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April 19, 2021 2:00 am
Were going to look at pretty large portion of the book of Esther this evening to prepare our hearts for the Lord's table. I read chapter 3 in your hearing. Let me give you four headings to this message. The chapter that I read chapter 3 ended with these words. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed. Well, maybe an understatement. There was an edict that went out calling for the annihilation of all the Jews in the entire province in the entire kingdom. So I've given this heading to this verse. My first heading is the dilemma. This is a dilemma a huge dilemma and what is the dilemma you heard it as I read it I trust Haman, the aggregate who is he well is identified in Scripture as the agate guy. He is a descendent of King Ajay remember back in first Samuel chapter 15.
When God commanded Saul to kill a dragon. All the Amalekites and he didn't obey God and lost his position as King.
Well, this man is a descendent of Ajay.
Now we are 5 to 600 years removed from that but he he is a descendent of Ajay, did you pick up that chapter 3 told us that he was. Verse 10 says so the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Ham adapter the agate guy enemy of the Jews, the enemy of the Jews. So this man Haman, the agate guy. He's the second most powerful man in the Persian Empire and he's incensed with rage against one particular Jew Mordechai. The Bible says he was filled with wrath because Mordechai would file and give him honor so we've got that is incensed with Mordechai and I think he's motivated by revenge because of the death of all of his ancestors. So what does he do, he secures a royal edict calling for the annihilation of all the Jews and the confiscation of the property throughout the Empire, and that to be done by the Jewish month at our that is a dilemma. There is a provocation that I want to speak to you, but let's you follow me, with me as I read chapter 4 chapter 4 when Mordechai learned all that it happened. He tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry.
He went as far as the front of the Kingsgate for no one might enter the Kingsgate. Claude with sackcloth and in every province where the king's command and decree arrived, there was a great morning.
Among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing and many lay in sackcloth and ashes. So Esther's maids and UNIX came and told her and the queen was deeply distressed. Then she sent garments to close Mordechai and take his sackcloth away from him, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called traffic. One of the kings UNIX whom he had appointed to attend to her and she gave him a command concerning Mordechai to learn what and why this was so halfback went out to Mordechai in the city square that was in front of the Kingsgate and Mordechai told him all that it happened to him in the sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king's treasuries to destroy the Jews. He also gave them a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and that he might command her to go into the king to make supplication to him and plead him for her people. There the provocation for Esther God's providence.
Mordechai is out in a in a place where it was. He was being observed in morning and in sackcloth and Word came to Esther.
What is the relationship between Esther and Mordecai Mordechai is her uncle. Her parents died and left her an orphan and you remember earlier in the chapters.
The king had a beauty contest because he was unhappy with the Queen and all the women from the Empire were brought and Esther became the queen of the Empire, but Mordechai has raised her. He is she is the daughter of Mordechai's uncle that Sue Mordechai is so Mordechai is questioned about what's going on in the word comes to Esther and here's the provocation for Esther and that is to go before the king and plead for her people because she's a Jew, and edict is for the annihilation and the destruction of the entire Jewish population in the province. Mordechai commands are to go to the king and plead for the lives of her people.
Now stop verse eight. Let me pick up at verse nine.
So halfback returned and told Esther the words of Mordechai. Then Esther spoke to halfback and gave him a command for Mordechai all the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king who has not been called he has but one law put all to death except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter that he may live yet. I myself have not been called to go to the king. These 30 days. So here is that the dilemma that Esther is in. She's been exhorted, commanded by Mordechai to go to the king and to plead for the lives of her people and there is a law that you don't go into the king's presence. Unannounced, they had to protect the king against would-be assassins. So if you came into the king's presence.
Unannounced, depending on his mood. Depending on his caprice. Whatever you would be executed for coming in the presence of the king without a warrant, even though even though she's the Queen and she says I haven't been into the presence of the king for 30 days.
Why is that will because he's got a harem of women is that he's an ungodly man. He's had no time for her even though she's the queen so she doesn't know whether he lifted her like an unhappy with her like he was the previous queen that's a situation listen to what Mordechai says to beginning of verse 12, so they told Mordechai Esther's words and Mordechai told them to answer Esther do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews, for if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place you and your father's house will perish yet. Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.
Then Esther told him to reply to Mordechai go gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan and fast for me neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.
My maids and I will fast. Likewise, and so I will go to the king, which is against the law and if I perish, I perish. So Mordechai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him quite a dilemma was a quotation in your bulletin this morning of it is appropriate here from John Piper. He said quote he is a big God for little people and we have a great cause to rejoice that unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premieres and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our father in heaven that we the children might be conformed to the image of his son Jesus Christ. It matters not what king's decree.
It matters not what threatens the people of God. It is the will of God that will prevail. God will frustrate the evil plans and evil purposes of man, that is not consistent with his eternal decrees and that's what we see unfolding here in this chapter, so there is a dilemma. There is the provocation, there is the risk and the danger and what is the risk and the danger seen here in these verses the happiness in the safety and the welfare of the king was of the highest priority in the kingdom public access to the king was forbidden to thwart any would-be assassins and access to the king was obtained by either the summons of the king. He's remember over Nehemiah chapter 2 Nehemiah was summoned before the king and Nehemiah trembled in fear coming before into the audience of the king was a law you see it here in chapter 4, a law calling for the death of any man or woman who dare go into the inner court of the king with two exceptions, and even the Queen is bound by this. If the king summoned the man or woman that would be one exception or one could escape the death sentence. If the king extended the golden scepter that is the symbol of his authority in his favor. When someone's unannounced presence into the inner court was detected and made known to the king by the guards. They lived, or they died at the caprice the temperament and the turning away the face of the king.
That's all it took.
So Esther knowing the real danger for herself, called for a three day fast among the Jews and she determined to risk her life for the sake of her people. One of the hindrances to reading historical narrative. If your Bible student is you know how this turns out.
But as it was playing out in history. Nobody knew what the outcome is going to be opening new.
It looked like the Jews were doomed. Here's this edict sign with the king.
The king's signet with all of the authority behind what hope is there. So don't think we lose something by knowing what happens right. Let's read beginning in verse five, verse one, chapter 5, verse one. Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace across from the king's house while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house so it was when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court that she found favor in his site and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter and the king said to her, what do you wish Queen Esther, what is your request, it shall be given to you, up to half the kingdom. So Esther answered if it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I prepared for him and we know what transpires.
There's multiple banquets and Haman ends up, no pun intended, hanging himself right. He had this plot to kill Mordechai and all the Jews and he ended up a dead man for a few minutes tonight in order to prepare our hearts for communion around the Lord's table for some instructions here for us on how to approach the king our God, he is our father, but he is not just a king. He is the king. The king of kings. So how do sinners like ourselves approach this holy majestic God, we remember who he is holy, unsoiled by anything in creation.
He lives in unapproachable light, which no man has seen nor can see. So we remember who he is and then we remember who and what we are sinners defiled undone the wrath of God hangs over us. We have no right into his presence. If we were granted that we would be incinerated like that presence of pure holiness. If only the high priest in the old covenant had access into the inner court, the holy of holies and that only once a year, and only after offering appropriate sacrifices. What makes any man think that he can get audience with Almighty God. When the Bible tells us our very best.
The very best we've got to offer to God is nothing but filthy rags. We have nothing that would commend us to God. There is nothing about us that would grant us audience with him. If you think Esther and the Jews and Mordechai were in a dilemma man apart from Christ is in it an unbelievable dilemma that no man can rectify. There is no solution. Apart from divine grace. So how do we approach the Lord's table. Let me suggest to you number one that we approach the Lord's table like Esther arrayed in royal robes. Now it happened, verse one on the third day that Esther put on her royal road and stood in the inner court of the king's palace.
She put on her royal robes.
The gospel is an amazing provision for sinners because sinners need a righteousness that is not their own. Sinners need an alien righteousness. Sinners need the imputed righteousness of Christ. We need the white robes of his perfect righteousness and God provides that for us in the atonement.
So how do we come we come mindful that, apart from the imputed righteousness of Christ.
Apart from being closed in the perfection that God demands of us. We have no access to God but we come mindful that he's clothed us in such a way that we have access into his presence that we are accepted on the merits of Christ in his perfect righteousness. So that's how we come to. How do we approach the Lord's table number one.
Like Esther arrayed in the royal robes of Christ's righteousness number two we come standing in full view of the one on the throne. Listen to what it says now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace across from the king's house while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house facing the entrance of the house. She positioned herself where the king would see her. We need to come and take our place realizing that we are in full view of him who sits on the throne we come with no secrets.
We come with no hidden places we come is an open book.
We come with fresh confession knowing what we are still, despite the fact that we are redeemed we are yet to redeem center and we come as we were reminded even yet this morning with his prayer on her lips search me oh God, and know my heart try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. This idea that we can engage in activity that is unbecoming of a Christian and think that somehow were giving God the slip.
God doesn't know really. He knows all.
All things are laid bare before him, with whom we have to do. He not only knows our actions. He knows our thoughts.
He knows everything there is to know about us and how long is he known as God keeping a record learning things is he no, he's known everything there is to know about us any from eternity past.
That's what amazes me about grace God knowing me are better than I know me still chose to set his affections on me and save me you amazed by the we are all a lot to be because we know ourselves just a little bit.
We know that were unworthy. We know there's nothing about us that would cause God to want to save us sinners undone separated from God, an enemy of God's overthinking through these opening verses of chapter 5 on how to approach the Lord's table number one.
Like Esther, arrayed in royal robes number two like Esther standing in fuel full view of the one on the throne number three like Esther like Esther receiving the king's favor. So was when the King Saul Queen Esther standing in the court that she found favor in his site and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in the same because of the vicarious death of Jesus Christ, God is inclined to be merciful to us because of what Jesus has done for us. We have found favor in the king's site because of the merit of his son for no other reason.
We understand that right.
We believe that we read about. Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord and others in the Old Testament if it's all of grace is the mercy of God on display. We are accepted in the beloved. And we can be confident that if we come the prescribed way. There was a way for Esther to come before the king, and she came in fear and trepidation because this king was an ungodly man. He was a man given to temperament given to emotions depending on how he felt that particular day. Folks are God is not like that.
We don't have to wonder, is got in a bad mood today he loved me yesterday, but he's not going to look on me very favorably today. No, that's not our God at all. We can be confident that if we come the prescribed way. We will be received and what is the prescribed way how you come to this king. What is the prescribed way you come through the merits of his son the Lord Jesus Christ, writer of Hebrews says let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
There's grace and mercy for sinners who come the blood sprinkled way.
Jesus has opened up a new and living way.
But if we insist on coming our own merit are coming on some other way. We will not be received, we must come the prescribed way. Notice what he said there. The king said to her, what do you wish Queen Esther, what is your request, it shall be given to you, up to half the king while that's pretty open as an John Newton in one of his hymns says thou art coming to a king. Large petitions with the brain for his grace and power are such none can ever ask too much. That's our God. That's the king that we come before tonight when we come to the Lord's table.
So how do we come to the Lord's table. We come number one. Like Esther, arrayed in royal robes number two we come standing in full view of the one on the throne we come confessing our sins acknowledging our debt, asking God to search us, knowing that there's deception in our hearts were blind to our own faults. We need God's spirit to shine into our life.
We need one another. We need one another to see blind spots become like Esther receiving the king's favor. I'm amazed when I read about the narrative on that last night and it says Jesus strongly desiring to fellowship with those men on that night he wasn't so preoccupied with what awaited him at the cross that it diminished his desire to share that meal with them.
There's a Savior that wants to meet us at the table.
He wants to commune with us. He wants us to appropriate fresh the provisions hidden he's made for us not only in salvation but in this life is that how do we come when we come like Esther, relying on the king's promise. The king is made promises to us to come boldly and come boldly and come boldly on on the right merit and receive grace and help in our time of need. So let's think on these things tonight and profit from the word of God again. He is a big God for little people hope none of us think too big of ourselves tonight were little people little people.
He is a big God for little people and we have great cause to rejoice that unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents in premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign trees of our father in heaven that we the children might be conformed to the image of his son is Christ is God's design for all of his children everything he's doing is toward that end of conforming us to the likeness of his son and ex-wife. The first part of this quote by Piper so appropriate. Do not think because you experience adversity that the hand of the Lord is short, it is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart and to that end, he rules the whole world is Proverbs 21 one, says the king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, and he turns it whether what whatever weight way he wills that that's the truth of the matter so there's so much happening in this world that could cause us to be full of anxiety and fear the gods sovereignly in chart cheese ruling is raining.
Talk to some folks and act like that were on the losing side.
The church is going to crumble the gods witness and is light is going to go out what when we read our Bible, the church flourished in some of the most corrupt and pagan cultures that you can describe not a whole lot different than what's going on in our culture. The church is alive and well. Jesus is building his church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it were more than conquerors through him who loved us. So let's not cower down and be in fear and worry in no gods working all things after the counsel of his will and what is the counsel of his will, is to do us good to glorify himself, shall we pray father, thank you for your word. Thank you Fritz instruction. Thank you for this illustration of how we should approach you as king. Thank you for the provisions you've made for sinners like us to do that in the receive favor and receive life and not death, Celie's words to our hearts for our good.
I pray in Jesus name, amen