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“For Such a Time as This” (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2021 4:00 am

“For Such a Time as This” (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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September 3, 2021 4:00 am

Surprisingly, you won’t find God’s name anywhere in the book of Esther. In fact, He seems noticeably absent. But look a little closer, and you’ll see His providential hand at work behind the scenes. That’s our focus on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



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The book of Esther God's name never mentioned. In fact, he appears to be noticeably absent. But when we look a little closer. There is no doubt that his providential hand is at work behind the scenes today on Truth for Life Alistair Begg reminds us that God is always working with her. We see him or not. Our study begins in Esther chapter 4 verse four I went Esther's young women under UNIX came and told her the queen was deeply distressed.

She sent garments to close more to guys so that he might take office sackcloth, but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for. He tacked. One of the kings eunuchs had been appointed to attend her and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what this was and why it was a tag went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the Kingsgate and Mordecai told him all that had happened in the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the kings treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her and commanded her to go to the king to beg his favor and plead with him on behalf of her people and he tacked went and told Esther what Mordecai had said.

Then Esther spoke to haystack and commanded him to go to Mordecai and say all the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called.

There is but one law to be put to death except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live, but as for me I have not been called to come into the king these 30 days.

So they told Mordecai what Esther had said and Mordecai told them to reply to Esther do not think to yourself that in a king's palace. You will escape anymore than all the other Jews, for if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance arise for the Jews from another place. But you and your father's house will perish.

And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Then Esther told him to reply to Mordecai will gather all the Jews to be found in Susa and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day, I and my young women will also fast as you do, then I will go to the king, though it is against the law and if I perish, I perish, Mordecai, and went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Amen.

Well I think if anybody were to walk in off the street they would regarded as incredibly strange to think that the group such as this on the very forefront of things in America today largely all of your life's before you would take any time at all to pay any attention or toll to events that Had Taken Pl. in Persia five centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ and if we were to suggest to such individuals that these events that Took Pl. in Persia. All this time ago and the lessons in them actually help eyes to live life in 21st century America. Underlying that conviction would be what Paul says when he writes to the church in Rome and makes reference to Old Testament events and he referred to them as follows. He says whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. And that is why we look as we do. Even today to this, let me help you for your homework and just get you started a little bit. The story is a great story. If you never really read it or read it with care.

I commended to king and has whereas or egg Xerxes as he is referred to, depending on the translation. This particular king is not a nice person. If you want to do your research and read Herod notice or read Josephus and you will discover just how bad a character he wants.

The book begins with him having a feast enjoying his time with his friends. And when they had been drinking together for little while, he decides it would be a nice thing for him to bring in his white Vashti in order that he might parade her before his friends as so another words he was also part of his wife the way she looked and so on, so he doesn't say why do you come in and join us so we can have a conversation essentially says why do you commence that all my friends can check you out so she is any sensible wife would said not in your life. I'm not coming at all and as a result of deciding not to show up when she's asked she has completely banished.

She's out she's off her throne and she's gone in a fit of pique.

He banishes Vashti forever.

And then he suddenly realizes that wasn't a smart thing to do and so Some of his friends and they said we just need to get another one and I why don't we have a beauty pageant and will will get together as many good-looking girls as we can and then you can just pick the cream of the crop and that's exactly what they do so they have essentially I miss Persia competition and as they finally got around, and in this girl asked her was actually Jewish, but she doesn't tell anyone about it. She comes out. Talk of the Pops is aware and she is welcomed into not only the palace but into the bed of the king. She has a cousin who called Mordecai was also Jewish. Mordecai is older than her.

She was an orphan. Mordecai decided to essentially adopt her to look after her and he'd been the one who had positioned her in order that she might present herself for this pageant and as she eventually find yourself in the inside track.

Note the king meanwhile appoints another character is a bad act cold. Haman and Haman essentially becomes the prime minister.

He likes to walk around. He's got a fat head and a fat mouth and he likes to walk around making sure everybody is paying attention to them giving him the Jew that he deserves or thinks he does. He has a problem because this guy Mordecai decides he's not doing if you're supposed to stand up when Haman passes Mordecai stay seated. If you're supposed to salute Mordecai keeps his hands in his pockets. If you're supposed to borrow in obeisance. Mordecai says I'm doing none of that. When you read for your homework as I know you're going to do you build to fill in the background on the racial tensions and the tensions between those who oppose the people of God and the people of God themselves that is represented in this unwillingness on the part of Mordecai and I what happens is that Mordecai really sets the cat among the pigeons. As you will discover when later in the day your reading the book of Esther.

Hopefully not in your class when your sorcery studying the New Testament epistles but anyway that's enough for me to get you started. All right your all your all your loving it already under your all going. I can't wait to read Esther I think I'll begin just not right. That's good, that's good. All right, what you will discover when you begin to read it is that God doesn't show up, at least not extensively. His name is never mentioned in the entire book.

The entire narrative is filled with what we might refer to as God shaped holes so that you come to places in the book where you would expect God's name to be present. You would expect God to be represented and he's not there. The reason is not, there is because it is by that narrative style that genre that the author of this particular book is teaching is lessons about the way in which God is at work when he is name is not forefront.

And when he is apparently unseen, because the dramas of other parts of the Old Testament vis--vis the crossing of the Red Sea in all of these other things are dramatic and yet for most of us.

We haven't had a crossing of the Red Sea, most of us have not seen a burning bush. Most of us are just going to class. Most of us are just phoning home. Most of us are just sending emails. Most of us are just trying to stay alive and in that humdrum activity. All of our lives in those God shaped vacuums. If you like we are forced to do what the book of Esther asked us to do and that is to consider what's going on in what's going on.

So when you read it you said yourself what's going on and at the very heart of it is this notion that God is providentially at work in these ordinary things in the words of the catechism of the second and second question in the new city cataclysm at the end of the thing on what the question what is God, nothing happens except through them and buying his will now follow register settling your mind for a moment as you think about this morning's newspapers as you think about the things that you you've already considered on the Internet, nothing happens except through him and by his will think about it in relationship to your personal life. Think about in relationship to sadness is the disappointments to Joyce and two encouragements and then say to yourself. Now how does that fit in a contemporary perspective in our society today and let me suggest to you that when you read contemporary philosophy, contemporary observations, you realize that this kind of core conviction is challenged not only in the things that are written but in a way that life is lived in a book called light of the world are written by Benedict the 16th. There is a preface by a man called George Viso and in his forward. This is what he says.

He says we now live in a world that has lost its story, a world in which the progress promised by the humanism's of the past three centuries is no gravely threatened by our understandings of the human person that reduce our humanity to a congeries of cosmic chemical accidents as humanity with no internal origin no noble destiny, and thus no path to take. Through history go down in Cumbria is engage someone in conversation someone of your own vintage and asked them about their origins are they going to tell you that the other product of time plus match up less chance that the outer cosmic accident that they are simply molecules held in suspension asked them about their destiny asked them if they have a path through history and then you may be able to tell them of the one who bisects history and provides that path. David Myers refers to it as the American paradox, namely that and, incidentally, is not just an American paradox.

It is spreading it spreading in parts of Asia especially prosperous parts of Asia.

The paradox is this that we have never had so much and you would never had so little therapist report that that paradox works itself out in the life's of people who come to see them. Some of you will know this firsthand and particularly in the lives of young people. Young people who present themselves for help whose story is repeated again and again, it goes like this when I thought about people who are really at the bottom of a social pile or mental capacity, pile or financial plan but these are young people from good homes who have not wanted for much in their lives who have been able to attend college have perhaps graduated from college of going on. Actually one of the few to get a job and yet what they talk about is that they are baffled by the emptiness that they feel David Wells commenting on it says their self-esteem is high, but their self is empty. They grew up being told that they could be anything they wanted to be but they don't know what they want to be.

They are unhappy, but there seems to be no one because no cause for their unhappiness.

They are more connected to more people through the Internet and get the have never felt more lonely they want to be accepted and gently often feel alienated never have we had so much. Never have we had so little I know sounds very contemporary dozen and of course it is.

But you know if you think about it it's manifestations may shift, but at the heart of the matter you find it everywhere. Remember Hamlet when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive. Any system good Lawrence, how do you both and the first one replies as the indifferent children of the earth yet. However, how about you Guildenstern, he says happy in that we are not over. Happy about you Hamlet I have of late but wherefore I know not lost all my mirth foregone all custom of exercise and indeed it lies so heavily with me that this goodly frame the earth seems to me a stare. I'll promontory out here at the very heart of your education, you really are at the fulcrum in relationship to a view of the world. Either you were personally created by a God who fashioned you in your mother's womb or you have no real explanation for your origin either. Your life is sustained by his providential care or you're a cork floating on the Pacific or your held in the grip of blind forces and the book of Esther in its enigmatic narrative form says to us hey listen, consider this considered the fact that in these God shaped vacuums. You may find God at work in ways which upon first blush to seem as if the amazing happenstance is peculiar. Coincidences and yet when you look back, things seems so vastly different note, I stepped away from the ball. There and I waggled the club for I think about seven minutes okay the ball being that the text and ends of the club just being me standing here.

In other words, you know, sometimes you waggle on the T a little bit before you finally step up and hit so I just been waggling a little is okay in terms of what's been going on. You say I did he lose his mind there and what happened in that last section or where was that what about Esther were back okay so I'm just I described hit the ball is not going to go very far as I won't be very long either never is, and that and then, but hasn't stop me from hoping and and so when you get back to the passage itself, you discover that this decree that denied that Haman had created is a real problem and what you discover is that here inch at the end of chapter 3. You have the king and the madman and the king and the madman are having a glass together. As a result of the issuing of this decree that called for the slaughter of the entire Jewish population, other than the Genesis of it was that this Mordechai the little Jew who said the Kingsgate refused to bow down to Haman. Well, you know all of us have been offended.

Every so often in our lives right if someone didn't do what we expected them to do. But did you ever think of having a degree established like let's say I say something to you as a Scotsman, and you don't like that.

And so, you're so annoyed that your site instead of just not speaking to me again. You will have a decree issued the calls for the entire annihilation of of of of Scotland just adjust everyone in Scotland. I just got rid of the whole stinking lot right, I mean bag is an illustration of a get rid of him and everybody else is less anonymous. That is our reaction of satanic proportions is exactly what it is that was his reaction. In chapter 3 concludes with the prospect of that Mordechai, who is from a human perspective, largely responsible for this Holocaust that is now intending needs to get the information to his cousin, the Queen who isn't exactly out shopping at the mall on a daily basis. And so when you read chapter 4, you discover that he dawns the sackcloth and he goes and sits in the public's where and as a result of sitting in the public square.

The people around doing the shopping for the Queen back until the green hey Mordechai is down there is making an incredible hullabaloo and he's got everybody in the same maps. There's a lot of wailing and weeping and and every kind of thing and and he is dressed in sackcloth to let you know how out of touch*by this point.

She says well sackcloth not good either need to bring sackcloth here.

Send them some nice clothes while fixing your menu outfit is not a strange as you think because our shopping malls are filled with people who think that a new outfit will fix them right. I did not buy a new purse. Now that I've ever felt that way but I think I might but I buy a new parachute. Maybe I'll get a new better sneakers and I'll make me feel so much better know you now down 129 but you feel even worse than you fell before you bought the because you can think your insights by your own sites.

She says will just send them close he sends back is is what you tell Esther that's not the issue. She says, by what what is the issue. He said let me tell you this, you know, memories and satanic back and he that goes back with a copy of the decree and he says tell Esther to go to the king bag is favored and plead with him on behalf of her people.

Well, that's just not as easy as it sounds, because two guys at the end of chapter 2 had ended up dead for not doing what the king wanted and if you think again that this is some kind of clever narrative then you need to read Herod alters you need to read the ancient text, you discover that the king of Persia, this time had. It didn't just have Secret Service.

He didn't have guys with little things you know like hello over number three number three you have that know he had where he sat on his throne.

He had a bunch of guys who stood with axis axis and and if anybody came in that wasn't supposed to come in off with her head so she sent word back to Mordechai. Hey easy for you to say Mordechai know how are you going to see the king you if you going to see the king. And he doesn't ask you your head chopped off, I don't like resorts. Furthermore, she says I'm gone down on his list. I haven't slept with him in 30 days. I think adding he's moved on to someone else in the here swabbed and no leverage of tall so what are we going to do now doing it in the break were done. Do your homework. This is Truth for Life will hear more from Alastair Berrigan part two of this message. Next week please keep listening. Alastair will close this program in prayer in just a minute. Now if your college student or you know someone who is you want to request our current book offer. It's titled surviving religion 101 letters to a Christian student on keeping the faith in college and it's written by someone who knows firsthand just how confrontational a college campus can be. Michael Kruger is a seminary professor and author, but more importantly he's a dad who writes to his own children and other Christian students to help them be prepared to stand up for what they believe in an environment that opposes those beliefs.

Surviving religion 101 will equip your son or daughter or grandchild with a deeper understanding of what the Bible teaches a greater ability to stay committed to what they believe in an unbelieving world requester copy when you give today.

Simply click the image you see in the app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate. We also encourage you to follow us on Instagram each day you'll see quotes from Alastair and new content from truth for like it's a great way to reflect on God's word and share encouragement from the Bible search for truth for like in the Instagram app. Now, here is Alastair close with prayer. Gracious God sovereign Lord we bring our likes to you all the chances and changes the ups and downs, joys, and the source we remember some 34 will make the trial of his love experience will decide how blessed are they and only they, who in his truth can find the with his Lord. In the hours of the state and in the days of this week shooters of your fatherly care when we see it when we don't so that we might rest in your providence for we ask it in your son's name, amen about the pain. Hope you enjoy your weekend worship with your local church family join us again Monday to hear more of Esther's story as we consider how our own unique circumstances are being orchestrated by God Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished like truth or lying where the Learning is for Living


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