Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Esther Week 2 - How to lose a girl in 187 days - part 1


Esther 1:1-22
Xerxes is three years into his reign and gives a feast and not just any feast a feast that lasts for 180 days. Governors, officials, servants, two armies, nobles are all in attendance with the sole purpose of the feast to showcase the glory, splendor, pomp and riches of Xerxes’ glory.

At the end of the 180 day feast Xerxes throws another feast, a 7 day party to celebrate how great he is and to celebrate the fact that they just celebrated him for 180 days. The 7 day feast is filled with drinking and lots of it, Esther 1:8, and these guys party like it is 1999 B.C. Finally at the of the 187 days, after all the posturing and parading the king, Esther 1:10, merry with wine decides there is still something to prove, someone to impress and he calls upon his eunuchs to summons Queen Vashti to the feast so that he can show her off. Vashti is Xerxes’ queen, she’s hot, and he wants the guys to be impressed.
The queen wisely refuses and puts the king in a very awkward situation. For 187 days Xerxes has been showing the known world his possessions and his great glory and power and the refusal of his wife has him scrambling to save face. The king seeks the counsel of his advisors and they give him advice as follows: 1. banish the queen from your presence forever and 2. Make a law stating that women should obey their husbands (seems that Xerxes wasn’t the only man in the kingdom trying to get his wife to do what he wanted).

Now keep in mind that Xerxes is not just a king, but king of the most powerful empire in the world at this time. He rules most of the known world, 127 provinces, that stretches from Indian to Ethiopia, about 2400 miles. Xerxes was successful in battle, conquered lands, had thousands under his command, nobles and officials reported to him and he had servants that answered his call day and night. Yet in spite of his great power, many possessions, past successes, and present position King Xerxes’ home is destroyed, his marriage falls apart and while he might be a great leader of the Persian empire when it comes to leading his family he fails miserably and in 187 days he loses his girl.

How?

Many men struggle with similar situations today. You are successful, make great money, have a great career, are well respected by your peers, yet your home life is a wreck, your marriage is filled with tension, anger, and lack of intimacy.

Your wife may still be with you in body but has already checked out emotionally and mentally.

Here are 9 pitfalls to avoid keeping from losing your girl, we will cover 2 today.

#1. Xerxes was self-centered Esther 1:3-4

Notice that everything is about Xerxes, his glory, his wealth, his possessions, there is no mention of any supporting cast and no mention of his wife.
Today this might look like, my hobbies, my friends, my job, my money, my vacation, my time, my bank account, me, me, me.

Did you know that when you get married there is no more “me”?

Ephesians 5:31-32 states that God’s original plan for marriage was for one man and one woman to come together to form one, new life….two shall become one!

Ephesians 5:31 the scripture says that marriage is a picture of our salvation. The good news that we proclaim about Jesus, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, is that Jesus dies for our sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day. The very moment someone calls on the name of Jesus to save them, Romans 10:13, Jesus saves them from their sins. God forgives the sinner and imputes the sin onto Christ and takes the righteousness of Christ and imputes it onto the sinner. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that those saved by Christ are new creations, that the old no longer exists and Galatians 2:20 says that the old was executed with Jesus! Dead! Alive no more.

Scripture, Ephesians 5:31-31, says that marriage is a picture of this reality. Two people, individuals with individual desires, goals, dreams, wishes, lives – come together and they become one new person instead of just two people living together.

Just as in Christ we are new creations in marriage our old lives of me, me, me die and we become one new person living a new life together with dreams together, goals together, living as one.

Marriage isn’t about me…it is about us.

Question? Have you been crucified with Christ? Have you received the gospel? Doe you marriage reflect salvation or does it reflect a life revolving around you? What areas of your old life do you need to crucify today?

#2 Xerxes was a control freak, Esther 1:5-6

Not only was Xerxes self-centered but he was a control freak who micromanaged his home…just look at the d├ęcor! Gold and silver couches? Notice there is no mention of potpourri, no throw pillows, no sea shells on the back of the toilet, just cold hard furniture. Men are notorious for seeing something they like and then buying everything the same. That is why when you open a man’s closet you see two pairs of jeans and seven hundred t-shirts…all the same style and color.

Have you even visited a single guy who has a job and his own house? Black leather furniture everywhere. Black sofa, black matching chairs, even black toilet seat covers. Men generally and especially single men do not have good taste. That is why in Genesis 2:18 God said…”It is not good for the man to be alone..” The garden was a place of beauty and He knew that if he left the man alone too long that man would jack it up.

Xerxes micromanaged his home, there was no sign of a woman’s touch anywhere. Esther 1:7 says that Xerxes didn’t even have matching cups! He gave his guys the Star Wars goblet to drink from, the NASCAR goblet to drink from, the goblet he stole from Pizza Hut.

Please let your wife take over! Please let her put her feminine touch on things.

“But every time I do that we end up painting the living room 212 times!”

That’s OK. Relinquish control of the decorating. Most women flourish when they can freely decorate their homes and in time you will see what was once a cold castle filled with black leather sofas become a warm, inviting home.

Ask yourself…”Why do I have or feel the need to micromanage everything”?

Our marriages should never be about us, us controlling everything. Being a self-centered, controlling jerk will kill our marriages.

Dying to self, being crucified with Christ, loving our wives with the love of Jesus is what we are called and commanded to do.

And we do this for God’s glory and our benefit.

Will you repent of your self-centeredness?
Will you give up trying to control every minute detail in your home?

Next week we will look at the other 7 pitfalls to avoid.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Introduction - Book of Esther


Esther 1:1-3


This is how the book of Esther begins. Esther is the seventeenth book of the Bible, sandwiched between Nehemiah and Job. Esther is classified in the historical writings and is a relatively short book, only ten chapters, yet it is a powerful and practical book and contains one of the greatest plot lines in all the Bible, dare I say all of literature?

This book of the Bible is a fascinating, historical, account of Esther and her rags to riches tale. Esther is sort of the Princess Diana of her day if you will. She is raised by her uncle, Moredecai, and chosen to be queen. During the course of the book an evil sinister plot is uncovered…it appears that the #2 man in charge of the kingdom wants to kill Esther’s uncle and not only that but to destroy all of God’s people and in a bold move Esther risks her life in an attempt to rescue them. Hollywood only wishes it could right stories this good.

The book of Esther involves a kingdom – the Persian Empire from Ethiopia to India – Esther 1:1:1, roughly 2400 miles, made up of 127 provinces. Esther involves a king, Xerxes, the same Xerxes very loosely portrayed in the film 300 where the Spartans battle the Persians at Thermopile.

Problems with Esther?

Some scholars, and I use the term loosely, question the book of Esther…is it scripture?...is it historical?...did it really happen or is it just a good story made up to explain a common Jewish festival, Purim?

Why do some have problems with the book of Esther? Here are a couple of reasons they point to:

  1. Author unknown – the author could be Esther’s uncle Mordecai, he certainly knew the story very well, but the fact of the matter is that we just don’t know.
  2. No mention of God – the book of Esther never mentions God, the law, the temple, and so many question if such a book should be in the Bible.

If there are questions or concerns over the book of Esther why are we going to study it?

  1. Esther is scripture. As early as 250 B.C. we have complete copies of the Old Testament. It is important to know that our Bible was not put together by councils or committees. The Bible and the sixty-six books contained between Genesis and Revelation rose to the top among many many historical accounts, letters, other songs, other proverbs as special writings agreed upon independently by various people over time not hand selected by men for one reason and one reason only….the are the words of God not man.
  2. 2 Timothy 3:16 because Esther is scripture and “all scripture is God breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”
  3. We can see God’s power and sovereignty all through the book.

Very often you and I ask questions like…where is God today? In the world with so much tragedy like Haiti or Chile where is God? If there is a God how could he stand by and let this happen? Where is God in government today or in my family with so many lost people or in my marriage when we are hurting so badly? Some of you in reading this are thinking, “I just don’t see God or feel God or sense His presence!”

Yet God is active and present. He is not hiding but sometimes He is hidden. Isn’t it ironic that Esther in Hebrew means hidden?

  1. Without Esther there is no Jesus.

Genesis 3 sin enters into the picture as our first parents disobeyed God and very shortly after Genesis 3:15 God does something wonderful and promises a savior, a deliverer, a redeemer…Jesus! Genesis 12 we see the focus narrow down to one man, Abraham and God promises to bless the nations through Abraham and over and over again and again God enters into one covenant after another with man promising a deliverer.

The book of Esther tells of a plot to destroy God’s people which would include the line of David and without Esther, if the Jewish people are destroyed the line of David is destroyed.

Yet God is faithful.

Psalm 115:3 says “Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases.”

God can’t be touched, nothing can frustrate His plans, God does all that He pleases and through Esther we see God’s mighty hand moving, always faithful, keeping all of His promises as 500 years or so later we see the King of King and Lord of Lords lay aside His heavenly glory, condescending to us becoming one of us being born among us in Bethlehem, in a manger, Immanuel God with us, Jesus, Son of God, savior of man!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Esther - Week 2 - How to lose a girl in 187 days


Last week we kicked off our new series on Esther by walking through some of the background behind the book, the purpose of the book, problems some people have with the book, and why we as God's people will study the book.

This week we will dig right into the scriptures, walk through the original, historical context of the text and then see how we can apply the scriptures to our lives.

See you Sunday!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Esther - This Sunday


This Sunday we begin our series on Esther.
Please make plans to join us for breakfast as we begin with an introduction of this great book of our Bible.
See you Sunday.