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September 6, 2021 4:00 am
Would you do if you had the choice to either save your own life or risk your life to save others.
That's the predicament Queen Esther based, as we'll see in our study today on Truth for Life with Alistair Begg were continuing a message. Alister began Friday title for such a time as this.
They told Mordechai what Esther had said. Then Mordechai told him to reply to Esther do not think to yourself that in the king's policy will escape anymore than all the other Jews, for if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise from the Jews from another place. But you and your father sounds 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 Mordechai go gather all the Jews to be found in Susa and hold a fast on my behalf.
I do not eat or drink for three days, night or day, I and my young women will also finances you do, then I will go to the king, though it is against the law and if I perish, I perish. Mordechai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
Father what we know not teach us what we have not given us what we are not make us for your son's sake and now this statement at the end of chapter 4 made by Mordechai is says do good another Scotsman. It is everywhere grounded in the reality and necessity of God's intervention.
It is as we said one of these God -shaped holes in the narrative that points us to the unseen God and you will have noticed that Mordechai is very very straightforward in speaking to his cousin. If I can summarize his statement.
It is as follows. Esther, you need to know number one that the palace provides for you. No ultimate security anymore than this gymnasium will be there for you but that by the way the palace provides no ultimate security. Secondly, relief and deliverance will is certain whether you step up or whether you don't. In other words, the purposes of God are much greater than the obedience or the disobedience of one person and thirdly and classically, who knows what this is your destiny.
Who knows what. Whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this and others, who knows, but that everything that is happened up until this point in your life has been leading you to this moment. Now I think we should be reassured and encouraged by the fact that the question is posed in that way he doesn't say. And God has told me that this is your destiny the way some of us are tempted to do. I'm growing old, listening to people tell me about what daughters told him Greg remarkably has never told me anything along those lines at all. What more can he say than to you he is said but anyway I Mordechai doesn't have a word from God. He has a question. He has a question about Esther's life.
Who knows, because you see we can know these things in advance. That's why the question is posed as it is if you take any story of Providence in the Bible classically. Perhaps Joseph you find that the same thing is there if we had asked Joe serve what was going on. When he stood, stripped naked, being sold as a slave be purchased into the house of Porter for he would've said that's a good question because I don't know what's going on.
One minute. My dad gives me a new coat the next minute.
My brothers hate me then I'm down in a pit and I'm hold out of the pit then I'm sent off with the Ishmaelites or the these people this the slave people and now look at me. What is happening to me at all.
You doesn't know what's going on so only afterwards when his brothers finally commented of that grade. The new mom and that great Revelation says hey listen you intended.
This will evil, but God intended it for good.
Looking back the dilemma that faces Esther is a real dilemma. She either sits tight in the palace and hopes for the best.
Or she steps up and does what Mordechai's asking her to do to go into the king unbidden and face the prospect of dying for the sake of her people is a big moment in the spring. The development of the story. We can finish the whole story. So there's still time for some of you to read it before you die and at least at least I hope so. She is been passive. Up until this point. She's a beauty queen. She's the king's plaything. Her true identity is actually being concealed. The king doesn't know that he's married to a Jew, S when at twilight for three weeks. Here are four months or two terms, but for 4 1/2 or five years she has lived in the Shadowlands between her true identity and what she expresses before the king, she is had no burning bush encountered no miraculous sign no voice from heaven. All she has to go on is a question posed by her cousin who is a wee bit older than her living as her adopted dad.
She now has to decide whether her confidence really lies in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with our allegiance is to this God with companionship is with her people. Essentially, she's brought to the question, choose you this day whom you will serve, and she makes the decision. The dilemma is a real one, and the decision is well-made. She moves very quickly from passive to active as you allow your eyes to scan it later on you will see that she decides that she is committed to her people.
She is connected with them and with the others who share in the fast and she is consecrated to the will of God. She would've been happy with the number of our songs probably all of them this morning. She would have sung of the faithfulness of God that foundered in that place, she would have said you do what you want now with my with my with my life.
Oh, oh God of my fathers and she recognizes that it is not necessary for her to live, but it is necessary for her to do virginity is why she says what she says if I perish, I perish is not fatalism she's placing her hands in God she lift up our eyes to the hills is aware of the psalmist and she says where does my help come from my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, so I will go and do what I must do I have to break this law, because there is a higher law, there is a demand that is placed upon me, she determines is better to die being obedient and to live in disobedience. You see God and put it in a unique position for a unique purpose, and he has done the same for you at this verse in my mind ever since I knew it was a homecoming in the ever since I knew there would be ancient people like me here are not just you youngsters through the longer I come here they're letting people in much younger now to this place than they did even 10 or 15 years ago at 15 years ago I people are like 1819 20. Now there, 12, 13, 14, II don't I don't know what's going on. I can't possibly be me that my eyes are dimming RRR anything like that.
But no, I thought to be some older people here who perhaps at the mid-stage in the life or in the final decade of their life or whatever they are might be similar to my going to do now and I want to say to you. Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Who knows, but every single event in your life is not laid you just at this very moment for the very plan of purpose that God has for you with your 1519 5909. The same is true, we don't have the drama that she had, but we have to live in the place of God's appointing the place that he has prepared for us because although we have been saved by grace through faith and not all bars not of ourselves, not of works, that any of us should boast. We know that the 10th arts then says that we have been saved in order that we might do good works, which God has foreordained for us to do and what this story is making absolutely clear in contrast to so much of our surrounding cultures. We said by way of introduction last time is that history matters that life has meaning that you are not just another break in any old wall you are in Christ being built into a spiritual house, and this story said in the fifth century encourager causes us to ask as we said on Wednesday. What is going on in what's going on and it's helping us to see that at the intersection between life and faith back there and then we are enabled to live at the intersection of life and faith in the here and now helping us to understand that our little histories. Yes our little histories with all the twists and their terms with their disappointments and their failures with their advances and their declines without compromises with our delights without disappointments with our disasters. God's saving keeping activity is not in doubt. This, my dear friends is a Christian perspective, and it stands in direct contrast to much that is before us all day every day to the questions and the conclusions of our age. Some of you who are perceptive, which narrows the group considerably will have noticed as I did and tore it out. Incidentally, if I can say to you all perspective, the young pastors make sure that you start at an early age to have a filing system and file it very, very well so that you and spend hours of your life trying to find out thing that you read in the book that was somewhere that your cousin gave you before you left for your trip to Europe an enemy just get a filing system and and in my filing system which is is quite recent visit from 1 August this year. It was a piece by Henry Allen is a celebrated journalist and columnist into and a critique of culture. It was called the disquiet of Ziggy Zeitgeist disquiet of Ziggy Zeitgeist, and it began in this ward is wired toward out it. It began with a statement for the first time in my 72 years, I have no idea what's going on for the first time I 72 years are no idea what was going on. He said like I used to be Ziggy Zeitgeist Harry I like to think I was especially good on the feeling tone of the world around me. Then he was on at considerable length here just a couple of his quotes. He says here's where we are. We have individualism but we have no privacy. We are all outsiders with no insight to be outside of no art, no three no destiny is the pretty soldier saying in the trenches of World War I to the tune of auld lang syne. We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here. I don't know what's going on. I doubt that anyone does will organize religion, die. I got talking to a girl from an Episcopal youth group in Missouri, Episcopalian-ism is great. She said you have to believe in anything like most people I used to think the world would go on. That way it was going on with better medicine. The arrival of an occasional iPad or an earthquake that was when I knew what was going on.
I worry now that reality itself is fading like a Cheshire cat leaving behind only a smile that grows ever more alarming. What a strange time it is to be alive in America it can't stay this way can it or can it was going on and what's going on what's going on in your life. Esther listening to your cousin who knows you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this. I try to turn around and look at you as you sang the songs this morning. I want to see. I want to have this picture in my mind I want to think about the immense potential that is represented in this gymnasium. On this particular day in this particular year. I want to think about what it means for life's to say take my ransom soul and done with it what you want.
I want to conjure that up. I want to grab hold of it. I want to thank God for giving me the tiniest part in it. A tall fry was once where you are but I'm old. I got less in front of me that I have behind me. You've got more in front of you, than behind, God willing. What he going to do with the rest of your life.
Who knows, but everything everything the good the bad the ugly, the stupid stuff the failures all of that God is woven into his plans so that you would be here for such a time as this is what I want to leave you to pursue the story on your own, but I want to finish the PS PostScript.
The kicker in this whole thing, of course, was the decree which we noted the decree that had been issued for the annihilation of the entire Jewish population, one of the things you must do when you read your Bible. Especially in the Old Testament and fight when you read the Bible all the time you don't mean the Bible to ask the question. Where am I in the story.
I would be terribly me oriented wind question not in the story, but you want to ask a friend if you are in the story of Esther do come and see me afterwards. We have a talk. You want to always be asking the question quick wit. Where is Jesus in this in this whole thing.
Now here's my ears. My PS solemn decree was issued. There which points us to a decree that God has issued the soul that sins will die. That decree created a dilemma in the dilemma is ours by nature. We've broken God's law, we cannot claim up to God by keeping his law.
If we are not forgiven in this life we will be lost forever. The problem is not as our culture says outside of us with the answer being found inside of us. But the problem is inside of us with the answer being found outside of us in the work of Christ. The decision that Esther had to make is a decision that we need to make some of us have actually become masterful at playing the Esther card.
We live in the Shadowlands of our own little world. I understand this, I did it for a time in my own life like boy George is,,,,, chameleon on from all those years ago. He's got to be about 100 years old himself by now.
But anyway, we believe we can maybe God is saying to you just in these couple of days he say you know it's about time for you to come out of the Shadowlands is about time for you to really get clean and clear, not just when you're in the chapel service but when you're out and about.
When you are moving into the realm of the scientific world or live moving in the realm of of the arts or Whatever Pl., God has put you and you got to come forward and acknowledge that is not possible for you to saunter into the king's presence. She couldn't saunter into the king's presence.
Remember to have better head chopped off you have to go to chapter 5 to find out what's going on so reminder is it of Mr. and Mrs. beaver when they tell the children that they're going to see the king is a quite safe I should feel rather nervous about meeting a lion that you will dearly make no mistake if there's anyone who can appear before Azlan without their knees knocking there either. Braver than most of Elster's silly and isn't safe said Lucy safe said Mrs. beaver, who said anything about safe course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king when I tell you, not a king like I swear us.
But this king or a crown of thorns. This king laid down his life this king for our punishment so that we might know his forgiveness.
This king is risen and intercedes for us before the father so that we might know for a surety that our only comfort in life and in death is that I am not my own, but the long body and soul in life and in death to God to my Savior Jesus Christ, and for that matter is settled in your heart of hearts and your rise to a new day, you take Esther chapter 4 and says, who knows. But I have not come to the kingdom for such a day is this I wish I could look law live long enough to see how you all turn out, but I guess maybe I can see you in a better place place about which we have been singing and to which we will all move. I thank you for your attention. Pray for you, but our father for your word this day we give your humble thanks for the student body Lord, I humbly pray you will accomplish your plans and purposes in them and through them, help them help me to save with CT start of old with Jesus Christ be God and died for me, that no sacrifice that I could ever make for him could ever be too great. Help us to understand that ultimately it is not our duty to live, but it is our duty to obey you to live to the praise of your glory. So be with this alumni group as well and blessings danced to the media be an encouragement as they themselves are encouraged and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit rest upon the remain with each one. Today and forevermore. Amen. All of us should be grappling with the question going to do with the rest of our lives.
Esther's story teaches us that life has meaning, and God has a specific purpose for each one of us. We have to choose who we will serve this is Truth for Life.
Please keep listening Elster bag will be back in just a minute with an intriguing challenge today's message as part of the lessons for life series. The study was originally presented to an audience of college students. If you have a son or a daughter at college or a recent graduate who was just entered the workforce. We hope you'll encourage them to listen to the lessons for life series were also recommending you give them a copy of a book that we are making available today. The book is called surviving religion 101 letters to a Christian student on keeping the faith in college your son or daughters can find their faith challenged as they head out on their own to face resistance to their beliefs and nobody exposed to ideals and lifestyles that may cause them to question what they been taught surviving religion 101 was written so your child can respond to the push back the likely receive when it comes to their faith.
Each chapter answers a different question they may face such as how can you believe in miracles.
If you've never seen one, or how can you know the Bible is really from God book also touches on what the Bible says about gender and sexuality about homosexuality. These are questions your child is sure to encounter this is a terrific book because it directly answers real life questions that are often asked on college campuses. So if you have a student in your family request surviving religion 101.
It's yours today when you give a donation you can click the book image you see on the app or give online at truthforlife.org/donate and if you'd rather mail your donation along with your request for the book surviving religion 101 right to truthfully. Our address is PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, Ohio. The ZIP Code is 44139. In addition to requesting your copy of surviving religion 101 when you make a donation you can always purchase additional copies for a friend there available in our online store for five dollars.
Simply visit Truth for Life.org/store. And if you're away at school and you have not yet downloaded the truth for like mobile app you'll find it free in your app store the Truth for Life app is a great way for you to learn from the Bible on your own schedule. Never you have a break from studying. Now here's a brief preview of tomorrow's message from Alastair. Those who have made an invite for God have always been sold out for him. On one occasion, Gen. Booth of the Salvation Army was asked how do you think it is that God has made such use of you since you are a fairly insignificant figure and he replied in this way, Jesus Christ has all of me. Jesus Christ has all of me when JB Phillips paraphrase this opening section of Romans 12 he did so in this way, with eyes wide open to them.
There are sees of God.
I begged you, my brothers and sisters as an act of intelligent worship to give him your bodies know he's not issuing a genetic called to anybody who happens to be within earshot of the letter. Anybody who wants to try and do their best for God's notice, he issuing a call to individuals who are interested. If you like and going to higher level oral all right deeper level of consideration of the things of Jesus.
No basic Christianity about the pain for listing today.
Tomorrow we study Romans chapter 12 to find out the secret to making an impact for God. In today's culture Bible teaching of Elster bag is furnished by truth or lying where the Learning is for Living