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June 17, 2021 12:00 am
Gentlemen want you to know the outset of the book of Esther has been given to us not to an amorous with Esther, but to an amorous with God were given the inside story to impress us with the cleverness of Esther and Mordecai, but to impress us with the infinite wisdom of this invisible God, and it is my prayerful intention and desire that after we have finished this little drama called asked her that you and I will not be in them. We will be in all the problem of evil is an easy today we begin a series through Esther, where the issue of God's providence plays out in a real-life drama. But remember sometimes when we make heroes out of the human characters in biblical stories. We forget who the real hero of the Bible is will meet the ancient king of Persia today. But the real king is seated just above the royal throne.
This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen David begins his exposition of Esther. Next theodicy grapples with the question of how a sovereign just God can allow injustice to rain seemingly on checked out which is great for God and to see org.K decay from the Greek light was meeting justice.
You probably had that same kind of question posed to you.
The difference is the unbeliever will ask the question what is really trying to prove that there is no relevant personal care and God.
A Christian is going ask the question from the context of trying to figure out trying to make sense of suffering and sovereignty. The secular argument usually goes along four points .1 evil and suffering exist by number two if God were all-powerful, he could prevent it evil and suffering.
Point number three of God were all loving he would want to prevent evil and suffering.
Therefore point number four sins evil and suffering exist. God is either not all-powerful or not, all loving, or perhaps even he does not exist. Now that argument, and logic seems watertight, especially when you read passages in the Bible to describe God as the Lord of lords, mighty and awesome Deuteronomy chapter 10 verse you read that he works all things out. According to the counsel of his will.
Ephesians chapter 1 verse 11 you read the descriptions of him by the psalmist David in Psalm 103 verse eight, which describes him as compassionate and gracious, abounding in love see the Bible unapologetically describes God as both all-powerful and all loving so then how do you reconcile that kind of God with the newspaper.
Our world is filled with evil. Theologians dissect the evil of the two compartments I call one section moral evil that is murder rate, physical abuse, sex trafficking, stealing clinical depression, genocide, and and that's just for starters, but there's not only moral evil. But what theologians call naturally. That is brutality within the animal kingdom.
The world of nature diseases which kill millions tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes and gentlemen, we are literally spinning around the sun on a planet that is drenched for many of us you can remember where you were on 9/11 in a very real way.
One newspaper headline summarize it all when it said that I quote history will never be the same again and I know you are thinking but I remember the unsettling thought to me was this country is no longer out of reach from that kind of activity where we had all sort of been in our bubble. The bigger question, of course, which many of been asking over the last 10 years is did God care and if he cared. Why didn't he intervene, he must be malicious or mad or dad evil and suffering must mean that the God of the Bible doesn't exist now before you reach that conclusion you want to ask a few questions. First of all why does human suffering bother any of us settle for ever wondered why if the British philosopher and evolutionist Bertrand Russell is correct that mankind is simply an accident in the backwater of some pond, why would it matter to us.
If someone dies quickly or slowly, whether he dies painfully or peacefully.
If the Oxford professor Peter Atkins is correct when he said that humanity is nothing more than a bit of slime on the planet evolving over billions of years, why should anybody else's life, then you have any remote concern to yours and mine. In fact, where did we ever come up with the concept of evil.
No race other than the human race conceptualizes the existence of justice and fairness as opposed to evil and unfair. See the distinctive difference in the human consciousness that causes us to care for one another and try to feed the hungry and try to clean up the mess of an earthquake and declare something as in Jost, or unjust store or unfair or something or someone who is evil does not point all away from the existence of God. It points toward his exist moral evil does not rule out God. The very fact that we can identify something is morally wrong points to a moral loss standard, a moral law bearer gave us what we know as Christians to be this country. We know from Scripture that his image has been stamped upon humanity giving us the ability to discern between good and evil, fairness, and unfair. If we were slime on a planet if we were just a curious accident from some backwater pond we wouldn't care about each other suffering or hunger or disaster and pain any more than my dog cares about Hummingbird. What is the Bible say about the issue of theodicy, the existence of God and evil with the apostle Paul makes it very clear in Romans chapter 5 verse 12 the death contain disease and calamity and even the inequality of nature's systems are all fallen, because of sin. Romans chapter 5 verse 12 that our first parents, Adam and Eve fulfilled what God and warned them that there would be death and with that dying and end the first murder happened in the first family and on and on. Adam and Eve created pollution that was dumped into the stream of humanity, and we prove the words polluted as they because we like them. Sin, in fact, the Bible says, for all have what sin and fall short of the glory of God. They fall short of the image of God. Paul writes that even the world system including nature is fallen, he says even the universe grow its added shelter it's groaning for the day of redemption Romans separate verse 22. Bible also tells us that our mysterious God. As we read earlier whose ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts is sovereign over evil is never surprised by sin.
He never rings his hand and worry. He never calls an emergency meeting of the Trinity by his foreknowledge.
He not only saw every evil deed ahead of time. Every evil plan.
Every evil act, every painful dealer act from the beginning of human history to the end of human history, but he providentially even to this day counterbalances and counteracts and moves and works invisibly in every detail so that although mankind may choose to do evil rather than justice, God overrules that evil for his own wise and holy purpose. Ultimately, God is able to make all things, including the fruits of the evil thing deeds and actions work for his ultimate purpose.
Romans 828 and Ephesians chapter 1 verse 11 and maybe your thing in a way to sexy when you mean to tell me that God knowingly allows and even plans for the fact that someone's life might endure suffering or pain or hatred or cruelty or injustice, even murder that somehow those things in a person's life are orchestrated by God to produce God's holy purposes. You say I can't. I can't believe God would ever allow evil to vent itself against someone else God would have to be malicious mad or dead. You do not understand the crucifixion the pain and suffering and the anguish in the mistreatment and ultimately the murder of Jesus Christ were not accidents. They were planned.
That's why the prophets could describe the suffering of the Messiah centuries earlier in Isaiah 53 in psalmist.
In Psalm 22, with such detail down to the fact that men would make a moral choice for which they were responsible to cast lots for his clothing that would be prophesied. Hundreds of years earlier. Every every thing in the purposes of God or planned, designed, and even the moral man is responsible for his decisions for God's sovereignty never overrules his responsibility. Somehow the mystery of God's will is accomplished. There is no such thing than as an act mankind made immoral and corrupt decisions is free moral agents behind their decisions of Christ behind her unjust treatment of Christ and his crucifixion was the plan of God determined before the universe was actually created getting to go further. Revelation 13 verse eight so that when the apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost when the church came into being. He didn't say to the Jewish people now look what you've done.
You've ruined everything you crucified the true Messiah when we gonna do now know. Instead, he stands and he preaches in acts chapter 2 and he says these amazing words.
In fact, it is probably the most powerful statement relative to theodicy in the Scripture, where Peter says this Jesus the Nazarene was delivered over to you which you nailed to the cross that was your moral decision. However, it was done so by the predetermined plan of God's Christ on the cross and said it is finished. That was in a cry failure over everything that Mr. it was a cry fulfillment plan of our sovereign Lord down to the last detail was fulfilled. Everything going according to plan. The plan of God is finished. John winter racers coming a day when God will make a universal adjustment is gonna re-create as we know from Revelation. The new earth. New heaven is going to condemn those who chose their own sovereignty to live forever under their own lane in hell those surrendered to the creator God, to live under his sovereignty forever.
Confirmed in holiness no longer bound by a sinful nature. That's what you call a moral adjustment.
Meantime Jesus Christ over the issue of theodicy. In fact, on one occasion the tower in Jerusalem fell over and crushed 18 people, 18 innocent people died. His response to Luke's gospel was to basically remind his audience that it was appointed under everyone to die and it was because those 18 people were more deserving of death than those who were still alive. Jesus basically confronts his audience with the question in light of that tragedy. Have you repented of your sins. Are you ready to meet the judge the headlines today of natural disasters and moral acts of evil that are nothing less than reminders that life is brief, that life is fragile. That death is certain that God is sovereign over all and he will one day make all things right but you, you still might be thinking yeah but but why not. In the meantime, eradicate all evil in the world can we understand mankind as a as a as a moral well and they can they can choose to do evil or good. Why don't why don't we just eradicate evil why not God you you do that well for one good reason.
There are many, but for one good one for God to eradicate all the evil in the world would mean he would have to eradicate you and me would like to start things you're hiding that no one else knows which speaks to your conscience. Even now there is evil in until the coming day of that moral adjustment at the end of human history. By his grace and his love is allowing those who believe in him to come to surrendered him more fully and to love him more deeply. Those who do not believe he's giving you one more opportunity today to hear the gospel and come to the cross of Christ which is by the way, the symbol of the greatest injustice on the planet and yet the cross is also at the same time, the scene of the greatest act of justice were the holy just wrath of God the father burned against God the son, who took our place and in that moment on the cross bore in his body, our sin, so the cross is not only a symbol of injustice. It is a symbol of just not easy to say it's it's it's harder to understand. It's really difficult to live is is one thing to say that God is involved in in in in sovereign over the chaos of the universe to nothing to say he is involved in in ordering the chaos of my life is sovereign over the suffering of the world. It's another thing to say he's in control of the soft my life. What if you're not aware that he's sovereign. At that moment. What if it doesn't look like he's sovereign.
At that moment honey even though some further, what if we don't deserve. Can he be at work even when we may not care. Probably the greatest illustration in book form today that answers the question is a little book called Esther. It's a book that reveals that God is faithful even with his people are faithful and now before we begin you to understand it many years before Esther story begins because of the disobedience of the Jewish people got a disciplined they were now scattered in bondage. The Jews who had lived in Jerusalem. The been carted off by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He had plundered the temple he destroyed the city and knocked on the wall ran 50 years after Nebuchadnezzar. A man by the name of Cyrus the king of Persia, and up-and-coming kingdom diverted the water of the river Euphrates and flowing through the capital city of Babylon, and he had a special elite soldier simply weighed in and underneath the iron spikes the wood down the river and without a battle. Babylon was overthrown before the soldiers showed up Nebuchadnezzar's son Bill Shatzer was having a drunken orgy in his palace, when a hand suddenly appeared and began to write letters on the wall elaborate on the party course the words didn't make any sense. So they called the prophet Daniel been carted away to come and interpret the message to Belshazzar and he did it.
Men effectively your toast it's in the Hebrew language study.
Daniel's interpretation would come true Bill Shatzer was killed that very night in the Persian Empire conquered Babylon and Cyrus the great ruled the largest kingdom on the plan, God was at work in this pagan king's heart. He moved it so that Cyrus proclaimed that the Jews could begin to return back to their home. Sad thing is, many of them chose not they were grandchildren of the exile, they never step foot in Jerusalem like they bought the culture they were the culture. So here you have Esther intermarry with a Gentile doesn't matter to ancient history is why in the book of Esther. There's not one mention of Jerusalem is not one mention of the book of the law of God.
There's not one mention of the temple is not one mention of Passover not one mention of the feasts. The Persian king in the book of Esther will be mentioned hundred and 90 times in 167 versus in the name of God will not appear one sees answering the question. Is God faithful with his people are faithless is he at work in sovereign, not just in Jerusalem but in Persia when people don't notice when they may not even care. She, Esther, is the story of the Jews who remain in Persia.
They are about to be in greater danger than they ever imagined. In fact, apart from the sovereign moving of an invisible Lord within a matter of months. All the Jews will be dead thus avoiding the messianic promises and this is been the effort of Satan all along he will stamp them out though. God will be at work. So the book of Esther takes place when the grandson of Cyrus the great's ruling, the Persian Empire were introduced to him in verse one just a little bit of time here to cover a few phrases look there now. It took place in the days of a hazardous the hazardous who reigned from India to Ethiopia over 127 provinces that allows us to date this, he would've established these many problems is right know right away. The reader is impressed with the glory and power of a hazardous. Now you might notice that that the author clarifies. This is the hazardous who reigned from India to Ethiopia. The reason for the clarification, is a hazardous isn't a given his throne name hazardous is the throne name. It simply means chief ruler his Greek name historians inform us was Xerxes.
That name also is significant, means sovereign over the history records rusted Xerxes was petty, conniving, promiscuous, arrogant, brutal rash that one inscription was discovered where a hazardous road of himself and I quote the inscription I am Xerxes the great King McKay, the king of this entire earth, far and near the humble fellow in the when he was offered and I give you this by way of an introduction to him, so it will be time for when he was offered one occasion the gift of several million dollars in our economy today by many polytheists to support his upcoming military campaign which will take place between Esther chapter 1 and Esther chapter 2, he was so moved that this man would give them such a fortune that he return the fortune and with it gave him.
However, one a few months later polytheists the same man petition Xerxes to allow his oldest son to remain home rather than go with Xerxes on his military campaign. Xerxes became so enraged that he ordered that son cut into two pieces. And when he marched off with his army to war.
He had the Army marched between those two piece on his way back, having been unable to defeat the Greek city states which will one day defeat him. He wintered in Sardis. We tried to seduce his sister-in-law but was rebuffed.
He would later have that sister-in-law and her husband, his own brother tortured so when you read in verse one that I hazardous rain from India to Ethiopia. It's telling you that he reigned over an empire upon which the sun never set and it also tells you in verse two. If you look there that he is sitting on his royal throne in in Susa.
Susan was one of his three palaces.
He would spend the rest of his life. Basically, going from palace to palace involved in building programs and his apparent right at this historian, records that the riches of his kingdom were legendary. In fact, the tribute he received from the subjugated nations around him total more than 700 tons of gold and silver and his kingdom included modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Arabia literally millions of people speaking dozens of languages all owe their allegiance to their sovereign Lord and King, the one who said he was the king of King that's what he thought and you see how the writer. The very outset intentionally underscores what seem to be important who's seemed to be preeminent, who seemed to be in control effect several times in these opening verses were told that I hazardous rain. He sat on his throne. The people in verse four going to give in a display of his glory and his great Majesty, but I wanted another Xerxes is in the palm of God's heart is in the hand of God and God is going to turn it whithersoever he see ladies and gentlemen, a hidden God does not mean an absent, he may be invisible but he is infallible he may be unusually quiet.
It's but he is in control. He may be ignored by the kingdoms of this earth, but his will is never frustrated. He may be unsuspected, he may be unnoticed, but he remains on concrete for his dominion is an everlasting dominion run a man who would be buried in Susa by the name of Daniel. His kingdom endures from generation to generation of Daniel and St. kingdoms come and go.
He do is according to his will in the Army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stop his hand or say to him what have you done even though mankind has always asked that question. What and what is God doing whatsoever.
The Lord pleases that he doesn't have an and on earth. Gentlemen, I want you to know the outset that the book of Esther has been given to us not to an amorous with Esther to an amorous with God were given the inside story, not to impress us with the cleverness of Esther and Mordecai went to impress us with the infinite wisdom of this invisible God, and it is my prayerful intention and desire that after we have finished this little drama called asked her that you and I will not be in love with her. We will be in love with him. We will not be at all of them. We will be in all of him to whom alone belongs. All praise and all Esther is a wonderful character but God is the hero of the drama he's the true king behind all of the events that will unfold as we continue through this book. This is wisdom for the heart. With this lesson.
Stephen began a nine part series from the book of Esther. This first message is entitled just above the royal throne. I want you to be aware that Stephen has a commentary on this book. But right now we only have a limited supply during this series were making them available at half-price while supplies last.
If you want to add this book to your library of biblical resources. You'll find it on our website. Wisdom online.org. If you type Esther into the search box. You'll find this resource.
We could also assist you over the phone you can call us at 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253. Either way, you'll enjoy this practical book written from Stephen's pastoral perspective. If you haven't already seen Armand magazine, heart-to-heart please ask about that as well. Would like to send you some complementary issues. Thanks again for listening to wisdom for the heart. Today please be sure and join us next time.