Monday, February 20, 2006

Esther - shining star? (2)

In the last post I tried to explore some of how Esther works as a book. I said that it points us to Jesus' deliverance of us as God saves his people. I then posed several questions - some of which were wrong, and some of which I'm still searching for answers too. Thanks to Andy for his rebuke for my idiocy - been missing that.

Some practical implications of Esther?

1. God's deliverance of us in Christ
Against all apparent odd's God saves his people in Esther. They're strangers in a foreign land. Not strangers because they choose to move but because God exiled them. They're under God's judgement for their previous sins. And they're under the rule of a great human ruler who rules from Ethiopia to India. When an old enemy manages to pass a law to eliminate God's people from existence it looks like its the end of the story - but it's not. God's salvation plan is unfolding irrevocably whatever public opinion might say. The church is not dying, nor a generation away from exstinction... God is saving his people.

2. God is sovereign
We cannot speak of our saviour without speaking his rule. Some want to speak of God not being utterly sovereign, but if we surrender our convictions of God's sovereignty then we surrender salvation. If God is not sovereign, he cannot save. This world is not man's world - it is God's world. God made it, owns it and rules it. And no man is going to thwart God's purposes. If God wants to save then no human law is going to stop him. And God does want to save his people. Even when his name is explicitly absent, as in a book like Esther, he is not out of the picture. In a godless society God remains sovereign. In a society where Christian Union's have been banned from gathering, God remains sovereign. Sovereign in every part of life - even over individual conversations and exchanges between people. He is not just macro-managing the universe.... his sovereign rule is concerned for all of life in all places. The Saviour is the Sovereign Lord.

3. I am not sovereign
Not only is God sovereign but I am not. This should be another obvious implication. But I easily forget this. I presume that I rule when it comes to me & God, or me and my life. But thats drivel - God is sovereign. That makes my life his. When I face the decisions later today to stand for Christ, or not - I have no right to stand instead for me. For that matter - I have no rights. I stand accountable to the ruler of the Universe. My sinful heart imagines that I am sovereign, this is a deception. I like to hear that voice. Lord, teach me to tremble at your word. Let your word be the only light to my path.

4. God saves his people
God's purpose is not just to save individuals but to save his people. In Esther God's people are scattered over the Middle East and their existence is becoming illegal. But God is gathering his people to himself. And they belong to one another. I was very encouraged last night to see 80 students gather for the mission launch evening at Reading, and even seeing in that number one person who became a Christian less than two weeks ago - now gathered with God's people in training for proclaiming him on campus. God is at work gathering his people to himself.... a great multitude, not just from Ethiopia to India,.... but from north, south, east and west his saving grace reaches out to save his people.

4 comments:

  1. Great thoughts Dave - I've been keen to read the Festal Garments book for a while. I linked to this and posted a few additional ideas
    http://unveiledface.blogspot.com/2006/02/thoughts-on-esther.html

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  2. mate

    didn't mean it as a rebuke, just part of the discussion. But fair enough ;o)

    I'm missing the cut and thrust, exhortation and encouragements of home: but I take my own rebuke seriously - I'm here, you're there and that's at God's choice.

    Thank goodness he chose to give us the internet and blogs :o) for His Glory

    (PS - thanks for listing me in your must reads - I'm flattered and touched)

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  3. Much as I like comments that affirm its more helpful when someone stops me in my tracks and questions me.

    Problem with blogging is I believe my own hype... good thing is that it makes people sharpen me up, that writing helps me think... and above all hopefully that God gets glory.

    Mate, your blog is quality! A well deserved must-read.

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  4. Also

    Ester comes in the exile. Neihimiah is chronologicaly after. Infact the king in Nehimiah is the Arterxerses, who suceedes Xerxes. Therefore Esters infulence over the predecessor of the king in Neihimiah must have paved the way for the king to be favorably disposed to Neihimiahs request to go and rebiuld Jersalem.
    It would be intresting to see wheter Ester was infact related to the King in Neihimaih, (step mother, mother???)
    Anyway Ester seemes to pave the way to allow the rulers of the empire to be favorably disposed to the Jews and allow them to return and rebiuld.

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