All Roads Lead To Jesus - Esther

ESTHER – JESUS IS PROTECTOR

Sometimes, even in the most devout people, it seems like God isn’t really there. I have been to places in my own life and walked with others in their lives where it was really hard to find the hand of God at work. In those times and moments, I feel stripped naked. It’s as if we really are on our own on what Carl Sagan called the “pale blue dot” that is this Earth. For Carl Sagan, this is all there is in the vast and unfathomable Universe. No one is coming. No one cares for this pale blue dot. Is there are God who is not only watching but loving and protecting His people? If not, then the Bible is a cruel joke from start to finish. If so, then the Bible is the greatest story ever told. Sometimes, we find ourselves living somewhere in between those two propositions.

The name of God is never mentioned once in the book of Esther. The lack of God’s name is the literary genius of the story that makes us think more about God and not less. The focus of the story turns from the main characters and towards the providential details. Each twist and turn becomes the main character of the story. The entire story of Esther is meant to show us how God’s hidden and sovereign hand is always protecting us.

Esther and her Uncle Mordecai had been in captivity in Persia for their entire lives. Mordecai had witnessed the fall of Babylon to the Persians. Now he was an official in King Xerxes’ court. Esther and Mordecai were Jews. They could have gone home with the rest of God’s people, but they chose to stay in Persia. They weren’t the only ones. Many of the Jews had stayed behind and did not return to Persia. They had made a life for themselves in Persia and were quite comfortable.

King Xerxes did not fear God. He believed himself to be a god. He had the most powerful military in the world and was the richest king the world had ever known. There was one man in his court, Haman, who didn’t fear god either. When he was given power, he used it to exact vengeance on his enemies and abuse people. One day, he commanded all of the officials in the king’s court to bow down and worship him. Mordecai, a Jew, had enough. He would not bow.

As you could probably guess, Haman wasn’t having it. From that day forward he not only wanted to execute Mordecai, but he wanted to eliminate all of the Jewish people. He hatched his plan, fooled King Xerxes into making his plan a regal decree, and then waited for the day for all of the killing to begin.

The problem for Haman is that God wasn’t having it either. Just before Haman had his run-in with Mordecai, Esther had been chosen Queen by King Xerxes. She had been placed in a position of power by the sovereign and hidden hand of God for a time such as this. Haman did not know that Esther was a Jew. Haman’s plans to kill the Jews and Mordecai was treason against the King and His Queen. Mordecai sent word to Esther about Haman’s plans and asked her to intervene in a way that would have put Esther at great risk. Mordecai reminded Queen Esther that perhaps she had become Queen for a time such as this – to save God’s people from evil.

That is precisely what happened. Through twists and turns, Haman’s evil plot is discovered and revealed to King Xerxes. He and his sons are put to death. Mordecai is made the 2nd most powerful person in Persia. The Jewish people are not only saved, but their enemies are all put to death. Everything is reversed as God protects His people with His sovereign and hidden hand.

Like Esther, Jesus is our Protector. Peter says to the church in his letter that Satan is a roaring lion who is seeking to devour the followers of Jesus. It is true that Satan works through the forces of this world to physically persecute the church just as Haman sought to physically kill the Jews. But it is also true that Satan uses more subtle methods to devour the church. He uses the jaws of grief, anxiety, doubt, sin, and division to devour those that he can.

Jesus lived, died, rose, and ascended into heaven to protect his church. Satan continues to assail and assault us. He is the Father of Lies who tries to convince us of our worthlessness. We aren’t good enough. We sin too much. We aren’t worth the glory of God. Of course, all of this would be true were it not for Jesus.

The truth is that without Jesus Christ, we aren’t worth the glory of God. We aren’t good enough. On our own, our worth does not measure up to the requirements of the Kingdom of God. But if we have placed our faith in Jesus, we are not without Jesus because we have been united to Jesus. When we are united to Jesus we are protected by Jesus.

On those days where you feel the weight of falling short, Jesus protects you for a time such as this. On those days when your grief is overwhelming you, Jesus protects you for a time such as this. On those days when you faltered in your addiction again, Jesus protects you for a time such as this. On those days when you are depressed, anxious, doubting, hurting…Jesus protects you for a time such as this.

The fact of the matter is that the forces of evil and the principalities of this world want to hang you on a 75-foot-high cross just like Haman wanted to do to Mordecai. The forces of this world want you to live in a state of a crushed heart and spirit. But Jesus lived, died, rose, ascended, and is reigning for such a time as this. He is our Protector.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from Philippians 1:6. Paul reminds the church, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Paul also reminds the church in many other places that they will suffer, and their faith will be assailed, assaulted, and even weakened. But the same Jesus who began a good work in us will see that work through to completion until he returns. That means he will protect us until he returns. He will preserve us until he returns.

I love this verse because it reminds me that Jesus isn’t handing off the work he started for someone else to finish. The same Jesus who finished and accomplished redemption on the Cross and in the empty tomb is going to finish His work in me. That makes the redemptive plan of God in Christ very personal.

I am confident in my Protector even on my worse days. We live in troubled times and worrisome days. But you are not alone in those days. Christ defeated your sin and death for at a time such as this.

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