Jesus told us to be perfect to help frustrate our plans of trying to be good enough on our own. He wants us to come to the place where we realize, “I’m not perfect and I can’t be perfect,” and then we would realize that Jesus is our perfection and that we would receive grace from Him. As we have seen in the book of Esther, Mordecai and Esther are not perfect. However, starting in chapter four, it is like a hinge, and the whole story swings on it, and they start making progress. Until this point in the story, Mordecai and Esther have been anything but good Jews. They have been living far from Jerusalem, the place of worship that represents the presence of God. There has been no mention of prayer, Scripture, worship, God, or anything faith related. Mordecai had actually reared Esther with the instructions to not “make known her people or her kindred” (Esther 2:10).
Their goal had been to blend in and move along. The gospel is the story of redemption … of growth by grace. The question for us is, are we making progress and in which direction are we going? Esther and Mordecai had not made progress in quite a while. But in chapter four we see them start growing and progressing. There is hope and encouragement for those who have not grown spiritually in a while. You can start today! Mordecai makes progress (Esther 4:1-3).
At the close of chapter three we learn that the decree has been made for Mordecai and all of the Jews to be killed. As chapter four opens, we find Mordecai at the gate to the king’s palace dressed in sackcloth and ashes. He is mourning. He is weeping and wailing. He is no longer silent about being one of God’s people. He is publicly identifying himself as a Jew. He moves from being passive to active. Esther has an opportunity to make progress (Esther 4:4). Esther is in the palace and is unaware of all that has transpired. When she learns of the decree to have her cousin and all of the Jews killed, she becomes concerned. Mordecai sends her a simple message: “Help!” He warns her that she is not exempt from this death edict just because she is in the palace. If she does not help them, then they will all die, including her. Esther’s response to Mordecai is, “I want to help, but I’m scared. This is dangerous.” This is what faith is … action in the face of opposition. Esther begins to make progress. She starts demonstrating faith in the Lord. You cannot meet God and not change. Like Esther and Mordecai, you may have a season of rebellion, but ultimately, God’s people make progress. The only characters in the book who do not make progress are Haman and Xerxes. They are the same at the end as they are in the beginning. That is how it is with people who do not know God. They do not change. There are two principles about faith to draw from Esther chapter 4. First, faith is a calculated risk. Faith is active not passive. Faith is trust in God. So, calculate the risk and see that if God created everything out of nothing, then He is capable of handling all of the details of your life. Second, faith develops character. Character is directly tied to faith in God.
Our actions follow our beliefs. Our character determines our actions. Our actions reveal our character. Each day is a defining moment. We will act either in obedience to God’s leading and make progress, or we will act in disobedience to God’s leading and stay stuck. Just a quick reminder that next week, March 4-5 is the 15th annual men’s conference at Centennial Baptist. We would love to have you and the men from your church or group join us. You can find information and tickets online at http://centennial-baptist-church.twenty28cms.co/men-s-conference-2015 or by calling the church office at 706-557-2120. It is never too late to get signed up.