Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Written by Amelia   
Scriptures : Esther 9:17 – 10:3
Speaker : Pr Lee Peng Chiat
Date : 5th September, 2010

When a nation or a church forgets its heroes or the events that kept it alive, it easy for the new generation to take for granted the sacrifices of those before them. The Jews established The Feast of Purim to remind the younger generations how God saved them from destruction.

The Christian life is a celebration of God’s goodness and rich mercy in our lives. We are not only called into a life of reverence and piety but given the joy of knowing God. When Satan is defeated what would God expect His people to do? We celebrate and laugh. Sometimes people find it hard to laugh.

There was this 38-year-old cleaning woman. She would go to the movie and sigh, “If only I had her looks.” She would go and listen to a singer and moan, “If only I could sing like her.” One day someone gave her a book on the magic of believing. She started to take inventory of herself and remembered that in high school she was known as the funniest person. She started to turn her liability into her assets. This lady, Phyllis Diller made a million from her ability to make people laugh.

Laughter and weeping are the 2 most intense human emotions. And these emotions are to be consecrated to God. So, The Feast of Purim was celebrated with much joy and laughter for God turned their despair into hope. Upon recognizing the enormity of what God had done for done, the Israelites burst out in laughter. The Lord has done great things for them. The life of a believer is characterized by joy, peace and laughter. Laughter is a great gift from God.

Tonight we will examine The Feast of Purim to find theological significances for us. We served a God of celebration and worship. We have a time of worship. We should sing with joy. The Christian life is a celebration of God’s mercy and goodness for us. Christians ought to rejoice because every spiritual blessings we’ve experienced have come from the Jews. God has a special place for these people. The first Christians were Jewish believers. So were the first missionaries. Jesus died on the Passover and rose during The Feast of First Fruits. The Holy Spirit came during Pentecost. All these are Jewish celebrations. If there had been no Jews, there would be no church. There is nothing wrong with meaningful traditions. If we do not pass on to our children what God has done for us, the church will die of apathy and ignorance.

It is when traditional gradually become traditionalism that we get into trouble. Tradition is a living faith of the dead. Traditionalism is a dead faith of the living.

Mordecai issued a letter that instructed the Jews to celebrate on both the 14th and 15th day of the month. How is The Feast of Purim celebrated? They begin it with a fast on the 13th day of Adar, commemorating the day Hamam issue the decree. The children will bring a special Purim rattle and they will shake it each time Hamam’s name is read. On the 14th day, they will meet and pray and listen to the story of Esther. And eventually, they also hear the story of Moses and the Amalekites. The Amalekites were the ones who came from the back and attacked Israel as they were about to enter the Promised Land.

After reading all these, the people go back for a special meal. They send gifts and food to the needy so that everyone can rejoice together. No one is neglected.

Purim is the plural of the Babylonian word “pur” which means “lot”. Even though there was no divine sanction for this feast, the Jews determined that the feast would be celebrated generations to generations. The children must be taught so that the message would not be lost in future generations. It goes beyond nationalism but gives thanks and praise to God for his goodness and mercy.

Not only did Mordecai sent a letter of instruction to the Jews, but Esther too sent a second letter (v29-32). Perhaps some of the Jews did not want to change the day of celebration. Hence, perhaps the second letter from Esther. The rural Jews celebrate it on the 14th while those in the city celebrate on the 15th day. So often we work together against our enemies but fight among ourselves in celebrating the victory. In v30, Mordecai sent letters of words of goodwill and assurance. This suggest that there was a division among the Jews that needed to be heal. Esther and Mordecai also had the matter written in the Book.

The story of the victory was written in a journal and ultimately recorded in the OT. Our throwaway society tends to forget the past. We tend to listen to new things but not old things. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it. This is the story of The Feast of Purim. In Chapter 10, the author mentioned tribute to King Xerxes and Mordecai. Often times we forget when we reach the top. Mordecai was not like that. It is believed that Mordecai engineered  that. Mordecai reminded the King that he deserved the prosperity brought and success brought by the Jews.

God continued to use Mordecai to protect His people. Mordecai saw to it that the Jews were fairly treated. He spoke out for the welfare of the Jews and protected them. God preserved the Jewish nation so that today we can have  a Bible and a Saviour. It is our calling to seek and save the lost. We are the King’s courier and we should not fail. Esther reaches out from across the centuries to join hands with the believers. Her commitment to save her people included her willingness perish for the cause.

 
Written by Chan Weng Seng   

Scriptures : Esther 8:9 - 9:16
Date         : 29th August, 2010
Speaker    : Chan Weng Seng

It’s easy to piece together a jigsaw puzzle if you’ve seen the big picture before you begin. Try piecing a jigsaw puzzle without 1st seeing the big picture. It’s more complex & challenging, more exciting & exasperating isn’t it. Life is one big complex and confusing  jigsaw puzzle. It’s challenging when we can’t see the big picture of God’s purpose in it. It becomes exasperating when in the thick and thin of it we doubt God’s purpose for our life..

Joseph’s life from beginning to end is narrated in Genesis chapters 37-50. If Joseph’s brothers had asked Joseph this question before Genesis 50 . ‘What is God’s purpose for your life?” Joseph’s answer would be, ‘It’s one big confusing puzzle I’m still trying to figure out.’

But when asked this same question just before He died in Genesis 50 ; Joseph’s answer in
Genesis 50:20 was
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (NIV) God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to this high position I have today so I could save the lives  of many people. (NLT)

Right now we’re at  Esther 8 & 9 of our pulpit series on the book of Esther.
If Haman were to ask  Modecai this question before Esther 7:10 ; ‘What’s God purpose for your life?  Modecai’s answer might be. "It’s exasperating! I’m still trying to figure it out.”

But if Haman had the opportunity to ask  Modecai this same question just before he was hanged as recorded in  Esther 7:10 , Modecai’s answer would be like Joseph’s  as recorded in Genesis 50:20
You intended evil against me, but Elohim intended it for good in order to do as is this day, to keep many people alive (by hanging you.) The Scriptures

If Joseph or Modecai were to ask God this question before they die. ‘What isYour purpose for my life? God’s answer might be from Romans 8:28 Know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. NIV Know that all things that happens to you are working for your good if you love God and are fitting into His plans.  Living Bible

If Satan asks you this question after tonight’s message,
Why are you still serving God in spite of all the terrible things I did to you? I pray your answer will be like Joseph’s in Genesis 50:20 ; You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. NIV

Even though you have harmed me Satan, God has worked it out for my good,
to accomplish His purpose so that I can save many lives for Him. If God were to ask you this question after tonight’s sermon

How have you lived out My purpose for which I created and redeemed you for? What will be your answer to Him? I pray your answer will be I know  that all things that happen to me ( the good as well as the bad) is working for my good because I love you and I am fitting into the bigger picture of your plans.’

To help you confess this, consider tonight’s text which is Esther 8:9 – 9:16
3 pieces of this puzzle of God’s purpose for your life is found in this text. They are God’s promise,God’s providence and God’s preservation.

I have entitled tonight’s message GOD’S PURPOSE MAN’S PUZZLE. To help you fit these 3 pieces of puzzle; to help you understand God’s purpose for your life; to help you follow the flow of tonight’s sharing;

I have structured my message under these 3 headings.

  1. God’s promises expressed
  2. God’s providence experienced
  3. God’s preservation extended

I now begin with the first point

GOD’S PROMISES EXPRESSED

To fully understand what’s recorded in Esther 8 & 9, you need to know what had happened in the past between the Israelites & the Amalekites. That’s because Esther & Modecai are Israelites while Haman is an Amalekite.

To fully appreciate what’s happening in Esther 8 & 9, you need to know God’s promises expressed to Esther’s ancestors and God’s judgement pronounced  against Haman’s ancestors.

Let’s briefly look up 3 portions of OT Scripture.

Firstly I read from The Message Genesis 12:1-3
God told Abram: Leave your country, your family and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. I’ll make you a great nation and bless you. I’ll make you famous and you’ll be a blessing to many. I’ll bless those who bless you; and those who curse you I’ll curse. All the families of the Earth will be blessed through you.

Notice these words: those who bless you, I will bless and those who curse you I’ll curse.

Secondly I read from the NIV Genesis 17: 7
Here God reaffirmed His Covenant with Abraham and extended it  to become an everlasting covenant to include Abraham’s descendants. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and between Me and your descendents after you for generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendents after you.

This means those who bless Abraham or his descendents; He will bless, and those who curse Abraham or his descendents; God will curse.

Thirdly turn with me to Exodus 17:14 & 16 LB

This is God’s command and His promise to Moses concerning the Amalekites.

Then the Lord instructed Moses; Write this into permanent record to be remembered forever… I will utterly blot out every trace of Amalekite. For the Lord will be at war with Amalekite generation after generation.

Why did God command Moses to utterly blot out every trace of the Amalekites from the face of the earth?

The reason is given in Deuteronomy 25:17-19 NLT
Never forget what the Amalekites did to you as you came out from Egypt. They attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who were lagging behind. They had no fear of God. Therefore, when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies in the land he is giving you as a special possession, you are to destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven. Never forget this!

Now  look at Esther 9: 5 -10 NIV in the light of God’s promises expressed.
The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing & destroying them, and they did what they pleased to  those who hated them. In Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed 500  and the 10 sons of Haman.

Esther 9:16 NIV
The remainder of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also assembled to protect themselves and get relief from their enemies. They killed 75,000 of them but did not lay their hands on the plunder.

These figures tell us how many Amalekites there were who hated the Jews and who wanted to exterminate the Jews. All this shameful public hanging of Haman & his 10 sons; all this civil war and genocide, this massacre of Haman’s tribe the Amalekites; it upsetted me when I read  it. My stomach churned when I tried to imagine what had happened. My spirit was troubled when I tried to picture the carnage and the violence. Too much violence, too many killings, horror & terror, corpses everywhere. I couldn’t stomach it, not until I saw the bigger picture of God fulfilling His promises to Abraham and Moses.

Now I say the Amalekites deserved what they got because

  • they asked for it. They started it, not the Jews.
  • They had cursed Abraham’s descendents
  • They had hated the Jews
  • They had plotted to exterminate Abraham’s descendents
  • They had bribed the King to plunder the possessions of the Jews
  • They were making preparations to kill every Jew they knew
  • and they waited for that fateful day not knowing that the God

of Abraham is a God of providence.

  • The Jews had no way out, no options left. Either they defend themselves

or they be massacred by the Amalekites.

Notice this phrase mentioned in Esther 9:5 which is repeated in Esther 10:16
‘They did not take any plunder.’

They could have but the Jews did not plunder the Amalekites. There was no greed in their self-defense and in their obedience to God to wipe out the Amalekites.

Past and present day ‘Amalekites’ have not learned this lesson. Those who fight God, God will destroy them. Those who curse God’s people, God will curse them. Those who seek to exterminate God’s people, God will exterminate them. Those who are anti-God, anti-Jew and anti-christian still do not know that  our God  is a God of providence who honors His promises.

Each time you

  • hear the Preisdent of Iran threatening to wipe out Israel

and exterminate every Jew from the face of this earth

  • read reports of chrisitans being imprisoned, tortured and martyred in North Korea
  • are told of christians being tortured and beheaded in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan & Somalia
  • receive urgent prayer requests to pray for christians who are suffering

in atheistic countries and  persecuted in Islamic nations; don’t despair because our God is a God of providence who keeps His promises to His people. Don’t forget to intercede for our brothers & sisters in Christ as your pray against these evil leaders and  godless nations.

I now proceed to the 2nd heading of tonight’s message

GOD’S PROVIDENCE EXPERIENCED

Translated from Greek, providence means ‘to provide in advance.’ Translated literalily, God’s providence means the provision and protection that God provides in advance. Providence is the unseen Hand of God writing His story in human history. Unseen because we don’t see God’s Hand at work with our physical eyes but  we see its effects after that.

The book of Esther is the story of God’s providence for His people. His name is never mentioned and His unseen Hand at work is not acknowledged. But we see the results, the work of His hands unfold from beginning to end.

From tonight’s text we can identify 4 providences of God.

Providence #1 concerns Modecai.

Esther 4:1 NIV tells us what Modecai was before he experienced God’s providence.

When Modecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went into the city wailing loudly and bitterly.

Esther 8:15 NIV tells us what Modecai had become after he experienced God’s providence Modecai left the king’s presence wearing royal garments of blue and white, a large crown of gold and a purple robe of fine linen.

Providence #2 concerns Haman

Esther 3:1-2 NIV tells us what Haman was before God’s providence King Xerxes honored Haman the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honor higher than that of other nobles. All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honor to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him.

Esther 7:10 NIV tells us Haman’s fate after he experienced God’s providence. So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Modecai.

Providence #3 concerns the king’s 2 edits

Esther 4:3 NIV reveals the peoples’ response to the 1st edit before God’s providence came into effect

In every province to which the edit and order of the king came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes.

Esther 8:16-17 NIV reveals the people’s response to the 2nd edit after God’s providence came into effect.

For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the edit of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebration.

Providence #4  concerns the day the 2 edits came into effect

Esther 9:1 , 2 & 5  Msg On the 13th day of the 12th month, the month of Adar (28 Feruary), the king’s order came into effect. This was the day that the enemies of the Jews had planned to overpower them, but the tables were turned: the Jews overpowered those who hated them! The Jews had gathered in the cities throughout King Xerxes’ provinces to lay hands on those who were seeking their ruin. Not one man was able to stand up against them; fear made cowards of them all. So the Jews finished off all their enemies with the sword, slaughtering them right and left, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.

The Jews would all be massacred on February 28th had God not intervened. But God did intervene to protect His people. The Amalekites ended up liquidated instead. Haman and the Amalekites deserved God’s judgment. Lest you think the Israelites deserved God’s providence, let me paint you the bigger picture of God’s dealings with them as recorded in the OT.

I have now arrived at my 3rd & last point for this evening.

GOD’S PRESERVATION EXTENDED

During the years of the judges and kings, the Israelites experienced many wars & famines, cycles political upheavals, shattered lives & broken families. Many died in the ensuing violence because of their disobedience to God. Later came the captivity, dispersion and exile under the hands of the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Persians.

A small remnant was saved by God’s grace because of their faithfulness. During the 400 years between the OT and the NT, the Israelites were characterized by their cold-heartedness and indifference to God culminating in the outright rejection of Jesus their Messiah. They were dispersed worldwide once again because of their rejection of Jesus.

Attempts had been made in modern history to liquidate them once for all. Hitler & Stalin, Nasir & Arafat trled but they failed because of God’s providence. Attempts are being made today to liquidate the Israelites once for all. Hamas & Hizbullahs, Iran & the Islamic nations are trying but they will fail because God Almighty will preserve His chosen people. When you look at the map of the Middle East today, there stands the tiny nation of Israel, testimony to God’s providence and preservation.

God had protected His people not because they deserved it. God had preserved His chosen people because He is the God of grace. And what is GRACE? It’s God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

If God, by His grace can bring His chosen people through centuries of chaotic history and preserve them from extinction in spite of their unbelief, disobedience and cold-hearted indifference;

What do you suppose He is capable of doing in your life; especially if He has your obedience and co-operation? God wants to make Esther’s story your story, will you let Him?

CLOSURE

I end by personalizing the 3 lessons we have learned tonight. I close by customizing 3 applications for you to take home tonight.

A1  God’s promise expressed to you  – claim it.

Just as God had a great purpose for Abraham, your spiritual father, He has a wonderful plan for your life also. Jeremiah 33:3 Msg Call on me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you pray I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find Me when you seek Me. I will be found by you says the Lord. Jeremiah 29: 11 -14 NLT


A2  God’s providence to be experienced by you  – enjoy it.

Just as God had provided for Modecai & his generation of Jews, so will God provide & sustain you and your family if you continue to abide in Christ. Everything is already yours as a gift. The world, life, death, the present, the future -  all of it is yours and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God. I Corinthians 3:23 Msg

And because you are in union with Christ God is above you to bless you; below you to support you; before you to guide you; behind you to protect you; beside you to comfort you & inside you to empower you. Experience and enjoy God’s providence with Christ’s enabling.


A3  God’s preservation has already been extended to you – believe it.

Just as God had protected Esther & her generation of Israelites, so will God protect you and preserve your descendents if you remain faithful to Him.

Romans 8: 35 -39 NLT

Can anything separate you from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves you if you have trouble, calamity & persecution; are hungry or cold; in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is yours through Christ who loves you.

Nothing can separate you from His love. Death can’t. Life can’t. The angels can’t and the demons can’t. Your fears for today, your worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away from you. Whether you are high above in the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate you from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus your Lord.

Before you leave God’s presence this evening, tell Abba Father you want to

  • claim His  promise expressed to you
  • experiencce His providence daily
  • believe His preservation He has already extended to you.


May the Lord God Almighty bless you and protect you. May the Lord God Almighty smile on you and be gracious to you May the Lord God Almighty show you His favor and grant you His peace.

Amen?

 
Written by Amelia   

Scriptures : Luke 19 : 1-10
Date : 22nd August, 2010
Speaker : Ps Pax Tan

Today’s text is taken from Luke 19:1-10 and it is a familiar story to many of us. It talks about a short man called Zacchaeus. He had to climb a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. This is a reminder where God wants us to be in these times. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector. He personifies a very sinful person. Tax collectors were seen as very corrupt people as they would tax people more than should be. The Jews were under the Roman rule. The Jews did not like the Romans for they were occupiers. All tax collectors were considered traitors of the Jewish race.

  Zacchaeus was curious about Jesus. But he was short and there was no way he could get a glimpse of Jesus. So he went to a spot where Jesus would pass. There were was a huge crowd with Jesus. From his vantage point, he saw Jesus. If we read Luke’s version, in verse 5, when Jesus reached the spot, he looked up to Zacchaeus and said to him to come down. He told him He must stay in Zacchaeus’ house. Scriptures is very brief in its description but it tells us this strange event; that Jesus looked at this very sinful person who was up on the tree and actually told him to come down and that He wanted to go to his house. The implication is He wanted to go to a person whom everyone would love to hate. Yet Jesus made that call. And immediately Zaccheaus came down and brought Jesus to his house.

Everyone was following Jesus to the chief of sinners’ house; someone whom they felt was not worthy of Jesus’ attention. Luke commented that the people began to mutter about Jesus’ action. Zaccheaus was someone whom people would love to curse and yet Jesus deliberately asked to go to his house; to be the guest of a sinner. The people did not understand why Jesus did that.

Let us fast forward into Zaccheaus’ home. At home, Zaccheaus stood up and made some proclamations. There must have been some conversations which are not recorded in the Bible that happened on the way to his home. Luke reports the aftermath of that journey; at Zaccheaus’ home. Zaccheaus stood up and proclaimed that he would give half his possessions to the poor. And for those he cheated, he would return 4 times as much. Here we have a person who was a deliberate sinner, yet he was transformed radically. Whatever it was, we can safely conclude that whatever transpired between Jesus and Zacceaus must have touched him to the core. The mere fact that Jesus stopped and looked at Zaccheaus, told him that He wanted to go to his house and that contributed to the change in Zaccheaus. What caused Zaccheaus to change so radically?

So what caused Zaccheaus to give away his fortune? He knew he was a sinner of sinners, that no one cared about him, that the priests were all out to stop him from attempting to enter the temple. He chose that life but deep down inside his vacuum remains empty. And Jesus called him. His time with Jesus must have touched him so much that he repented. We must know who we are in relation to God. This word sinner must never be misunderstood. Every sinner deserves to be condemned to the fires of the hell but the Good News is we do not need to die in that fire. That Good News is Jesus died for our sins on the crucifix for us. And because Zaccheaus knew his position after Jesus told him that he can be saved, he repented.

Let me point you to Luke 15: Jesus was going around with his followers. We see that the tax collectors and sinners were all gathered around to listen to Jesus. They were fascinated by Jesus. The people who liked Jesus were sinners. Here’s something for us all to think about? Where are Jesus’ followers today?

His followers are sinners. His disciples were sinners. They did not volunteer. Jesus deliberately chose them.

So unless we know that we are that sinner, we will not rise to the occasion. The moment we think we deserve the grace we will not feel indebted to our God. Once we are in that situation, this repentance of Zaccheaus will not be ours. Jesus told Zaccheaus that salvation had come to his home.

As Christians we know that we are saved by grace. But we must bear fruits that show our faith. Our works will show these fruits. Our works must testify to our salvation.

 
Written by Amelia   
Scriptures : Esther 7:1 – 8:8
Date : 15th August, 2010
Speaker : Ps Lee Peng Chiat

Everyone has problems. You got them, I have them. All God’s children have problems. Problems are everywhere. We deal with them every moment every day; from computer crashing to kids who need transport for their tuitions. Problems are overwhelming at times. Yet problems give meaning to life. Problems give life creative tension. Most of the psalms were written out of great difficulty. Most of the New Testament were written in prisons.

In this book of Esther the Jew had great problems.

Most people want to run from their problems. But because problem is such a large part of life, they end up running from their lives. So we have to learn to embrace them. And this is the lesson in Esther.

In Chapter 8, he had a problem with an edict he made in Chapter 3; to kill all Jews in one single day and to plunder their property. In Chapter 7, King Xerxes had a problem in how to deal with Hamam. Problems are everywhere. The idea is to embrace and learn from them. There are 4 steps to consider:

  1. Take responsibility for our problem
    The entire Book of Esther is about a young woman and an old man who took responsibility for their problem which threatened their existence. In the beginning Esther wanted to be uninvolved but Mordecai jerked her back into reality by making her realize her responsibility. Mordecai reminded her not to think that she would escape Hamam’s plot. He reminded her that she was placed there for such a time as that. Esther responded with courage. Her people’s problem became her problem.

    God wants us to take responsibility for our personal problems too, but too often we want to dump it all off on Him. Parents helplessly stand by, allowing their kids to walk over them. God wants them to take responsibility over them. I am not downplaying the role of prayer. What I am stressing is we seem to want God to give a setting than we dirtying our hands. Or wives waiting for God to change their alcoholic husbands.

    A radio host once said looking back his life seemed to one long obstacle course with him as the main obstacle. We need to take 3 steps: 1. Be responsible for who we are. 2.Be responsible for what we receive. 3.Be responsible for what you can do. The truth is every problem introduces you to yourself. Every problem shows how you think and what you are made of. How do we react? Do we ignore it and hope it will go away. Do we feel powerless and start playing the victim? Or do you roll up your sleeves and face it? In facing up to problems you become better with each try. Successful people have failed more times but they learn from their failures and refuse to stay down.

  2. Take a break
    In Chapter 7, King Xerxes is faced with the fact that Hamam wants to kill all the Jews including his wife. His first reaction was to get angry. Then he took a break by going out into the palace gardens. Some people get upset and emotional and react immediately. 9 out of 10 times, it would be the wrong thing to do. Instead of acting rashly, King Xerxes took a little walk to clear his head and get a perspective. He learned to identify the issue rather than attacking the symptoms. One has to get to the root cause. Unchecked anger will make a problem bigger. Proverbs 14:29
  3. Take advice on our problems
    King Xerxes surrounded himself with advisers. He replaced Hamam with Esther and Mordecai. Who do we go to when we have problems? The favourites; family members, friends, Bible, books, Pastor. It is important that we choose the right friend rather than the closest person. Closest person may sometimes be too involved to give good advice. When Hamam went back angry, his wife suggested that he build the gallows.
  4.  

  5. Take action on our problems
    The great thing about God is that when He solves the problem, He uses us but allows us to get the credit. Some people think that having faith means we should just stand idly by while God solves our problem. I see many people hurt while waiting for God to do something what God is waiting for them to do. God wants us to have an active faith; one that stretches out of our comfort zone. We do everything we possibly can in faith and leave the rest to God. For example, you need a job. God doesn’t want you to wait for one to magically drop onto your lap. He wants you to read the papers for vacancies and do what is necessary.

    God has an answer to our problems but He wants us to actively pursue it! Sometimes this requires that you think out of the box. God makes us creative to think creatively. Creativity is critical for problem solving. Man who say it cannot be done should not interrupt man who is doing it.

In conclusion, Chapter 7 is the beginning of the reversal of fortune for Hamam. He went from the favoured one to being the enemy. He had to escort Mordecai through the streets proclaiming Mordecai. He became depressed and before he could overcome it, he had to attend the second banquet. Esther revealed that she was Jewish  and Hamam had been revealed as the one behind the plot. It got worse for Hamam. His rice had turned to broth. He fell on his knees before Esther and begged for his mercy. He grovels on the couch nearly covering Esther. The King came in and he thought Hamam was molesting the Queen. Hamam was angry at Mordecai because Mordecai refuse to bow to him. In the end, he fell before a woman, a relative of Mordecai to plea for his life. Only God could bring such irony to the front.

Hamam fell all the way from his exalted position as the second in command to his death on the gallows that he built for Mordecai. Even though Hamam was dead, the Jews were not in the clear. The edict still stand to annihilate all the Jews on one single day. In Esther 8:3 , Esther begged the King to put an end to Hamam’s plan. Hamam had tricked the King to signing the law to exterminate the Jews. It was a law that could not be broken. It was a big problem. King Xerxes gave complete authority to Esther and Mordecai to solve the irreversible law. They wrote a new law whereby the Jews were allowed to defend themselves. The King gave them his signet ring. God has an answer for our problems and He wants us to discover it.

The lives of Esther and Mordecai shows us what we can do to solve our problems.

 
Written by Amelia   
Scripture  : Esther 6:1-14
Speaker   : Mr. Chiam Yow Lip
Date         : 8th August, 2010

Psalms 14: 1; The fool says in his heart there is no God. We treasure securities but they actually carry no weight. Beauty fades, relationships can be broken and death is unavoidable. Real security is beyond this life.

Esther is beautiful. Her character and beauty caused the King to make her Queen. She risked everything to see the King. But though she was Queen she was still not secure. Esther cautiously and courageously approached the King on behalf of her people. Before she went to see the King, the Jews were asked to fast and pray for her. The King showed her his golden scepter and asked her to make known her wishes. She then invited Hamam and the King to a banquet. The King was sharp enough to know that Esther had something on her mind. Yet she was wise enough to insist on a second banquet. In the end of Chapter 5, Hamam went ahead to prepare gallows to hang Mordecai.

Esther 6 is the turning point of the story. Light triumphs over evil and death was changed to life. And all this event took place in just one day because God was at work. How was He at work?

He works for the good of those who love him

We may think that everything that happened was due to plain luck because there was no mention of God at all. We can cast a lot but how it turns out is not within our control but God’s. We’ll look at coincidences and God’s incidence. In Chapter 3, Hamam cast a lot to choose a day to kill the Jews. And it fell on the 12th month. The day of destruction for the Jews was set almost a year away, giving Esther time to finish her plea to the King.

In Esther 6 , the King was unable to sleep and he asked to read a book to induce him to sleep. The book of choice was a boring court document. The King did not find the passage himself. The attendants happen to choose and read an account of Mordecai. This looks like a coincidence. The reading reminded the King who his friends were. He then determined to do something about Mordecai. 5 years had taken place. King Xerxes reigned for 12 years. In the first 2 years, 2 palace guards made an attempt to take his life. They were exposed by Mordecai. Hence the record was made early in Xerxes’ reign. Yet everything fits into God's plans.

At that time, Hamam entered the court. The King enquired who was in the court. It was God’s hand at work. When Hamam was brought in, the King asked him how he should honour a man who delights him. Another coincidence? The King did not mention Mordecai’s name. If he had mentioned Mordecai’s name, Hamam would not have suggested to the King to honour him the way he did. Hamam gave his advice because he thought the honour was meant for himself. His advice backfired. God used the King to save Mordecai and the King was unaware of his role. This goes to show that we can trust God to weave together events for our good. God placed Mordecai in the King’s life so that he could save the King. God also intervened to save Mordecai’s life by causing the King insomnia. And God also caused the King not to mention Mordecai’s name when he asked Hamam for advice. God was also with Esther when she organized the banquets to the King. The timing was in such a way that Hamam’s plan could not stand.

Hamam did what was ordered by the king. He went through the grinding humiliating ordeal. He must have felt terrible. The Bible tells us that he who humbles himself will be exalted and and he who exalts himself will be humbled. And this is what happened to Hamam. Proverbs 16:9 ; In this Esther 6 , man tries to prevent but God prevails. The NT equivalent of this can be found in Romans 8:28 . Many people take the attitude that everything will turn out alright in the end without thinking of the problems that exists. But Paul faced up to the problems and came to this conclusion in Romans 8:28 . First he said we know. This knowledge comes from faith. He could see that some events were heading for disaster but yet they turned out well because God is at work. He also says “in all things’; most Christians agree that we are on our way to heaven but some regard certain circumstances help or hinder them. But Paul writes all things help. Paul was talking about suffering. He meant that even suffering can help us with our future with God.

God uses the tensions and conflicts, struggles against sin to prepare us for the good which he purposes for us. Job was blessed by God. He had everything. Because of this, he began to experience suffering. To Job his suffering was terrible. He complained to God. In the end he got to know God in a new way. Suffering for Job became the way of knowing God better.

God works for the good. Paul is not talking about our comfort, security or happiness. He was thinking of man’s greatest good – our salvation, that is to be conformed to the image of Christ. This is God’s purpose for us.

“Those who love him” – by faith we believe God’s purpose for us. God works for our good also because our good is His purpose. As we can see in Esther, God’s purpose was the salvation of the Jews and He did not fail.

He changes the circumstances against the ungodly

For Godless people, the change in life can often change into a tragedy. As we study the life of Hamam, we know that he was the descendent of the King of Amalekites. Mordecai was a descendant of Saul. As a result, Hamam always regards the Jews as his enemy. So he decided to eliminate them. What were Hamam’s weaknesses and mistakes? First he had a desire to control others. Second he was blinded by arrogance and self importance. Third he allowed hatred to rule over his life. Fourth he had an insatiable thirst for power and prestige. What do all these lead to?

Firstly, hatred, pride and self importance will be punished.
Secondly, the insatiable thirst for power and prestige destroys.
Thirdly God has an amazing record of making all these backfire.

Don’t let hatred and its resulting bitterness build in our hearts. It can backfire us. Bitterness is sin. Ignoring and hiding it from others is not good enough. Hamam was prevented Mordecai. He also had to suffer shame for publicly honouring Mordecai. Hamam died on his own gallows in the end. In contrast, Esther risked everything to gain the salvation of the Jews.

How much Hamam is in us? Do we desire to control others? We need to confess all these and ask God to replace all these. Remember, God has an amazing record in making evil plans backfire.

In conclusion we know that God works in our lives. The goal of His dealing with us is the ultimate conformity to the image of Christ. He works for the good of those who love him and we should love Him with all our being. We usually do not welcome suffering and pain as we feel that they work negatively against us but our God works for our good. Let us give thanks to Him in all circumstances.

 
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