily declining. 

As violence, greed and self-indulgence, lawlessness and idolatry continue to increase, God’s people are praying for their leaders to turn back to the truth; to look back into our history and remember the things that once made this nation great.  King Xerxes couldn’t sleep so he read back over the kingdom’s history and found the answers he was searching for.

We’ll break here for now and, Lord willing, next Tuesday we’ll see what King Xerxes decides to do. What will restore the rest and peace he and the nation had once.? Thanks for being in God’s word with Pasto Buj.

ESTHER #15

10/26/21

Because of his intense hatred for Mordecai, Haman has manipulated King Xerxes into passing a law that sentences every Jew in Persia to death.  Esther is trying to persuade the King to change his mind.  As we pick up the story, Esther has just invited Xerxes and Haman to attend a banquet she’s planning just for them. That made Haman feel pretty special. 

Esther 5:9    “Haman went out that day happy and in high spirits. But when he saw Mordecai at the king’s gate and observed that he neither rose nor showed fear in his presence, he was filled with rage against Mordecai.”

Mordecai would not bow down to Haman. He was not afraid of Haman like everyone else in the kingdom. Mordecai knew the truth about Haman’s schemes and motives. One minute Haman is “in high spirits” and the next he’s “filled with rage against Mordecai.”  It’s just like someone flipped a switch. 

Any joy or pleasure the devil may be promising us is purely temporary. Any pleasure, any high we may get from sin slips away very quickly. One minute we’re feeling high; on top of the world; in full control; invincible and the next we’re either filled with rage or filled with guilt and shame or filled with hopelessness and despair.  The pleasure is gone but the pain lingers on.  Sin only produces a moment of pleasure, but it creates a lifetime of regret.     

Esther 5:10a     “Nevertheless, Haman restrained himself and went home.”

Haman wanted to kill Mordecai there and then, but he decided to stick to his original plan of killing all the Jews on a day that had already been set up.   

Esther 5:10b-12  “Calling together his friends and his wife…Haman boasted to them about his vast wealth, his many sons, and all the ways the king had honored him and how he had elevated him above the other nobles and officials. ‘And that’s not all,’ Haman added, ‘I’m the only person Queen Esther invited to accompany the king to the banquet she gave. And she has invited me along with the king tomorrow.’”     

Remember, when we see Haman, we think of Satan, the enemy of Jesus, the true King. Satan is the one who wants to rule the world and be the king; the one who wants to be worshipped and feared by everyone in the kingdom. 

Haman was boasting about his enormous wealth; his many sons; about being honored by the king and been elevated above all the nobles and officials.  He brags about being the only one, other than the king, who’s been invited to Esther’s banquet. 

“My vast wealth…my many sons…the many ways I have been honored and exalted.  I’m the only one Queen Esther has invited.”   I, Me, My – That’s the heart and definition of sin and the Bible says we all have it. 

The spirit that lives in Haman lives in all of us and it makes us believe we’re the center of our world.  It turns us into enemies of God. It’s called our carnal nature, our sinful, human nature. It’s a boastful spirit; a self-centered, arrogant pride that demands attention and constantly needs feeding, pampering and stroking.  But look what happens when we allow our sinful, human nature to control our lives. 

Esther 5:13    “’But all this gives me no satisfaction as long as I see that Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.’”

I’ve done it all and I have it all; a lot of money; a great job; a nice family.  People respect and fear me.  But I’m still not content.  I’m still not complete.  I’m still empty.  Something is still missing.  Mick Jagger said it best when he said, “I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried; but I can’t get no…satisfaction.”   I still can’t find peace.  When I accomplished all my goals and came to the end, there was nothing there.

Satan is the ultimate sinner and no one is more unsatisfied than he is.  The devil’s trying to grab it all.  But he is not; he cannot and he never will be satisfied and neither will we if we keep believing his lies.   

 Esther 5:14a    “His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, ‘Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it.’”     

There, at his home, Haman, his wife and his family design a diabolical plan, not just to kill Mordecai, but to humiliate and publicly disgrace him as well; a plan to frighten and terrorize his followers and cause the rest of the world to hate them. 

Hang him on a gallows. Not with a rope like they did in those old western movies.  Take him up on a hill were everybody can see him and impale his body on a seventy-five foot stake.  That’s the kind of “gallows” they used in ancient Persia. This is what will be done to the one Haman delights to disgrace.  Have Mordecai’s body impaled on a stake and convince the king he’s doing the world a favor.

 In his home, a place we lovingly like to refer to as “the pit of hell;” Satan and his family; the devil and his angels, drafted their diabolical plan, not just to defeat and kill Jesus, but to humiliate and disgrace Him as well; a plan to terrorize His disciples and cause the rest of the world to hate them. 

Hang Him on a gallows.  Take Him up on a hill where everyone can see Him, nail Him to a cross and let Him hang there until He’s dead.  Take my word for it.  Trust me.  You’ll be doing the world a favor.    

Esther 5:14b   “’Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy.’ His suggestion delighted Haman, and he had the gallows built.”

Haman is happy again and his plan is put into motion. Lord willing we’ll go on from  here next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

ESTHER #14

10/19/21

Esther has approached King Xerxes to plead for the protection of her people. Hamani tricked Xerxes into passing a law that was designed to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. Esther has been showing us the proper way to approach a king. After Esther had gone as far as she could on her own …

Esther 5:2 b  He “held out the gold scepter that was in his hand. So Esther approached and touched the tip of the scepter.”   

The king reached out to her with his Gold Scepter. His signet ring gave him the power to make and enforce the laws, but the gold Scepter gave him the authority to sit on the throne; the place of highest honor that only the king could occupy. Esther was not allowed to touch him directly because he was the king, but she could touch the gold Scepter. 

When we come to God, we can only go so far on our own. Our sin keeps us from fully receiving His love for us.  So if we want to experience the fullness of love the Lord has for us, we have to do what Esther did.  We have to touch the tip of His Scepter. 

When Esther touched that Scepter, the gap between her and the king was closed.  There was no more separation.  Now there was a connection; there was unbroken contact between Esther and the king.

 God has done for us what we had no right or no power to do for ourselves.  By His grace, God has reached out to us.  With unconditional love, God is reaching out to us today.  He has closed the gap and removed the separation that was created by our sin.  God has extended His Scepter to us; the cross where Jesus shed His blood so our sins would all be forgiven. 

Touching the Scepter; believing in the cross; trusting in His blood that was shed on that cross; acknowledging and repenting of my sin; inviting Jesus into my life –  brings me into a direct, personal and unbroken relationship with God where I can fully experience the height, the length, the depth and the width of His love for me.

It’s when we come into His presence and see Him on the throne; that it really hits us.  That’s when it becomes undeniably clear to us that He is the King.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  That’s when we begin to fully realize who God is and all that God is.  That’s when we first become “gripped by awe.”   Now we are finally able to worship Him with “holy fear and awe.”   

Now we can see that He is holy and we are not.  He has all the power and we have none at all.  He is always greater; always beyond our understanding and we will never catch up.  As we stand in His holy presence knowing full well we don’t deserve to be there; it becomes undeniably clear to us how much of a sinner we are and how much of a Savior He is. 

It makes us deeply and eternally thankful for His grace and His mercy to us.  We can come into His presence with boldness and confidence because, through the cross of Calvary, He’s made a way for us to be there.  Not only does God want us to come and stand before Him; He’s more eager to answer our prayer; He’s more eager to grant our requests than we are to make them. 

Esther 5:3  “Then the king asked, ‘What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half of the kingdom, it will be given you.’”  

King Xerxes was willing to give Esther up to half of his kingdom.  But, Jesus, our King has told us…

  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

He’s pleased to give us the whole kingdom.  He’s willing to give us far more than we’re willing to ask Him for.   

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

God’s throne is “a Throne of Grace.”   In the Old Testament, it’s called a “Mercy Seat.”  It’s a place we’ve been invited to come; a place we’re allowed to be even though we know full well we don’t deserve to be there.  But when we go all the way into His presence; reach out and touch His Scepter through our faith and trust in Jesus, “we receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  He’s invited us to come and we’ll never be turned away.  

Esther 5:7-8   “Esther replied, ‘My petition and request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Hamon come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.’”

Esther was afraid to approach King Xerxes because she actually thought she was going to die.  But after she got there, she realized he was happy to see her and eager to grant her request.   Esther never gets around to making her request until Chapter seven because some surprising events take place between then and now, but we’ll get into later.

But, how about you?  How close do you want to be to God? How far are you willing to go with God?  His gate? The outer court? The inner court?  His presence?  Move up a little closer.  Start today.  Start here.  Start now.

Lord willing, we’ll begin from here next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

ESTHER #13

10/12/21

Esther is preparing to approach King Xerxes to inform him of the diabolical and deceptive plot that is designed to annihilate all the Jews in his kingdom. She knows that she risks death if she just barges into his presence without being invited so she follows a protocol that teaches us the proper way to approach a king. She began with a period of fasting that we mentioned last week.Then…..

Esther 5:1a    “On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace, in front of the king’s hall.”

The first thing Esther did after she finished fasting was change her clothes.  She “put on her royal robes.”   Jesus said all our good works look like filthy rags to Him.  We will never be acceptable to Jesus as long as we’re trusting in the good things we’re trying to do to satisfy Him.  When we come to worship the Lord, we have to stop trusting in our own efforts and become dressed in what the Bible calls, the garments of salvation.”  

“For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”  (Isaiah 61:10 )

What we call “good” is not acceptable; it’s not good enough to please an awesome, holy God.  When we come into His presence, we remove the filthy rags of our own ideas about how to become acceptable to God and we have to put on the clothes He gives us.  We have to be willing to accept His standard of goodness.   

Esther 5:1b   “The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance.”

The king lived in the luxury of the palace while the people lived in the poverty of the city.  They lived in two separate and completely different worlds.  You had to leave one world and enter another in order to get to the king. 

First, you had to pass through the King’s gate.  You couldn’t just walk through the gate; you had to get past the guard.  If you weren’t wearing the right clothes, the guard wouldn’t unlock the gate. 

Next, you had to enter the king’s courts.  There was a large outer court where many people gathered, primarily out of curiosity; hoping to catch a glimpse of the king without the king catching a glimpse of them.  These people never asked the king for anything and they never received anything from him either.  They were either too frightened or just not interested in doing it. 

It took a great deal of boldness and confidence to walk into the inner court where Esther was standing.  There weren’t too many people who were willing to go this far.  The king sat facing the entrance.  If you came this far, there was a good chance the king would see you and if he saw you, you couldn’t predict or control what might happen to you. 

Psalm 100 is the pathway to the King.  It tells us to “enter His gates by giving thanks and come into His courts;” come into His inner and outer courts “with praise.”  “Come into His presence singing joyful songs.” 

The question for me is; after I get to church and sit down in my pew, how much further do I want to go?] Is just being there in the outer court good enough for me or am I hungry and thirsty for more?  Do I want to learn and experience everything God has for me or is fellowship, a few songs, a sermon and a couple of prayers enough to get me through the week?   

Esther 5:2a    “When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her…”

If you came into the inner court because the king invited you, it meant he wanted to see you.  He wanted to be with you..  But if you went into the inner court without being invited, like Esther did, it was because you needed something from him. It was risky and dangerous to approach the king without an invitation. You had to be pretty desperate to try it. There had to be absolutely no one else you could turn to; no one else who could provide what you needed.

 When King Xerxes saw Esther standing in the court, “he was pleased with her.”  She didn’t know it at the time, but King Xerxes was happy to see her.     

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”   

(Matthew 11:28)

Anyone who wants to do it is invited to come to Jesus.   

“And whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”  (John 6: 37b)

We can come to Jesus knowing we will never be rejected.  We’ll never be turned away.  He’s always happy to see us.  With all that assurance, why would anybody be content to just sit in church? We don’t have to wait until we need something from Him.  We don’t have to wait until we’re desperate.  We have an open invitation to come into His presence at any time because He enjoys being with us.  If we enjoyed being with Him half as much as He enjoys being with us, we’d have absolutely no desire to ever leave. 

Esther passed through the gate.  She moved beyond the outer and inner courts and she’s standing in the presence of the king.  That’s as far as she could go by herself.  There was still a space; still a gap; a separation between her and the king.

We can come into His Gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; we can come into His presence with joyful songs; but there is still a gap; there’s still a barrier between us and Him; still something preventing us from fully knowing the joy of being in His presence.

It’s our sin.  We still have to deal with our sin.  The Lord wants to be with us and He wants to give us whatever we ask, but if we haven’t dealt with the sin in our lives, He can’t hear our prayer.

“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18) 

Let’s stop  here for today and, Lord willing, continue with this next Tuesday. Thanks again for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

ESTHER #12

10/05/21

Evangelical believers today do not agree on the interpretation of certain passages of scripture that talks about living in the “last days,” the days just before Crist’s return. Some are convinced that if you just look at what’s happening in the world today there can be no doubt that the chaos and decline going on around us right now obviously indicates that Christ’s return is imminent. Others are quick to point out that when the Bible was being written, conditions under the Roman Government were much worse than they are today.

Regardless of your theological position in this area, it does not change the fact that the Bible makes it very clear that “the Day of the Lord WILL come,” (2 Peter 3:10) and that “Day” is much closer now that it was two thousand years ago.

Mordecai has been trying to get Esther to understand that the DAY is coming soon. There was a definite date set for the destruction of the Jewish people and Mordecai knew exactly what day that was. He was  pleading for Esther’s help to stop it.  The Holy Spirit is pleading with pastors, preachers and teachers today to present God’s Word of truth that will help believers prepare for the day that is coming soon, like a thief in the night. (2 Peter 3:10)

ALSO, we’re not really going to fully understand the fifth chapter of Esther until we address what has got to be the most over-used and least understood phrase in our churches and in our society today.  “That’s Awesome!” 

Psalm 89:7 [NLT]  “The highest angelic powers stand in “awe” of God.  He is far more awesome than all who surround His throne.”

We say it.  We sing it.  We may even understand it a little.  But very few, if any, of us have ever actually experienced any real sense of awe in our lives.  Most of us have no idea what it feels like to “stand in awe of God.” 

The Biblical word “awe” means “respect and wonder.  It means “a holy fear of God because of His great power.”    

   When Jesus drove an evil spirit out of a little boy, “Awe gripped the people as they saw this majestic display of God’s power.”” (Luke 9:43 [NLT]   

 When was the last time you were “gripped by awe”?    Have you ever seen a “majestic display of God’s power?”  Do you have “a holy fear of God because of His great power?”

 Awe is the full realization of who God is and all that God is.  Has there ever been a time in your life when you fully realized who God is and all that God is?  

“He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’ Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’”  (Luke 5: 24-26)

”Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me.” (Jeremiah 2:19)

Sin, especially pride and unbelief, will keep us from experiencing awe in the presence of God.   Sin causes us to lose our “awe” of God.   

“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe.” (Heb. 12:28 [NLT])

When we left off last week, Esther was preparing to go to King Xerxes and plead with him to spare her life and the lives of all the Jewish people who were scheduled to be killed on one single day.

Esther 4:11  “All the king’s officials  and the people of the royal provinces know that for any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death.”

Esther clearly “stood in awe” of King Xerxes.  She had a holy fear of King Xerxes.  Esther was fully aware of who Xerxes was and all Xerxes was.  She was gripped by awe because of Xerxes’ mighty power. When Esther finally gets over her fear of approaching Xerxes, she realizes that she just can’t go in there and start talking.  She has to find a way that is pleasing and acceptable to him or she’ll be dead before she even gets a chance to speak. 

Next Tuesday, Lord willing, Esther is going to show us how to approach a king; how we approach Jesus, our King; how to please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe. I hope you will be back to see it. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.  

ESTHER #11

09/28/21

Mordecai is urging Esther to go the King Xerxes and plead for her people because the day is coming soon; the day of Israel’s appointed destruction.  We compared this to hearing the pastor preach a stirring and emotionally dynamic sermon from the pulpit about the urgency of being a believer in these perilous times we are living in today. Esther knows what Mordecai is urging her to do just like we know what God is urgently asking us to do, Let’s see what happens after the church service is over.

Esther 4: 10-11   “Then she instructed him to say to Mordecai, ‘All the king’s officials and the people…know that for anyone who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law; that they be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter…and spare their life.”

Go back to the gate and tell Mordecai that I can’t do this because it’s been thirty days since the king has asked to see me. The church wants to hear what God is saying today.  They want to hear the Word of God; so they send the pastor to the gate. 

The pastor spends hours at the gate; talking with God; pouring out his heart in prayer for the people; reading God’s Word and hearing what the Spirit is saying to His Church.  Then he comes back and tells everyone everything he’s heard.  He tells them what God said and what God wants. 

And the church says, “That was a great message, pastor.  I don’t know how you do it.”  The pastor says, “Thank you.  But are we going to do what God has asked us to do?”  Oh Pastor, I’d like to.  I want to, but I can’t because – because I’m too old; because I don’t feel well; because I’m too busy; because I’m afraid; because I’m shy; because I’m not that kind of person; I can’t because. ..   

Esther 4:12-13a    “When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer”

 Hathath goes back to the gate and tells Mordecai what Esther said, what Esther has done with that message he had sent her. Then Mordecai sends Hathath back to Esther with next Sunday’s message; another fiery sermon; same text; different title. 

The title of this week’s message is, “You’ve got to, because.”    

Esther 4:13b   “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.”    

#1.  You’ve got to because if we’re not actively participating in spiritual warfare, we’ll become the casualties of it.

Don’t start telling yourself you’re not a part of this. If we don’t believe we’re in a struggle with principalities and powers and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places; if we don’t get up every day and put on that whole armor of God that’s mentioned in Ephesians 6; if we don’t carry and know how to use the weapons of our warfare, including the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God; if we don’t stand up to and resist the devil – we’ll perish.

#2. If we don’t stand up for Jesus, we’ll fall away from Him.   

Esther 4:14a   “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place.”

#3. You’ve got to because if we won’t, someone else will.  

God will find a way.  God will find someone who is willing; someone who trusts Him.  But somehow; some way, God’s work will be accomplished, His will’s going to get done and the devil is going to be defeated with or without my help.  

Esther 4:14b  “but you and your father’s family will perish.”   

#4. If we refuse, we lose.  If we refuse to actively participate in spiritual warfare, we’ll become the casualties of it.  If we don’t stand up for Jesus, we’ll fall away from Him.  If we refuse to act on His Word, God is going to win, but we will definitely lose.     

Esther 4:14c   “And who knows but that you have come to royal position FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.”

 #5.    You’ve got to because that’s why this church is here – right now. 

“For such a time as this;” that’s right now; today.  I am the one; we are the people God has called; the ones God has placed together; the ones God wants to use to fulfill His purpose right now. 

The Lord doesn’t want to hear anyone saying, “I can’t because.”  The Lord is telling us we’ve got to, because the Day is Coming Soon.

Esther 4:15-16  “Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: ‘Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

 Go back to the gate and tell Mordecai “I will go and if I perish, I perish.” I’m willing to lay down my life for the sake of doing what Mordecai is asking me to do.  

Can any truly repentant believer who claims that “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”, (Philippians 1:21) really refuse to carry out the mission the Lord has sent us into the world to perform?

Esther 4:17    “So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.”

Mordecai, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth gets the whole family of God fasting and praying.  I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.

ESTHER #10

09/21/21

Esther 4:3    “In every provence…there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.”

There’s a world of hurt and pain outside the gate and God’s heart is breaking as a result of it. We talked about that gate in Esther #9.

There is a form of truth that exists inside the gate. The truth inside the gate consists mostly of reason and intellect, with a smattering of superstition and selfish imagination.   The problem with the truth on the inside of the gate is that it’s not the whole truth.  It’s just enough truth to frighten us; just enough truth to get us hooked; just enough to keep us in captivity.  It’s not the kind of truth that can give you life or set you free.  It’s a truth that keeps you walking on a path of destruction.

Esther 4:4a  “When Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was in great distress. She sent clothes to him to put on instead of his sackcloth,”

Esther hears about Mordecai tearing his clothes and walking around in sackcloth; covered in ashes. Mordecai needs new clothes.  We have clothes.  We have royal clothes, the world’s best and most expensive clothes.  Let’s send some to Mordecai.  So new clothes are delivered to the gate and passed through the gate. 

How can I make God happy without letting Him get too close; without actually letting Him get past the gate?  I’ll start going to church.  That should make Him happy.  I’ll even give Him some money.  I’ll help out.  I’ll become active in the church.   

Esther 4:4b    “ but he would not accept them.”

 Mordecai refused the clothes.  You go back inside the gate and tell Esther that’s not what I want.  That’s not what I’m asking for.  That’s not going to make me happy.   

Esther 4:5    “The Esther summoned Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs assigned to her, and ordered him to find out what was troubling Mordecai and why.”  

If we want to know the truth; when we’re searching for truth; for the truth that can give us life and set us free, we have to go to the gate. There is no such thing as a long distance, impersonal relationship with God.  Prayer is not emailing, texting or tweeting.  Prayer comes from having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and it requires going to the gate and meeting with Him in Person through His Holy Spirit. 

Esther wants to know the truth about what’s troubling Mordecai so she sends Hathath to meet with him personally at the gate.  

Esther 4: 6-9     “So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate. Mordecai told him everything that had happened to him, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasurer for the destruction of the Jews He also gave him a copy of the text of the edict for their annihilation, which had been published in Susa, to show to Esther and explain it to her, and he told her this to urge her to go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people.”  

I see a striking similarity between this scene involving Hathath, Mordecai, and Esther and the church in the world today. Disturbing events are taking place in the world right now and people are searching for answers. The world is in desperate need of hope. When they turn to the church for these answers, they don’t need to hear motivational speeches, THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM GOD. They need to hear sound, expository Biblical preaching coming from the pulpit. Preachers need to be exposing Satan’s demonic schemes by preaching the truth from God’s Word.

So, in this passage, Hathath (the preacher)

returns with a message from Mordecai; – (The Holy Spirit)

to Esther, (the Church.) 

The title of Mordecai’s message is “The Day Is Coming Soon.”  

The text is Esther 3:13. 

Mordecai is urging Esther to go the King Xerxes, and plead for her people because the day is coming soon; the day of Israel’s appointed destruction. 

Jesus has commanded us, His Church, to go into the world; preach the gospel and make disciples because “The day is coming soon.;” the day of the Lord’s return and judgement of sin.

Will Esther hear the message and be moved to act on it? Does Esther have the courage; does Esther have the will to do what Mordecai has told her to do?  There was a time when she did.  Does she still have it now?  Does the Church have the courage; does the Church have the will today to do what Jesus has told us to do?

Lord willing, we’ll find out next Tuesday. I hope you’ll come back to be in God’s Word with pastor Buj. 

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