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Family Feud, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
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June 23, 2021 12:00 am

Family Feud, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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June 23, 2021 12:00 am

Have you ever been afraid to tell someone you were a Christian? Has the fear of losing that friend or that job or that credibility ever outweighed your desire to identify with Christ? In this message we’ll watch as Mordecai is faced with a similar crisis of faith. How will he respond? Join pastor and author Stephen Davey now to find out.

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God owns the chess pieces. In fact, he owns the chess board.

He owns the table upon which the chess board sits. And mankind moves around by virtue of their will, but their will does ultimately his will. And what was God doing as he moved the pieces around to fulfill his will? I'll tell you what he's doing in Esther chapter 3. He is preparing his people to remember that even in Persia, not just in Jerusalem over there that broke in that old city, but in Persia is sovereign.

Not just in here, but out there. Have you ever been afraid to tell someone you were a Christian? Has the fear of losing that friend or that job or the credibility ever outweigh your desire to identify with Christ? Today on Wisdom for the Heart, we'll watch as Mordecai is faced with a similar crisis of faith. How will he respond?

More practically, how will you respond? I'm glad you've joined us today. Stephen Davey is working through the book of Esther. Last time, he began a message called Family Feud.

We're going to do a little bit of review and then conclude this practical message. Let's get started. You see, Mordecai has been on the inside for four years. He's got the staff. He's got the prestige. He's got the leather chair. He's got a direct phone line to the king.

And I want to tell you something. He's also been inside the kingdom of Persia to know there's got to be a greater kingdom than the kingdom of Persia. What a mess this kingdom was. What a mess. You've got an emotional adolescent sitting on the throne.

You got a prime minister going around polishing his reflection. You've got eunuchs that have been abducted or seething with anger. You've got a growing bevy of women whose lives are being destroyed. There's got to be another kingdom beside the kingdom of Persia. And by the way, Esther has lived with the king long enough to also come to grips with the fact that, well, she's seen the king gather another bevy of virgins.

She's lived with him long enough to know that she'll never have what she wanted. Mordecai then for the first time in this book reveals the secret. I'm a Jew.

That's a loaded statement. In that statement he reveals who his people are. He reveals what his heritage was. He reveals who his God is and the reverence due only to him.

And he also reveals to his world you need to know who I am. There's another, in fact, a more explicit reason given, I believe, with the use of these Hebrew verbs. Mordecai surrenders basically that the truth that to reverence anybody but God with that kind of prostration is to break the law of God. And no wonder then that J. Vernon McGee in his little wonderful little book on Esther at this point says, I am ready to throw my hat in the air and say hooray for Mordecai. He's taking a stand for God. He tells him, here's why, I am a Jew. Wow.

Perhaps that's the kind of courage for those of us that know Christ need where you go out into your world and you say, I am a Christian. His staff leak it to Haman and Haman then begins to look. He hadn't noticed it before but now he watches.

Look at verse 5. When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage. He's angry. Why the rage? You got a little man not bowing to you when you come into the office.

Big deal. All the other people are. Why so much rage at this? Because of the next verse. He disdained to lay his hands on Mordecai alone, watch this, for they had told him who the people of Mordecai were.

Oh, this is it. This is all that bad blood. This is my deposed forefather, my executed forefather, my loss.

And so Haman sought, the verse tells us, to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. As far as Haman is concerned, this, ladies and gentlemen, is perfect. He's going to use this as a gift from his gods. This is in his lap.

This is perfect. I can use Mordecai's disobedience as an excuse to settle this family feud once and for all. And because of that, he doesn't want just the life of one Jew. That would have been easy.

He could have done that that night. He wants to set it up so that it begins an extermination of this people. This is an earlier Holocaust in the making.

This is a more ancient Hitler. He wants to eradicate every single Jew living throughout the kingdom, which, by the way, will include Jerusalem. This is why Ezra is probably so thrilled to be the one chosen by the Spirit of God to give us this account. Verse 7, note, in the first month, which is the month Nisen, in the 12th year of King Ahasuerus, Pur, that is the lot, was cast before Haman. I think it ought to read about day to day or about every day and about every month until the 12th month, which is the month Adar. If you skip down to verse 13, we're told that the lot will indicate the most propitious day for exterminating the Jews was the 13th day of the 12th month.

Here's what's happening. Ironically, by the way, Haman is the only person so far to seek the advice of his gods. So what he's done is he's called all the voodoo doctors into his home to cast the lot, the Pur, literally the dice. The word Pur is an Akkadian loan word that can be rendered stones. These are shaped like modern day dice, a little larger, marked on all six sides.

They were made of baked clay. And he's having these spiritists, these animists, cast the dice under the auspices of seeking the will of their gods to find the lucky day on which to attempt to kill all the Jews. And it just so happens to land as they worked through the whole calendar.

They worked through the entire calendar. Not that day. No, it's not that day. Those aren't good numbers.

Those aren't good numbers. Oh, there you go. That's it. That's the day. The day was the 13th day of Adar.

You know why that's so significant? Because that's the day before the celebration of Passover. To the Jews, it's an incredibly significant day. It happens to be the day before they celebrate their rescue from certain death in Egypt by the grace of God who keeps his promise. Now, there's no mention of Passover.

Many of the Jews living throughout the Persian Empire probably didn't even celebrate it. This is God's way of bringing the conscience of his people back to life, returning their hearts back to him. God is undoubtedly reminding the Jews of their history, which they had for the most part forgotten, but they're going to remember it now.

You can't miss it. Listen, even though the hand of God is invisible, the grace of God here is unmistakable. This is a clear working of a gracious covenant-keeping God.

Now, the storm clouds are still going to gather, and a death warrant is going to be signed and the law sort of overview of it. Look here at the clever approach of Haman before the king in verse 8. Then Haman said to king Hazerus, there is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of all other people, and they do not observe the king's laws. They're treasonous. So it is not in the king's interest to let them remain. It's a nice way of saying, good reason, king, to put them all to death. Now Haman obviously knows what buttons to push in this king's life. The king has in his painfully recent memory the rebellion of his favored wife and her, many historians believe, her execution. He has in his painfully recent memory the defeat of his navy, by the Greeks, and the humiliation of his army, also by the Greeks.

He now has an even more recent history, an assassination attempt on his life by two of his most trusted, I trusted those guys, people. In other words, the smell of any kind of rebellion, no king, needs to be stamped out. You never know what might happen if you let it go. We got to take care of this. He's got the king's attention.

And then Haman sweetens the pot. I'll pay 10,000 talents of silver into the king's treasury, if you let me do this. That's nearly 400 tons of silver.

That's a lot of money. Where's he going to get that kind of money from the Jews that he dispossesses? Just as the Jews during World War II were stripped of their bank accounts, and their businesses, and their possessions, and the Third Reich became incredibly wealthy. More about the Third Reich in a minute, but first the king said, effectively you're speaking my language here, here's my ring. Verse 10, I don't want your silver or your people, or the people. Scholars believe this is nothing more than Middle Eastern posture.

I don't really need this, but yeah, I'm gonna get it. In fact, later on in chapter 4, we know that it will be expected by the king for Haman to pay up. Notice verse 13, letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces to destroy, to kill, to annihilate. How many times can you say the same thing? These are all piled on so that there is no loophole. It's kind of like in our American system of jurisprudence, somebody can serve two life sentences.

How do you do that? Or 10 life sentences. The more there are, the less of a loophole. What this is, and many scholars believe this is an actual quote from the edict. There will be no loopholes, they will be killed, if you're not certain what that means, destroyed.

If you're not certain what that means, annihilated. Who among the Jews? Well, let's make sure you understand that, the text says. Both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day, the twelfth month, which is the month they are, and to seize their possessions as plunder. Now, this edict is describing immediately what is gonna happen nearly a year later. What that means is the entire kingdom of Persia has an opportunity to get ready for this day of slaughter, and Haman is thinking to himself, the Jews escaped Egypt, they will not escape Persia. You can only imagine the king of darkness wringing his hands with delight. Haman says, listen, they don't belong to the kingdom, they're different.

They're not one of us. Let's choose a day to get rid of them. Reminds me of an evening just 73 years ago, just 73 years ago, called the Crystal Night. So named because of the uprising and the spontaneous violence against the Jews throughout Germany and Austria, it had been building.

It was so named the Crystal Night because of the shattering of the glass of Jewish businesses, and homes, and the looting that took place. For a year, they had, or two, the Jews had been marginalized in the Western world. They're different from us, and that eventually leads to they're a threat to us. And by the way, they don't belong to this kingdom, and look how much of my stuff they've got.

That's ours. Exactly what will be happening here for a year now. The Jewish people in Persia are going to be marginalized. They're going to be treated with suspicion.

Friendships are going to end quietly, quickly. Jewish businesses will dry up. The people will be avoided, suspicion, envied, hated, and destroyed. They have nowhere to run.

They have nowhere to hide in the entire kingdom. They're different from us, King, and that's a threat. Himmler himself echoed the words of Hitler when speaking of the Jews 75 years ago, and I quote, they do not belong to the same species. They're different.

In fact, he would go on to say, they are as far removed from us as animals are from humans. And so Hitler's troops would chant as they marched along these unthinkable lyrics translated into English, which read, sharpened the long knives on the pavement stone, sink the knives into Jewish flesh and bone, let the blood flow freely. Where does that kind of hatred come from? Where does that kind of violence originate? I'll tell you where. It does not originate in the heart of the King of Persia. It does not originate in the heart of the Prime Minister. It originates in the heart of the King of Darkness.

That's where. Satan is the ultimate Jew hater. In fact, his last gasp, you know, of defiance is going to take place at the end of the book. We studied Revelation for a few months, didn't we? You get to chapter 20 and you find out that it's one final assault upon the people of God.

Why? Because if Satan can destroy the nation, he will destroy the promises of God, making them null and void. And if God cannot keep his promise, he cannot possibly be God. So throughout the history of humanity, Satan has attempted to wipe out the Jew for first reasons. Obviously, from the Jew would come the Redeemer, the lion of the tribe of Judah, and Satan failed in that. And then to a people that God has promised will be reconstituted as a nation again in the land, serving the king, the descendant of David. And so he is bent on destroying the possibility of that from ever taking place. That's why the pages of history are stained with the blood of the Jewish people.

That's why there have been so many Haman's throughout time. They're deceived. They're goaded along by Satan into mounting an offensive, which is ultimately an offensive against God. Back to more recent history.

Many do not understand. And of course, you won't read this in your secular history books. Connect the work of Hitler with his devotion to Satan. Satanism, occultism, which he was deeply involved in. He hated Jesus Christ. He hated the church. He called Protestants dogs.

Thousands of Protestants were sent to the concentration camp. In one particular book that I have read from cover to cover, Luther's wonderful little book called Hitler's Cross gives a lot of insight from manuscripts and letters and documents. In the Hofburg Library in Vienna, there was a spear believed to be the spear that pierced the side of Christ.

Of course, it's just simply superstition and animism. But behind animism is Satan, who will use whatever vehicle he can to influence the lives of people. So one day, Adolf Hitler, who was 21 at the time, I believe, is standing in that library and he hears a tour guide tell people looking at that spear what it was and then saying this, and I quote, this spear is shrouded in mystery. Whoever unlocks its secrets will rule the world.

Later, Hitler will say, those words changed my life. So he goes over to this library nearly every day, standing before the spear. He makes a vow to follow Satan. He would come and stare at that spear for hours, inviting its hidden powers, and I'm reading, to invade his soul. He believed that this ancient weapon was a bridge between the world of sense and the world of spirit. Walter Stein, who befriended Hitler in his early years, his 20s, said that Hitler would stand before that spear, and I quote, like a man in a trance, a man over whom some dreadful spell had been cast.

The very space around him seemed enlivened with some kind of ghostly light. He appeared transformed as if some mighty spirit now inhabited his very soul, creating within and around him an evil transformation. And you think about it, what else could account for the mesmerizing sway of this man over the masses and the terror that world leaders felt the very first time they met him? I believe nothing less than satanic power. This was, I believe, Satan's choice. This was only his latest in his search for the Antichrist, and Satan doesn't know the future and he failed again, of course. I found it interesting that when Hitler eventually invaded Austria and marched victoriously into Vienna, the first thing he did was he went into that library, got that spear, and he held it in his hands and said, and I quote, I am now holding the whole world in my hands. This is an old family feud and he too would hear the whisper of divine providence as he failed to be the final Antichrist Satan had been looking for.

He would hear along with Haman who will hear in a few chapters the whisper of divine sovereignty, whispering, checkmate. God owns the chess pieces. In fact, he owns the chessboard. He owns the table upon which the chessboard sits. He owns the land upon which the chessboard stands.

He owns everything, everything. Mankind moves around by virtue of their will, but their will does ultimately his will, accomplishing his purposes. And what was God doing as he moved the pieces around to fulfill his will? I'll tell you what he's doing in Esther chapter 3. He is preparing his people to remember that even in Persia, not just in Jerusalem over there, that broken down old city, but in Persia, but in Persia, he is sovereign. Not just in here does he have his sway, but out there. What's God doing?

He's bringing the Jewish people to the theme of the book. They're not going to find any help from their government. They're not going to find any help from their friends. They're not going to find any help from their relatives. They're not going to find security in their bank accounts. They can't hide at home. They can't hide at work.

Humanly speaking, there is nothing they can do. There is nowhere for them to run, which is exactly where God wants them. Maybe that's what he's doing in your life, too.

This is where you are. Let me read you one more testimony that came out of more recent history and the attempt of Satan to destroy the Jew. And I quote, in June 1937, Dr. Niemöller preached his last sermon during the days of the Third Reich.

If you read Bonhoeffer's biography, as I am right now, Niemöller compromised earlier on, but later on took a stand with great courage. You can imagine preaching this in Germany at the height of Hitler's power. And I quote from his sermon, we have no more thought of using our own powers to escape the authorities than the apostles of old. No more are we ready to keep silent at man's request when God commands us to speak, for it is and must remain the case that we must obey God rather than man.

What courage. Within a few days of that final sermon, he was arrested and imprisoned. His trial began on February 7th, 1938. During the previous seven months after his arrest, he'd been sent into solitary confinement.

He heard from no one, and he wondered about his family and his church. The indictments against him comprised 14 pages. He was considered treasonous. He had spoken against the Reich, which is a nice way of saying he was speaking things that were not politically correct.

And that's where we're headed to. He had violated the law, and this was his charge. Quote, abuse of pulpit.

Abuse of pulpit. Now, he would later tell the story, a green uniformed soldier came and escorted him from his seven months of solitary confinement to the courtroom. And alone with his soldier escort, he walked filled with dread.

Niemoller knew that the outcome of the proceedings was a foregone conclusion. He had heard from no one, no friend, no church member. Then at that moment, he had one of the most amazing experiences of his life. His military escort had so far not uttered one word, but walked with regular military footsteps, his face impassive. But as they passed through an underground tunnel and were about to walk up the last flight of stairs, Niemoller heard a voice repeating a set of words so quietly it was difficult to know where it was coming from because of the echo. And then he heard a voice because of the echo. And then he realized it was his escort softly repeating, the name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous runs into it and is safe. The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Can you imagine? Niemoller was climbing the steps by now, gave no sign that he had heard the words, but his fear was gone, and in its place was calm, trust in God, his tower. He was condemned, sent to a concentration camp where he languished for seven years.

At the end of the war, he was liberated along with everyone else and he lived to tell the story. Ladies and gentlemen, do you know what an invisible God is doing centuries earlier? He's setting the stage for his people to rediscover that he alone is their strong tower. When everything else is unjust, he isn't. When no one else cares, he does.

When everyone else when everyone else gives up, he won't. When no one seems to notice, he does. Even when God seems distant, he is present. Even when God seems removed, he remains sovereign. Amen? You know what God is doing in Esther chapter 3?

He's moving the chess pieces of history so that his people will once again discover that he alone is their rock and their strong tower and perhaps he's doing the very same thing in your life right now. What a practical and helpful reminder for us today. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart, the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. We've posted this and all of Stephen's teaching to our website I also want to mention a resource we have to help you go deeper into your study of the book of Esther. Stephen's written a book simply called Esther. We only have a limited supply right now.

We hope to receive a shipment later this year, but while supplies last, we're offering Stephen's book Esther at half price. Again, you'll find information online at While you're there, please take a few extra moments and send us a note.

There's a form right on the website that you can use. Daisy from South Carolina said, I am 86 years old and truly thank the Lord for your ministry. I love hearing the wonderful preaching that keeps my spirit at rest. Thank you and may God continue to bless your ministry as you bless us. Well, thanks Daisy. And Sherry from Florida said, thank you for the hope you bring as you share your teaching by radio.

Well, thank you, Sherry. Be sure and thank your local Christian radio station for broadcasting wisdom for the heart. And one more, Michael and Megan wrote to say, we listen to you on the radio and through the wisdom app and have been greatly blessed by your sermons. The way you explore the dimensions and emotional subtleties in the lives of the biblical characters is truly unique and opens up new avenues to apply the scripture.

Well, thanks so much for your kind comments. You can send Stephen a card or letter in the mail. If you address it to wisdom for the heart, P.O. Box 37297, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27627. Our phone number is 866-48-Bible or 866-482-4253 if you'd like to speak with us. Next time, Stephen will continue through Esther. So join us then here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-30 12:00:19 / 2023-10-30 12:10:28 / 10

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