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For Such A Time As This: The Work Of Providence In Salvation

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The Providence of Salvation

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Songs of Worship

CALL TO WORSHIP
1.     At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh) - Phil Wickham
2.     God Almighty - Chris Tomlin
PRELUDE SONG
3.     Come Behold The Wondrous Mystery - Matt Boswell
COMMUNION SONG
4.     You Are My All In All - GVB
BENEDICTION SONG
5.     Blessed Assurance - Shane & Shane
2.

Call To Worship Scripture:

Proverbs 16:33 ESV
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
John 6:38–40 ESV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Philippians 4:19 ESV
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
John

Sermon Scripture:

Esther 4:14 ESV
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise 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?”

For Such A Time As This

Providence. It is what gives time and place meaning and purpose. It is uncontrolled by you and yet at work in all that you do. The hand of providence is more determinative than the thoughts of man for even the thoughts of man bend to the divine will of providence. The children of God wether in rebellion or in obedience find salvation and deliverance only by the hand of providence.
Courage
Today the word seems archaic but in Esther we learn the powerful lesson of the present working behind the scene effects of providence and the people of God. In this the question remains the same. It is not wether or not providence is at work, but are you a child of God and thus under His providential care? Then the question becomes will you trust and walk in such care and thus no the blessing and wisdom of providence.
Jesus stated:
For Such A Time As This
John 6:38–40 ESV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
This truth and revelation of providence is the theme of Esther.

Background:

In the book of Ezra and Nehemiah we read of an opportunity that God had given for the Jews to return to being under His care. We read that only a very small remnant chose to return. Their account is recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah.
Now Esther at approximatley 486 B.C. we have the account of those who did not return but instead chose the comforts and prosperity of Persia. These are the Jews who have chosen to walk outside of the will of God. This is emphasised by God’s name not being mentioned in this book. I believe this is explained in , that God’s name does not appear because His face is hidden. There is no prayer or dependence upon God in this book. There is no quote of Esther in the New Testament. However the Jews give this book special Emphasis. It is one of the five books called Megilloth (rolls) and is placed in the Pentateuch in importance.

Subject:

Addressed in Esther is, “the Providence of God”
Providence comes from the same stem as “provide”. It simply means that God will provide.
Theologically - providence is the direction God gives to everything: animate and inanimate, good and evil to accomplish His good and perfect will.
Practically - it speaks of the hand of God moving throughout the course of history. Think of it as the hand of God in the glove of history. The glove of history, time, or anything does not move lest the hand of God first moves it. Providence is God though unseen, still behind the scenes shifting and directing the course. It has been described as how God leads those who will not be led.
Esther gives the account of the entire Jewish nation which would have been slain had it not been for the providence of God.
God Almighty stands in the shadows keeping watch over His own.

Theme Verse:

Esther 4:14 ESV
For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise 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?”
Much takes place to lead us to this verse:
Ahasuerus (not a name but a title meaning “high father) is probably the Xerxes mentioned in .
Ahasuerus holds a banquet before his campaign to Greece to display wealth and power. Both wind up disasterous.
At his banquet (filled with alchohol) the Queen Vashti (who had made a seperate banquet) was summoned by the King in order to show off her beauty.
The queen being evidently of nobility and stregnth of character refused to go for this was against accepted custom.
Out of emotional haste and ill advisment the King made a decree to set the queen aside. This decree cannot be reversed by even the King, meaning that Queen Vashti was gone for good.
In the mids of this his campaign to Greece was a disaster and the King is found defeated and queenless and this is the point where most pick up in the story of Esther.
In order to attempt to reverse the depression of the king a contest is held to choose another queen and is advertised throuout the entire kingdom.
Introduce new characters: Mordecai, of the tribe of Benjamin, is one of the Jews that had not returned to Jerusalem. He settled in Persia with not thought of returning. Mordecai means, “little man”.
Mordecai had adopted his uncle’s daughter, Esther, and had raised her as his own. She was a beautiful young women and as such Mordecai enters her into the beauty contest.
Esther will immediatley please Hegai who is in charge of the contest. Though God’s providential had is moving in the dealings of the people who no longer look to him, we also witness the concern of Mordecai as it is evident that he does not seem to feel as though he can turn to God for help.
In the end Esther wins the contest and Mordecai is found to be given a political job (sitting at the gate).
Mordeci overhears a plot to kill the king and reveals it to Esther who reports it to the king. Though the deed is recorded, no recognition or reward is given to Mordecai.
Haman an anti-Semite is promoted by the king to the position corresponding to prime minister. He is a Agagit (Saul should have obeyed God and destroyed the Agagites - )
Having been given a new position the king commands all to bow to Haman and revere him. Mordecai due to his training in Mosaic Law () refuses. God’s people revere only God (; ). Though Mordecai is walking in disobedience he has not disassosiated himself from his God (an interesting note).
This stick in Hamans crawl and rather than ignoring it or simply going after Mordecai, Haman goes after all Jews and the King grants him permission to have all of the Jews killed on a certain day.
A decree is then drawn up which gives the kingdome permision to slay the Jews on the 13th day of Adar (March). This is a brutal and sensless decree. Such satanic anti-semite purges began with Pharaoh and continu down through the times of Herod, Hitler, the Arab, Muslim and present society.
Now in chapter 4 we see Mordecai mournint in sackcloth and ashes - yet there is no mention of prayer. Then we see all of the Jews in the kingdom morning but still no mention of prayer.
Queen Esther is embarrassed by the conduct of Mordecai and sends him new clothes. Mordecai refuses the garments. Their is a application here concerning religion:
The covering (outward acts) of religion cannot remove the fact that man is a guilty sinner before God.
Religion cannot alter the fact that the wages of sin is death.
Esther recieves a copy of the decree and informs Mordecia that there is nothing that she can do for she does not have access to the King. and this is where we arrive at as Mordecia’s response to Esther:
Esther 4:12–14 ESV
And they told Mordecai what Esther had said. Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise 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?”
Mordecia’s message is direct and simple:
Esther herself is in danger for she is a Jew
All of Esther’s family and people will perish
This may be the purpose for which Esther has come to the kingdom
If you refuse deliverance will arise for the people of God from another place (a reference to providence).
Now, Esther accepts the challenge, but I want you to note that the hero of Esther is He who is not mentioned in Esther. There is no strategy of man that has provided a way of deliverance, no wisdom that has preserved a rebellious people and no prosperity that has been able to grant long and peacfull living. Rather all of the seeking of man to gain their own comfort and pleassure, all of their seeking to dwell in prosperity while being identified as the people of God and yet forgetting God has led them to one place - death. Yet the providence of God is at work, working deliverance and a path to life.
Esther will put her own life at risk and go before the king on behalf of her people and we will see
Proverbs 21:1 ESV
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
The King in seeing Esther recognizes that there is a real crisis that has arisen and gives her assurance to grant her request even to give her half the kingdom.
Esther however is still hesitant and instead invites the king to a banquet.
In chapter 6 the providence of God is on full display:
The King could not sleep
To help the king sleep the records of the kingdoom are read by a scribe (a kings sleeping pill)
The scribe providentially reads the record of Mordecai’s deed in saving the kings life (2:21-23) and in doing so the king realizes that Mordecai had not been reconginzed for it.
Then at an early hour Haman comes to get the order form the king to execute Mordecai. However before Haman can state his cause for coming the King ask him what should be done for the manwhom the king delights to honor. Haman, thinking that the king is speaking of him gives a crazy response, thinking that such an honoring would prepare him to take the king’s throne but rather he is stunned and humiliated when he learns that the man to be honored is Mordecai the man he wanted killed.
When we come to chapter 7 of Esther we witness the king go to Esther for the third time seeking how to please her and ease her mind.
It is here that Esther reveals who she is and the horrible plot to kill her people and by the Kings demand she reveals that the one behind the plot is Haman. Haman is stunned a second time not knowing that Esther was a Jew.
Haman is then hanged at the gallows that he had erected for Mordecai
Yet there is another issue to be resolved. Remember a decree had been set for the killing of Jews and a decree cannot be reversed even by a King. In order to counter this the King sets another decree. This decree would give a defence to the Jews or permit them to defend themselves or rather, the kings government that initially demanded their execution would now defend them bringing salvation and deliverance to a people who otherwise would have perished.

Perspective

A decree has gone out from God to mankind
Ezekiel 18:20 ESV
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Romans 6:23 ESV
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This decree that has gone out, that sin brings death has not been and will not be altered nor cancelled, but rather another decree has gone out bringing salvation and deliverance to the people of God just as in the days of Esther.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
J
In the closing chapters of Esther we find that the day that would have meant the destruction of the people of Israel is the day of their great deliverance. God turns darkness into light, sorrow into rejoicing.
This day becomes another holy day for the nation and is called the Feast of Purim (9:20-32)
Even today providence is at work. God is at work to bring a distant and estranged people back to himself. Though many have chosen prosperity over God’s promise and self reliance over prayer our great God is still at work to deliver His own from our great depravity. The day will come when the child of God awakens to see prosperity covered in rust and self to be but a week vessel. It is in that day of weekness that the strength of God is found and the sorrow of the fleeting is turned to the joy of the lasting.
We- brothers and sister, you and I as the children of God are moved by providence put here for such a time as this. A time to declare our God’s decree of deliverance and call His children to abide in the defence and salvation provided for the by the one true King. The schemes of satan cannot, they will not prevail against us.
Perhaps you have forgotten God. Perhaps you identify yourself as a Christian and yet in life you do not pray and you do not abide in the words of Christ. Perhaps you are as the Jews having heard the invitation to return to God, you have refused to leave your comfort and prosperity and you have yet to recognize the danger that you are living in. Perhaps you feel as though it is to late to begin to live godly or as though your circumstance won’t allow it. I wish I could you say, but I don’t have access to that walk. Just as Esther doubted her access to the king so you doubt your ability to abide in Christ.
Friends let me be clear in application. You are hearing the Word of God this morning because God has brought you before His Word. You have been preserved to breath another breath, to live another day, week or year because at this very time God has ordained it. You like Esther have a choice to be a vessel of deliverance or to stand by silent. To be identified as one of God’s people or to hide in the comforts of the world. The courage, the needed bravery that you will find to be identified with God is in the fact that God’s providential hand has been working through success and failures for you to right now turn to Him and know salvation.
The question is, in the end, do you trust God? Do you trust in the covenant of God? No matter what your current state - will you be identified as one of His people right now. When the decision comes up to be identified with God and risk demise or hide away in worldly positions and comforts, what will you choose?
How do you view your life? Are you in the position that you are in for your own benefit? Do you look on your brothers misfortune and say oh well? Or do you recognize the hand of God in all of life? Do you remember that even a cup of water in the name of Christ will not be forgotten? God is working but do we recognize it? God is seeking to use those who will be used but do we say here am I send me? God want’s to use you in the salvation of your children, the spiritual impact of your grandchildren, the service of your church, the love of your christian brothers and sister. God wants to use you as a vessel of provision for His people in all areas of salvation wether spiritual or physical needs. But are you willing to see that as the purpose for which you are here?
This morning will we see beyond ourselves and our own ability that we might trust in providence, live boldly and abide in Christ? Will we recognize that though we are not prepared as the world sees preparation we can be certain that God has prepared us for every situation. Let this be heard by the decision weary father, the tired teaching mother feeling ill-equipped. Let the young men and women dreaming of big impact not look past the legacy of everyday faithfulness and courage it takes to simply walk in the trust of God and let God set your path as you set your eyes upon him. Let the older not retire in their godly vigor but let those who have longest walked in godliness be the loudest to proclaim His faithfulness, for in each season and each time of life we can be certain that with each new sunrise God has awakened us for such a time as this to trust Him, abide in Him and walk boldly identified as His children.
John 6:38–40 ESV
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John 6:38-40
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