Sermon Audio & Review
Pastor Kent Hobi
- Category: Sunday Evening Series
- September 10, 2017
God’s rich providential work is the appropriate building block for your faith in the church age.
Is this world spinning out of control? The book of Esther (along with Daniel, Nehemiah, and the story of Joseph) foreshadows the church age. They all take place when God’s people live in minority status in civilizations that are hostile to God’s authority. The author of Esther masterfully demonstrates that God’s providential work is up to the task of keeping his promises. Miracles are not the norm currently. They were at times and will be again in God’s economy. For now, however, we rest upon God’s rich providential care. God’s powerful operation of providence working in and through human agency and natural law to bring about His good pleasure is nothing short of breathtaking in the book of Esther.
As such, God’s rich providential work is the appropriate building block for our faith in the church age. As God had unilaterally promised to care for the nation of Israel to make her great (Abrahamic Covenant), so too has Jesus unilaterally promised to build the church (Matthew 16:18). These unilateral promises of God were both birthed in great miracles and sustained by rich providential power. As Mordecai encouraged Esther to courageously obey, he knew that if she did not, help would simply come from another source. So too must we courageously obey! If not us, someone will, and Jesus will through their courageous obedience continue to build his church (Revelation 2-3).
In these first two chapters of Esther, we get a glimpse at how comprehensive God’s rich providential work truly is. Even in times when God’s people are in a poor spiritual condition, God providentially works in and through history, politics, and even individual upbringing to faithfully fulfill his promises.
God works providentially in history to powerfully keep his promises (Esther 1:1-8).
This was a high time for the Nation of Persia historically. Her empire was vast! God providentially allowed the Persian empire to spread from India to Ethiopia. God providentially allowed the setup of an efficient way for communication to move throughout the empire. The foreign ruled countries were administratively divided into 127 provinces. God providentially allowed Ahasuerus to display in historic fashion the riches and glory of his royal court. The text probably describes a public exhibition that lasted 180 days, and all could have been invited to see this throughout the time. This also could have been the time of planning for the military campaign against Greece. A feast was likely held at the beginning of the 180-day period and another as mentioned at the end.
God providentially worked through the normal historic behavior of parties in secular nations. Drinking according to the desires of each person. This fulfills the prophecy of Proverbs 31:1-9. The application for King Lemuel is the same for present-day believers. (See Romans 13:11-14.)
The king of Persia is mentioned 190 times in 167 verses, but God is not mentioned once. This book labors hard at not mentioning the name of God to help us see that God is always at work providentially even though it appears He is not at work explicitly. God is the Lord of History, but he has made humans responsible for their decisions and actions. The Bible does not teach fatalism; rather, history is a dialogue between God and humans. God is in control, and history moves toward a goal that God has marked. God takes into account human decisions, weaving them into the very fabric of history. When we are most tempted to think that God has disregarded us, we can be sure that He still is at work (Isaiah 40:27).
God works providentially in politics to powerfully keep his promises (Esther 1:9-2:4).
Tonight, if you are filled with anxious concern over America, know that political intrigue and wrangling is nothing new for God’s providential power. The complexities we see in the 24-hour news cycle is akin to what we find going on in Esther. Be assured that God’s powerful providence has the matter firmly in hand. Every piece of political intrigue and deception, as well as appropriate and good action, is being used by God to further His purposes.
God’s rich providential work is the appropriate building block for your faith because He powerfully works in and through the normal (even sinful) events of nations, politics, and at the other end of the spectrum your own upbringing.
God works providentially in upbringing to powerfully keep his promises (Esther 2:5-18).
Not only is God interested in the concern of the whole nation, but He guides and upholds each individual. (See Proverbs 20:24 and Psalm 73:23.) Even in the morass of dysfunctionality, God is still at work individually and personally. Esther gives us hope to know that even in spiritually bad times, God has not ceased to work. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 enables us to at least grasp a portion of God’s providential purpose.
What is so remarkable is that these events have transpired simply in preparation for the challenge to God’s promise that was looming. God is constantly in the business of preparation. He does not merely wait for the challenge to come to His promise; He is way ahead of it!
Believer, please know that God is richly preparing your life for the fulfillment of His promise. Every event, whether trial or blessing, is not an end in itself. As a part of His church, He is constantly preparing, building, and strengthening you to make you ready for your ultimate task of serving Him as a future ruler in the millennium. You can respond in concert with God’s rich providential working when you courageously obey!
Unbeliever, God’s work to prepare for you is nothing short of stunning. His own son Jesus Christ has come in human flesh and lived a perfect life so that He could die for you! He was buried and rose again bodily from the dead. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him. He will forgive you of your sin if you simply turn from your sin and put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone.