ESTHER #24

12/23/21

Esther 9:1   “…the edict commanded by the king was to be carried out. On that day the enemies of the Jews (God’s people) had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who had hated them.”

On the day the enemies of “God’s people,” on the day our enemies, on the day Satan and his angles tried to overpower us,  the tables were turned and “God’s people” – (we) –  got the upper hand.  On the day Satan’s plan was to be carried out, on the day they nailed Jesus to the cross, it looked like it was all over for God’s people.  But the tables were turned at Calvary.  When Jesus stepped out of the tomb, believers got the upper hand and, for the devil and his angels, it was all over but the shouting.  When it was over, they all began shouting. 

Esther 9:26-27  “Therefore these days were called Purim, from the word ‘pur.’  Because of everything written in this letter and because of what they had seen and what had happened to them, the Jews took it upon themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these two days every year, in the way prescribed and at the time appointed.

The Feast of Purim was a celebration with feasting and joy.  It was a day of giving presents to one another and gifts to the poor.  “They took it upon themselves to establish this custom.”  They made a pledge.  They made a commitment to remember these days every year “without fail.”  

Esther 9:28    “These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family, and in every provence and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendants.”

This was to be remembered and celebrated “in every generation by every family in every city.”  They vowed to never allow “the memory of this die out among their descendants.”  It’s over.  But we’ll never stop shouting.  Keep the memory and the celebration of this event alive.  Pass it on to our children and our grandchildren. The Feast of Purim is still being celebrated by the Jews today around March or April.

Repentant believers today gather around the Table of the Lord to eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of the time the tables were turned on Satan and, through Christ, we got the upper hand.  Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we testify to and celebrate the Lord’s victory over sin and death until He comes back for us again. 

We’re entering a time of year that’s very special and sacred to us as true believers.  For those who are “in Christ,” who are trusting in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of our sins, December twenty-fifth is a day of feasting and joy; a day of giving presents to each other.  We celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, our Savior, Emmanuel, God with us.  It marks the beginning of the end for Satan’s plan to destroy us.  If anyone you know is wondering what Christmas is all about, don’t just tell them the story of the shepherds, the manger and the wise men.  Start by directing them to one of my all-time favorite Christmas passages.

Exodus 3: 7-8   “The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people … I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them…and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Tell everyone you know that Christmas is a lot more than just a story about  a baby in a manger. Tell them we celebrate Christmas because the Lord knew what the devil was planning to do to them.  He saw the misery of His people.  He heard us crying out because of the bondage of our sin.  He was deeply concerned about our suffering so He came down to rescue us from Satan’s hand.  He became flesh and lived among us. 

He laid down His sinless life for us on Calvary’s cross and shed His own blood to become the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Then He rose from the grave so whoever would come to believe in Him and stop trying to make themselves acceptable to Him, would not perish but would have everlasting life.

“Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.”   (Philippians 2: 6-8)

Make it a deeper Christmas this year; a Christmas that’s more special from any Christmas you’ve ever celebrated before.  Make your Christmas a day of feasting and joy and a day of giving gifts to one another and I’m not talking about giving expensive materialistic gifts to one another.  In the original celebration, they gave gifts of food to one another.  We can give each other gifts that last forever. 

One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is to tell them the old, old story of Jesus and His love for us.  Teach them about how He was born, how He lived and why He died.  Teach them about His victory over sin and death through His resurrection from the grave.  Let them know that He arose from the grave and He lives forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Let them know that He wants to live in their hearts as their Savior. 

These days should never cease to be celebrated nor should the memory of them die out among our descendants.  The story of Esther is all about leaving an eternal legacy of faith for our descendants; passing on our faith in Jesus. 

Maybe the only gift we can truly afford to give our children or our grandchildren today is the gift we can’t afford to forget; the gift that lasts forever; the gift that ensures that they will live forever with us and with Jesus someday.  We can give ourselves to one another.  We can share our hopes and dreams with one another.  We can visibly express our love for one another.  We can give gifts of serving and helping one another.  We can make a conscious, deliberate decision to be considerate, patient and kind to one another. 

This concludes our study of Esther. There will be no posting of my blog on Tuesday, December 28. Lord willing, we’ll meet back here on January 4 to see where the Holy Spirit will lead us next. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj. –  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

ESTHER #23

12/21/21 

Esther 8: 13  “A copy of the text of the edict was to be issued as law in every provence and made known to the people of every nationality so the Jews would be ready on that day to avenge themselves on their enemies.”  

This is the most crucial part; getting the word out beyond the walls of the Palace.  Everybody on the inside knew what the king had done.  Everybody in church had heard the Gospel; the good news. But that didn’t help anyone on the outside.  If they didn’t get the word out beyond the palace walls, countless numbers of people were still going to die.  “Make it known to the people of every nationality so they will be ready on that day.” 

Tell them the good news.  Tell them that by grace they are saved through faith and it’s not because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.  It’s a gift from God.  Let them know so they’ll be ready.  Let them know so they can repent, be saved, and have life more abundantly.

Esther 8:14  “The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king’s command. And the edict was issued in the citadel of Sousa.”

They “raced out.” When the king gave the command, the couriers (messengers) were expected to do it immediately.  They were not given the option to ignore it or postpone it. 

  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)

Our king has given us a command to spur us on and we’re also expected to do it immediately.  We don’t have the option to ignore it or postpone it either. Take the message outside the church.  Tell them the good news about what Jesus has done. We have a responsibility to let them know about Jesus so they will be ready.    

Esther  8:15a    “Mordecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen.”

Mordecai finally got his new clothes.  He’s not wearing sackcloth anymore. He’s wearing his royal garments.  The prophet Isaiah says that our righteousness, our own attempts to make ourselves right and acceptable, look like filthy rags to a pure and holy God. (Isaiah 64:6)  

Like Mordecai, when we accept the grace of God offered to us through the sacrifice paid  for sin by Jesus on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, we receive a completely new wardrobe.

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

Esther 8: 15b-16   “And the city of Susa held a joyous celebration. For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.” 

“It was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor.”  Why?  Because they had heard the Gospel, the good news.  They’ve been given a free gift by the king’s grace.  They’ve been given new life; a second chance; a fresh start; a new beginning.  They’ve become “more than conquerors through Him who loved them” and they’re enjoying a joyful celebration   

Esther 8:17a    “In every provence and in every city, wherever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating.”

There was “joy and gladness…with feasting and celebrating.”   Most of us who have been a part of the church for many years have got the “feasting” part of the Christian life pretty well nailed.  We know how to feast with joy and gladness.  But when we sit in the pew every Sunday morning, it’s just as obvious that we have a real struggle when it comes to celebrating.  I’m not sure if we even believe in it.  We sing about it.  We just don’t know how to do it.

 Many Christians in this country today are afraid to show any emotion at all. They have an extremely difficult time releasing and expressing their joy.  Celebration is really uncontrolled joy; joy gone out of control and we just don’t like to have anything go out of our control.  We don’t feel comfortable giving up control of ourselves even, or maybe especially, to the Holy Spirit. 

There seems to be a place deep inside us that the Lord is still not allowed to touch; a place deep inside us the Lord is still not allowed to have; not allowed to go.  We don’t realize the affect our fears, our thick emotional, protective walls, our rigid doctrines, our inability to freely, spontaneously, and genuinely celebrate, has on others around us.  

Esther 8:17b   “And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear if the Jews had seized them.”

They were so joyful and free it made everyone else around them nervous and a little envious.   As a result of the joy they expressed over their salvation and deliverance, “many people of other nationalities” came to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

People will know we’re  disciples of Jesus when they see us loving one another.  But they’ll become disciples of Jesus when they see us celebrating with joy and gladness.  Christianity becomes contagious; others begin to catch it when they see us celebrating with joy and gladness. 

The churches who are reaching the most people today, especially reaching the most young people today, are the churches that are able to celebrate with joy and gladness.  People who are spiritually alive when they worship; people who magnify the Lord and who bless the Lord with all that is within them, will draw other people to Christ.  When we become alive in worship, we’ll see others come alive in Christ. 

We may get their attention when we witness with our words, but Jesus will get their hearts when they see our happiness and joy; our gladness and honor; our confidence in and our appreciation for, all that Christ has done for us; when they see it expressed in our celebrations that occur every time we come together in His name.  It will cause many people of all nations to come to Christ.

Thanks again. Let’s meet back here next Tuesday, Lord willing, and continue in God’s Word with Pastor Buj. Why not make  it a regular habit?

ESTHER #22

12/14/21

Esther 8:3-4     Esther again pleaded with the king, falling at his feet and weeping. She begged him to put an end to the evil plan of Haman the Agagite, which he had devised against the Jews. Then the king extended the gold scepter to Esther and she arose and stood before him.”

Ester has fallen at the king’s feet and is weeping and pleading with the king to save her people.  Haman is dead, but there’s still a law on the books that says all the Jews must be annihilated. 

Esther 8:5a   “’If it pleases the king,’ she said, ‘and if he regards me with favor and thinks it is the right thing to do, and if he is pleased with me.’”

Notice and learn from the way Esther makes her request to the king.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we will have what we asked of Him.” (1John 5:14-15)

Esther is humble enough to begin with, “If it pleases the king;” “If it be Thy will;” but she is also bold enough and confident enough to be very specific about what she wants him to do for her.   

Esther 8:5b ‘”Let an order be written overruling the dispatches that Haman… the Agagite devised and wrote to destroy the Jews in all the king’s provinces.’”

This is not the time to be praying in safe, vague generalities.  People’s lives are at stake here.  Whenever we pray, especially when we’re interceding for somebody, whether they’re sick or unsaved, we’ve got to tell Jesus specifically and exactly what we want Him to do.   How can the Lord be glorified and how can we know our prayers have been answered if we’ve been too afraid to pray for anything specific?

Esther 8:6     ‘”For how can I  bear to see disaster fall on my people? How can I bear to see the destruction of my family?’”

Esther can’t really be happy as long as she knows that people she loves are going to die.  The Church has the primary responsibility of intercessory prayer; caring for the lost; pleading with our King to save the lives of our loved ones and family members who aren’t trusting in Jesus as the Savior. 

It seems like an impossible request that Esther is making because Persian laws could never be repealed.  If the law says they must die, they must die; end of story.  But Esther pleads and intercedes for them anyway.   

Esther 8: 7-8     “King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, ‘Because Haman attacked the Jews, I have given his estate to Esther, and they have hanged him on the gallows. Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring – for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.’”

“Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews.”   We can’t destroy the old law, but if the old law brought death, let’s make a new law; a law that cancels out the old law; a law that gives life.  

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all or sins, having cancelled the written code, with its’ regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”   (Colossians 2: 13-15)

That’s exactly what Jesus did for us when He rose from the grave.  He made a new Covenant.  Jesus was able to do for us what the old Law was unable to do.  The old law condemned us, and our works couldn’t ’t save us.  Jesus saved us by His grace when He shed His blood for us on the cross. 

The old law says. “The soul that sins shall die;” (Ezekiel 18:20)  but the new law says, “The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23)whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)   and, like Xerxes, “no document written in the king’s name and sealed with His ring can be revoked.” 

 Esther 8: 9-10   “At once the royal secretaries were summoned…They wrote out all Mordecai’s orders…These orders were written in the script of each provence and the language of each people and also the Jews in their own script and language. Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king.”

They wrote out a new decree written in every language so all the people could read it; written in the king’s own name and sealed with his ring; a truth that would last for eternity.  Esther intercedes in prayer.  The King grants Esther’s request and Mordecai gets it done.  We pray.  God answers and the Holy Spirit gets it done.  When we’re all willing to let it work like that, we’ll become a team that can’t possibly be defeated.   

Esther 8: 11  The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill, and annihilate any armed force of any nationality or provence that might attack them and their women and children; and to plunder the property of their enemies.” 

The new law decreed that anytime an enemy came against you to kill you or defeat you, you had the king’s permission; you had the king’s blessing and the king’s support to defend yourself.  The king has given you “the right to bear arms.”  Put on the whole armor.  Take the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith.  Stand firm and fight.  No weapon that comes against you will ever be able to defeat you.  

“I saw Satan fall from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:18-20)

Let’s meet back here next Tuesday, Lord willing. Thanks for being in God’s Word with Pastor Buj. I hope it will become a regular habit.

ESTHER #21

12/07/21

Esther 8: 1-2     “That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came into the presence of the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. The king took off his signet ring which he had reclaimed from Haman, and presented it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed him over Haman’s estate.”

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday, Mordecai was forced to live outside the gate and Haman was in charge.  Haman was making the rules and calling the plays.  He was on track to replace Xerxes as the King of Persia.  Yesterday, Haman was getting ready to hang Mordecai and the Jewish people were just days away from complete annihilation.   

King Xerxes became furious when Esther told him what Haman was planning to do.  Then Xerxes sees Haman falling on the couch where Esther was reclining and he accuses Haman of molesting his wife.  As soon as the words left the king’s’ mouth, without any chance to explain or defend himself; without any chance to tell his side of the story, Haman was dragged away and hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. 

It was all over, all turned around in a matter of minutes.  But that’s exactly how the Lord works.  Isn’t it?  We can go for a long time; years, in fact where nothing seems to be happening; a time where things just seem to be getting worse and worse.  We keep praying and pleading with God, but still nothing seems to be happening.  Nothing’s changing; nothing’s improving.

Then when we get to the place where we can’t take it anymore and we’re ready to give up, the Lord steps in and takes over.  Things begin to happen so fast our minds can’t keep up with them.  Then suddenly it’s over and when the dust begins to settle, it’s hard to comprehend what the Lord has just done for us. 

It may seem to us like our prayers are not being heard, but when God moves, He moves quickly.  When God acts, He acts quickly; so we’d better be expecting it and we’d better be ready.   Take a look at what just happened in the Kingdom of Persia.  “That same day,” the old passed away and everything became new.  Forgetting the things that were in the past, they can now reach for the new things in their future. 

Haman is dead and completely out of the picture.  Mordecai and Esther are both living in the palace with the King.  Everything is exactly the way it was supposed to be.  Everything is exactly the way God intended it to be; the way God designed it to be.  Everything is possible for them and for the kingdom now because everything is in its right order.  This team that can’t possibly be defeated.

There is no problem they can’t solve, no challenge they can’t overcome.  Mordecai is wearing the King’s Signet Ring that has just been pried off of Haman’s cold, dead finger.  That Signet ring gives whoever is wearing it the authority to write the laws and sign decrees in the name of the King and now it’s on Mordecai’s finger.  This team can’t possibly be defeated.

Mordecai is wearing the King’s Signet Ring and Esther has just given Mordecai power of attorney over Haman’s estate. It was actually Ester’s estate in the first place.  Haman never should have had an estate.  He had no right to anything in the Kingdom.  Haman got what he had by lying, stealing and manipulating the king, but Haman’s dead now and everything goes back to Esther, its rightful owner. 

Esther has just gotten her life back and she was wise enough to sign it all over to Mordecai to manage for her.  She knew if she tried to manage it herself, someone else might come along and take it from her again. Esther chose Mordecai to be her life manager  Mordecai had been advising her, guiding her and protecting her since she was a child.  

Do you have a life manager?  Do you have someone advising you what to do with your life so you can have more of it; someone telling you how much to give, what to believe, when to be quiet; when to speak and what to say; how to react to people and to your circumstances; what things to pursue and what to avoid?  Do you have a life manager for things like that or are you trying to do it yourself because you think you can do a much better job?  How’s that working out for you? 

There’s no better guide, no better advisor, no better life manager than the Holy Spirit.  When we entrust our whole lives over to Him, our assets never decrease and our earnings will always be protected.  Our resources, our talents, our effectiveness and our productiveness as Christians and as human beings will continue to multiply.  The love, the wisdom and the power of God will be living within us and constantly be available to us when we fully surrender our lives into the Lord’s faithful and loving hands.  No enemy will ever be able to defeat us or steal anything from us again.  King Xerxes, Queen Esther and Mordecai are together in the palace.  Mordecai has the king’s ring and he’s in charge of Haman’s estate.  It’s what you call a winning team. 

This team can’t possibly be defeated either; The Body of Christ operating in the power of the Holy Spirit with Jesus honored as the King; believers, (His Church); doing everything Jesus (our King) has told us to do; in the power of the Holy Spirit; everyone being where God’s wants us to be, doing what God has equipped us to do.  That’s a winning combination that doesn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible.”  Absolutely nothing can stand in their way or slow them down.

Lord willing, we’ll meet back here again next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s Word with pastorrbuj.   

ESTHER #20

11/30/21

Esther 7: 7-8a   “The king got up in a rage, left his wine and went out into the palace garden. But Haman, realizing that the king had already decided his fate, stayed behind to beg Queen Esther for his life. Just as the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was reclining.” 

The King comes back and finds Haman on the couch with Esther.  If the devil finds out he can’t frighten us, he’ll try to seduce us.  He’ll climb up on the couch and try to recline with us.  He’ll try to lure us away from our mission of going out into the world to preach the gospel.

He’ll try to get us to stop preaching about the blood or about the need for repentance of sin.  Stop saying that Jesus is alive and that He’s the only way to God.  Stop giving altar calls at the end of worship. Stop asking people to invite Jesus into their hearts.  Preach things that aren’t offensive; things that aren’t relevant. When our King returns, when Jesus returns, He’d better not find us reclining on the couch with the devil.  

Esther 7:8b    “The king exclaimed, ‘Will he even molest the queen while she is with me in the house?’”

Haman is accused of molesting the Queen by the word of the King.  It all happened suddenly.  Haman never saw it coming.  He didn’t get a chance to prepare for it.   He was never given permission to speak.  Haman never got the chance to say; “That’s not right.  I can explain.  That’s not what I was doing.  I haven’t done anything wrong.”   

Esther 7:8c    “As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face.”  

Either Haman hadn’t learned it or he forgot it or he chose to ignore the third rule of Kingship. 

3. The King always gets the last word.  It is what the King says it is.  If the King says I was molesting the Queen, I was molesting the Queen.  I am what the King says I am. The King alone determines what the truth is. 

Esther 7: 9-10  “Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‘A gallows seventy-five feet high stands by Haman’s house. He had it made for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.’ The king said, ‘Hang him on it!’ So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.”  

It didn’t end pretty for Haman.  “They hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.”   It doesn’t end pretty for Satan either.  

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning Sulphur where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  (Rev. 20:10)

In the end, Satan is going to suffer a fate much worse than what he had planned for Jesus.  It doesn’t end pretty without Jesus.  It doesn’t end pretty for those who have rejected Jesus; for those who tried to find a better way; for those who chose reason or intellect over faith; for those who put their faith in another god. 

Those who have rejected God’s grace and hardened their hearts to the Holy Spirit’s invitation will have to stand in judgment for their sin.  So many people are going to be just as shocked as Haman must have been when they find out that there are no “Miranda Rights” in God’s courtroom.  Anyone who stands in judgment for their sin will be horrified to discover that in Xerxes’ and in God’s Courtroom:

(1) you must remain silent. 

(2) What you’ve said and done is already being held and used against you in this court of law. 

(3) You no longer have the right to an attorney.  You did have the right to choose an advocate with the Father to speak up in your defense, but you said you didn’t need one.  

It doesn’t end pretty for those ignore the rules of Kingship; for those who believe it’s all ridiculous; for those who, like Haman, don’t really believe it applies to them; for those who think Jesus will make an exception in their case. 

It is what the King says it is.  Without Jesus, I don’t get a chance to explain.  I don’t get a chance to defend myself.   The King always speaks first.  He always has the first word.   I am what the King says I am.  If He says I’m a sinner, I’m a sinner.  It doesn’t matter what I think or what I believe.  He’s not the least bit interested in what I have to say. 

I don’t get a chance to explain.  He’s not the one who doesn’t get it; the one who doesn’t understand.  If the King says I’m a duck, I’d better start quacking and waddling because a duck is what I am.  The King alone determines what the truth is.  The King always has the last word.  The King is never wrong.   It doesn’t end pretty without Jesus. 

But look how pretty it ends for those who know Jesus; for those who are trusting completely in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins; for those who have accepted His free gift of everlasting life and asked Him to come into their hearts as their Savior.   

 “Children, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep (i.e. die) or grieve like the rest who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (died) in Him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the arch-angel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words.”    

(1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18)

Now, that’s pretty!  That’s more than pretty.  It’s indescribably beautiful.  It’s unimaginably spectacular.  Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior will be with the Lord forever.  It doesn’t get any prettier than that.

Meet me here next Tuesday when, Lord willing, will be back in God’s word with Pastor Buj.  

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.

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