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March 08, 2020

God Remembers

"Things are seldom what they seem." Why do you think this is a common phase? Listen or read to find out.

Mike Gerhardt, 03-08-20, Esther Series, Esther 6:1-14, (2:19-23), God Remembers. Introduction: Things are seldom what they seem. Parents can attest to this. I don’t remember which son only that one time we were surprised by a visitor and sat down to share some conversation and laughter when all of a sudden, I got a funny feeling that one of our toddlers was too quiet. If you’re thinking no toddler can be too quiet; you’re probably not a parent of a toddler. I went to look for him and he had gotten into his Janet’s purse, especially her makeup, trying out her mascara, lipstick and applying it just the way he saw his mom do it. Things are seldom what they seem. Related to this axiom is when things go wrong, it may seem like they cannot possibly get any worse, but they often do. I am sure you’ve been there. This certainly was true for Mordecai at a pivotal point in our story. Mordecai believes God will work through Esther to save their people from the coming destruction in eleven months, so he is not fearful of Haman who walks by and wants him dead. Haman is so angry; Zeresh his wife tells him to kill Mordecai and not wait the 11 months. Four principles. First: when all seems lost, it isn’t. Mordecai could have despaired at the situation in Persia. King Xerxes was a Gentile and could care less about the Jews. He was easily persuaded by Haman. Xerxes had made bad decisions before. Mordecai was overlooked in saving the king’s life. He could be upset since his coworker Haman was promoted and was demanding undue honor. Haman has become his enemy and has devised a plan to exterminate all the Jews. Mordecai’s orphaned cousin Esther could die if the King takes Haman’s advice when she reveals that she too is a Jew. Even while this is on Mordecai’s mind, gallows are being built for his execution. YET HE is trusting God even when all seems lost. Second: When no one seems to notice, they do (or better: HE does). Leaders often have a difficult time sleeping. Ecclesiastes 5:12 The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. The night before Haman is going to kill Mordecai, the king can’t sleep (I wonder if the carpenters building the gallows are keeping the king awake). The Hebrew emphasizes: during THAT night. If it was the next night Mordecai would be dead. God is amazing. While all of Susa slept, the king was awake. Have you ever had insomnia? I have fought many sleepless nights. What do you usually do when you can’t sleep? I read my Bible. I am not advocating reading the scriptures to fall asleep but if you like to read to fall asleep, having the scriptures on your mind when you enter dreamland is the best. Another of Mordecai's hurts is being forgotten for a good deed. Has it happened to you? You are working hard, doing your best and you get passed up for the promotion to someone who does not deserve it or has received it under deceptive means. Maybe it is not work-related, but in your family or among your friends. People, in general, don’t usually notice your good deeds or they look over your random acts of kindness. I know one person who sees every act of service you do. He is the God who loves you and who will not forget. Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. I love that, God is not unjust; he will not forget your work. When no one else notices, God notices and when no one else remembers God remembers, even our tears. Psalm 56:8 speaking to God, David writes: Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll-are they not in your record? King James translates the Hebrew: Put Thou my tears in Thy bottle. Even when things don’t go right, God sees your tears and remembers the love that you have shown. There will come a day when you will be rewarded. You will receive a blessing because you have been faithful in your service and loving to others. It may not come to you on this earth, but it will come someday. Third: When everything seems great, it’s not. It sounds like one of Murphy’s Law. Anytime things seem to be going great, you better look around the corner. Haman’s star was rising. He is second in the Kingdom. He gets everything he wants. He drinks wine with the King. He is the only person besides the King invited to Esther’s banquet. Now he is building gallows to kill the one person who takes away his joy. Tomorrow all will be right, Haman thinks. Talk about timing: verse 5 the king’s mind is on Mordecai and he asks who is in the court? Now Haman had just entered the outer court to speak to the king about killing Mordecai. Can you appreciate the IRONY? When the king asks his opinion, who does Haman think of? Himself of course. This is the guy who has a hundred pictures of all the places he has been, a wallet full of all his perfect children, hours of stories about how great he is and how much he deserves being second in command or maybe even King. Haman is arriving early to hang Mordecai. He is on an evil mission. The King calls for him to ask how to honor someone in whom the king delights. Haman tells him and then comes one of the best lines of the story. Read verses 6:10 - 14. I can imagine Haman thinking: he didn’t just say what I thought he said. This is the worst thing for Haman to do. Mordecai is Haman’s thorn in the flesh. He wants Mordecai dead. Now he must walk through Susa crying out to the crowd in honor of Mordecai. What goes around comes around. Justice will be done. Mordecai seems quiet as all of this is taking place. There is no recorded taunting, mocking, or ridiculing Haman. Mordecai takes it all in, Afterward, Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. It does not say afterward Mordecai demanded a raise, a promotion a gold watch, a bonus check… He demanded nothing and went back to work. Not only has Esther shown us grace and character but also Mordecai, he showed integrity, patience, and mercy. Remind yourself who you are in Christ, you are someone worth dying for, you are loved by God the Father, you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have an important purpose in life because Jesus saved you. Remember also where you came from. You were lost in your sin and headed for hell before Jesus saved you. If we boast we boast in Him alone for what He has made us. AMEN? Fourth: When nothing seems just, it will be. Everything within us wants justice. If someone nearly runs us off the road doing 90, we are hoping for a state trooper to be around the next bend, obviously for the speeder, not us. The last time Haman went home he was bragging; now he is grieving. His wife had the answer last time: Kill Mordecai. This time his lovely wife is doom and gloom: Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin! How encouraging for a wife to say to her husband. Then the eunuch arrives and takes him to the banquet. I wonder what Haman is thinking? Let review with two more thoughts. When God seems absent, He’s present. I have told you that God is not mentioned in the book of Esther but He is there. He is the God who is there. And the last thought for today: timing is everything, especially when its God’s timing. Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. God is being patient with you. But remember time does eventually run out. Make it right today.