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SM180225/For Such a Time as This!

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 5, 2018 8:09 pm

SM180225/For Such a Time as This!

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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Harvest messages are brought to you by harvest partners receive free email daily devotions were to become a harvest partner, please visit us online@harvest.org. Take a quick full company. If you've read the whole book of Esther. Raise your hand gets quite a few of you. How many of you have never read it before it took a lot mock you really know I'm okay, read the book of Esther. Given the love the book of Esther. I told the story to my granddaughter Allie last night. She said pop would tell me a story and I would sometimes make up stories and sometimes I'll just tell her Bible stories are told of the book of Esther and then afterwards I said tell the story back to me. I'm telling you she got the whole story and you know why because it enfolds almost a little bit like a fairytale others. No fairies. Of course there's no mermaids.

There's no unicorns but there's a story of a princess who was living in basic poverty who was chosen by God to change everything. If all is almost a fairytale trajectory to so many of those stories that obscure girl is rescued by a print or girl goes in the forest and lives with a bunch of small men. I never understood that nevermind document the seven doors to get that, but fairytales are not true, but this story is true.

This story is actual history, a beautiful orphan girl who wins a beauty contest and becomes a queen and certain evil man that sponsor destruction along with her people, but because of her courage. She saves a nation and literally the people live happily ever after. The unique feature of the book of Esther the name of God is not mentioned one time.

Not only that but there's not a single prayer offered to God will that should not cause us to wonder if it's inspired by God. It indeed is and it's here in the canon of Scripture, but I believe that the author be led by the Holy Spirit. Use this as a literary device. By that I mean he told his story of God's providence at work without mentioning God in it to simply make this point there are times in life when God seems absent, but he never is. God is always at work in the life of the believer every hour of every day. Listen to this. His silence is not his absence. His hidden this is not his abandonment. So says Timothy Keller member when the two disciples were discouraged after the crucifixion of Christ and they thought the plan said nonself and there was no hope for them and who joins them on their journey, but Jesus himself the risen Lord Yancey says to them guys while the long faces what the problem.

Haven't you heard, they said to Jesus about Jesus of Nazareth, a prophet mighty indeed. We were hoping he was the one to deliver Israel but it's been three days since these things happen.

They didn't realize it would. Christ himself was walking with them and that the end of their journey, he revealed himself to them and like to be that way to know were going through life and there are times we sense the presence of the Lord.

There are times when we see the hand of God. And then there are other times we don't feel God's presence, and we don't see his hand and we wonder has God abandoned us and the answer is never. He never has any never will. Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you all I want to introduce you to a word you're probably familiar with but I don't know if you understand the meaning it's a word providence, we is that a lot of what was providential's providence. What is that mean the word providence comes from the Latin word Provo didn't Shieh the word Pro means before or ahead of time, but didn't Shieh means to see we get our word video from it. So when we use the word providence for simply saying this God sees things before they happen. God sees things before they happen.

So there's nothing haphazard about the book of Esther. There's nothing accidental or a result of dumb luck, you know it's all guided by the providence of God and so is our life, our life is described in the Bible is a story that's already been told or it's easy to understand. Your life is like a movie. It has a beginning and there's a middle that has the that some lives are like the sound of music with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens and other lives are like under no Braveheart lot. The conflict lots of battle, but everyone has a life that is being lived and sometimes it doesn't make sense but if you put your faith in Christ. Be confident of this, God is at work in your life. As Christians we do not believe in coincidence we believe in providence because Scripture says the steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives and sometimes ask my favorite scripture in the Bible. This kind of a hard question answer is knit. I have a lot of favorite scriptures. Don't you a lot of it depends on what I'm going through in the moment princes of I'm in a difficult and worrisome situation. I suppose my favorite scripture is Philippians 3 where it says don't worry about anything, pray about everything in the peace of God that passes all human understanding, keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Then again, if things are making sense or seeming a bit chaotic. Maybe my favorite scripture at that moment is John 14 where Jesus says let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

You believe in God believe also in me.

When things are not making sense so absolutely Romans 828 is a go to verse right for we know that all things are working together to those that love God and the called according to his purpose that continues on for whom he did foreknow, we also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of his own. Your son, but overall if I had to just pick one verse I would have to say Jeremiah 2911 is a favorite. That's of the Lord says I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope you know God. It simply said I know this single thought that I had about two free nano second, says the Lord. I would be happy with that. When you to think that the Almighty God, the creator of the universe even had a passing thought about little old but that's not what God says.

He says I know the thoughts not singular or plural. I know the thoughts. God says that I think toward you, so they're not past tense their present tense in future tense. I know the thoughts that I'm thinking toward you, says the Lord will that can be good or bad on what kind of thoughts.

They are if their bad thoughts will I don't think I like that with her good thoughts. I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope risen another translation puts it, to give you an expected using so God is at work in your life, and he has a plan and he has a purpose. Chuck Swindoll and his excellent commentary on the book of Esther wrote these words and I quote God's presence is not as intriguing as his absence. His voice is not as eloquent as his silence. Who of us have not long for a word from God our search for a glimpse of his power, arguing for the reassurance of his presence only to feel that he sometimes is absent from the moment he seems distant preoccupied yet later we realize how very present. He was all along."

Paul said while the story of Esther begins with the king of Persia, Xerxes, also known as Ahasuerus, but better known Xerxes now why are we looking at Esther on the heels of Nehemiah because there's an overlap between these two books. But as you recall, the people of Israel were taken into exile by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar turned his kingdom over to Belshazzar who openly mocked God and that is when the judgment of the Lord came upon Babylon and they were conquered by the Medo Persian. So enter Cyrus the great, who comes in and now is in control any changes Babylon to Persia and he releases the Jew sees as you can go on home. If you want go back and build your temple if you want to. Some did many did not. In the first way was led by Ezra and they rebuilt the temple and then later along comes Nehemiah and he rebuilt the walls.

We look at that together. But now this is the story of the people. The Jewish people that stayed in Persia, modern Iran. By the way, so Xerxes is a powerful King ruling over this massive empire that ranges from India to Ethiopia again. He's the son of Darius the great and the grandson of Cyrus the great history depicts Xerxes is physically towering over his contemporary archaeologists doing some excavation at Susa where his balance was of unearthed inscriptions in which King Xerxes is described as the great King or the King of Kings. So this is the guy that had a big ego and he was very powerful and and so he decided to have a party one day. Not just any party he decided to have a party that would last for six months food and drink provided by the King eat all you want. Drink all you want and it was in the beautiful palace on this incredible series of plates and all the things in the ornaments and it was just awe-inspiring and does so then the king after he had shown all of his stuff to his people and all of his possessions decided to bring out his crown jewel and that would be Queen varsity. So let's read about that Esther chapter 1 verse 10 on the 70 of the feast. When King Xerxes was in high spirits because of the wine. In other words, when he was drunk. He told the seven units who attended him their names are listed bring Queen varsity with a royal crown in her head.

He wanted the nobles and the other mending keys on her beauty. For she was a very beautiful woman when they can be the king's order to Queen varsity.

She refused to come. This made the king furious and he burned with anger. There so far seems like the ultimate trophy wife, a woman of incredible beauty the king gives a decree tell Queen varsity to come out wearing her crown.

Some commentators believe this implies he wondered, only wearing her crown words no close just the crown but even if that's not the case. The. The sense here in this verse is that he wanted to sort of put her on display. He objectifies his wife treated her as as a servant and didn't value and love her as he should have the wanted the sort of parade or around his subjects and she wanted nothing to do with that seed. The Persians were really big on appearances. The king had is going and the women had their beauty was all about what she had and what you look like, but I'm glad things haven't changed since then.

You follow people on Instagram it's the same kind of thing all look at Michael stop look at my beautiful face look at my body. Whatever it is they want to display out there a culture that judges amend by the size of his wallet and a woman of the size of her dress.

Things were that way back in Persia and there that way today to request it credit aquatic I have jet lag. Remember Queen varsity flat out refuses because she thought it would be humiliating. Now the Kings in a quandary. If he lets her get away with this is a say none of our wives will do what we want to do anymore and what the dues of sake will Queen varsity didn't show up when the king called him why should we show up when you call us. This isn't going to work you need to get rid of her. So now the king and his shrunken range makes a decision, he decides to reject Queen varsity and remove her crown and replacer. I was thinking about what is this have to do with God a lot.

God was at work behind the scenes. What's so amazing about this story is how such huge events were set in the motion by such seemingly insignificant circumstances and decision God was quietly but directly working behind the scenes here moving and rearranging of vents and changing minds and the most secular setting, reminding us that big doors swing on small hinges and sometimes in our life. And so I don't get why this is my life is going this way. I don't understand this interruption. I don't know why this thing is happening. I don't know why I am where I am right now.

Did it ever occur to you that you are exactly where God wants you to be and he has a plan and a purpose in the place where you are.

That was certainly the case with Esther will see in a few moments, God is in control of your life and he will accomplish his purposes in his time. The Bible says he makes all things beautiful in his time, not before, and never after exit varsity enter Esther Esther chapter 2 verse five we read these words now in the fortress of Susa.

There was a certain Jew named Mordechai son of JR he was from the tribe of Benjamin was a descendent of Kish and she mind his family and a been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, along with King Jehoiada Kim of Judah and many other this man had a beautiful and lovely lovely young cousin named Hadas who was also called Esther when her father and mother had died. Mordechai adopted her into his family and raise her as his own daughter in a result of the king's decree, Esther, along with many other young women was brought into the king's harem at the fortress of Susan and placed in pedals care haggle was an assistant to the king that would help to select to this candidate would be to bring before the king. I had thought was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments and Nutrisystem know I put that in an he also arranged or assigned or seven made specially chosen from the king's palace and he moved to her and her maids into the best place in the palace.

There so the search is on for the next great beauty of Persia. Whoever won it would be the next Queen and I bet a lot of young girls were hoping that with. I want to be Queen power aware that crown.

What is it with girls wanting to be princesses right you know that they want to have the scepter they want to rule as even with her little you know before they can even talk. They want the crown and they want the scepter right so I'm sure many girls were pining for this hoping for this many girls today and young men, for that matter, long for something very similar read an article about the desire of young people searching for fame today is articles not written from a Christian perspective.

Just as an observation of culture and I quote from it now. Blame it on reality TV.

Blame it on the entrenched loneliness of postmodern America blame it on an educational curriculum that's designed to promote self-esteem, but ended up overshooting the mark pictured cultural poison. The result remains the same.

American teenagers are fixated on faith more than 1/3 of them would prefer beauty to intelligence excusing would prefer fame over beauty and intelligence are string even more problematic. The article continues.

These teens are just dreaming about famous there planning on it. 31% of American teenagers expect that they'll be famous one day."

So whoever won this contest would be the most famous person in the kingdom. And here's Esther. I don't think she ever aspired to be a Queen though she was stunningly beautiful.

I don't think she had any videos posted on YouTube.

No head shots over on her Facebook page of our Instagram. She probably just figured she would live a quiet life in obscurity. Very nice Jewish boy and follow the Lord God and have a family, but God had a plan for her life and even Haggai was impressed with her. He served the King, he saw something special in Esther one of the thief was adjuster drop dead gorgeous look when you couldn't ignore that. But there was more because Esther was beautiful on the outside and the inside is she was what the Bible calls a woman of virtue. The Bible says you can find a virtuous woman strength and dignity are her clothing and she smiles at her future.

Though she was very young.

There was something special about her because God had put his hand on her and so the Lord put her in the special place you know is her uncle Mordechai or her cousin Mordecai noted later after she ascended to the throne became the queen and the edict went out that all the Jewish people would be put to death orchestrated by the wicked Haman, Mordechai came to Esther and he said to her in Esther 414 if you keep quiet and a time like this, deliverance or relief of the Jews will come from some other place you and your relatives will die. Who knows if you were not made Queen for such a time as this. Did it ever occur to you that you are where you are for such a time as this.

She could've blown this off sick of the said no this is my problem him living in the lap of luxury here in the palace. Why should I worry myself about the plight of my fellow Jews know she understood God put her where she was for a reason. Enter the villain of the story. Haman and his desire to kill all the Jews, including Esther and she plays a role in their redemption. Listen anti-Semitism, the hatred of Jewish people is devilish and it goes from back a long ways maybe to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve fell after the either the forbidden fruit.

God said to Satan, there is coming one is going to crush your head, which you will bruise his heel came off the battle. Rot lines were being drawn and the devil knew that a deliverer Messiah was going to arrive on the scene and he knew he would come to the Jewish people. So you go from Genesis to Exodus and you see the Pharaoh giving the decree that all the Jewish baby boy should be put to death, but a lot of very courageous young Hebrew midwives refused to follow his decree and they save those Jewish baby boys in one of those boys. It was saved who happen to be very good-looking was placed in the little basket with some pitch around it to keep it afloat and it was sent cruising down the Nile River and that little baby came to be known as Moses, and he delivered the Jewish people from the bondage of Pharaoh with any come to the book of Esther and the double sided again with a plot to destroy the Jewish people, but God intervened will learn a lot more about that in the weeks to come. So make sure you really had a wonderful book of Esther.

Let me close with this. Maybe you're at a point in life.

You're saying I don't feel like God is with me at all.

I feel as though I'm all alone, let me just say this if you are not a Christian, God is with you in a broad sense because God is omnipresent God is everywhere you can call on God wherever you are, but there's a difference between God being with you and God being in you naturally would being a Christian is.

It's having Christ live inside of you and God wants to be a part of your life. So maybe it seems like God is impeding the tension view but actually he is. I read about a hardened atheist to a young daughter. He didn't want her to believe in God so one day he told her to read these words, he wrote these words down on a piece of paper. God is nowhere in this little girl who was just learning how to read look deadly sins I want you to read that out loud. God is nowhere, so she sounded out the words he said okay I see it daddy God is in OWHEREI get a daddy God is now here know that's what I was saying but he was so touched by that that he himself believed you might say God is nowhere know the opposite is the case, God is now here, God is here with us right now God was involved in the life of Esther and her people, and God is here with us involved in your life that does not Scripture say when two or more are gathered together in his name is there in the midst of them, and so he's normally here, but he wants to come and live inside of us know we mourn the passing of Billy Graham, a singular figure, but I don't think Billy would really want all this adulation and congratulations. Billy's message was Christ and him crucified. And Billy would want us to know that Jesus died on the cross and rose again from the dead and we turn from our sin. We can be forgiven now is this message that was the same message he preached privately and publicly great stadiums and that is the message we need to remember that is a message for you today. Do you have a relationship with God. Maybe your life isn't making sense to you right now but I'm telling you, God can step in and change everything and you'll never be alone again. Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin and absorb God's wrath in your place, and rose again from the dead is here with you standing at the door of your life and he's knocking me insane if you hear his voice and open the door to commit. Have you asked him to come in yet he will right now he's just a prayer away. If you need Christ in your life if you need your sin forgiven, if you want to know that you will go to heaven when you die, respond to this invitation. I'm going to extend right now it's all our heads for a prayer please father, thank you so much for loving us, loving us so much that you sent Jesus to die in our place in the Lord Jesus, we thank you that you're here ready to come in to any life that will open up to you. I want to heads of God. Her eyes were closed and were praying. How many of you today would say I need Jesus Christ in my life. I want my sin forgiven.

I want to know that I will go to heaven when I die, I'm ready to say yes to Jesus. Pray for me that your desire. If you want Jesus Christ to come in your life if you want your sin forgiven if you want this relationship with God. We been talking about today wherever your city.

Would you just lift your hand up and let me pray for you. You want Christ to come in your life. Let me pray for God bless you raise your hand up, I reckon.

See, God bless you anybody else. God bless you and you raise it up. I reckons it anybody else you need your sin forgiven. Let me pray for you raise your hand. You want this relationship with God. God bless you. God bless you some of your watching on the screen. I would you raise your head up as well. Their harvest Orange County harvest Woodcrest harvest Teasdale harvest Hills, Lagos, wherever your watching CI need Jesus to raise your hand up all lead you in the same prayer some of your watching online, will you take this little step of faith to you can change your life right now all of you that of raise your hand, lead you in a prayer. You pray this prayer right we use it. In fact, you might even pray it out loud after me just pray this prayer Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner but I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for me, and rose again from the dead.

I turn from my sin. Now that I choose to follow you from this moment forward as Savior and Lord his God and friend in Jesus name I pray, amen Douglas you try to be there. Pray that prayer


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