"GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL RULE."
Intro: The book of Esther is devoted to the story of how God preserved the nation of Israel from obliteration. Though the word God, or the name of God is not mentioned in the book, we see His hand working behind the scenes. It is a book of God's overruling providence.
I. LOOKING BACK OVER THE STORY, WE SEE GOD WORKING BEHIND THE SCENE LONG BEFORE HIS PURPOSE IS REVEALED.
A. The pagan king Ahasuerus decided to show off his wealth and splendor.
1. The notable men of the realm are invited to the party.
2. This is sort of a party to end all parties, it has lasted for 180 days.
3. Wine is flowing freely, and when the king is quite drunk, he ordered his wife queen Vashti to come to the party that he might show off her beauty.
4. It seems to be one of those cases where he is wanting all of the men to be envious, not only of his great wealth, but of his beautiful wife.
B. His wife, queen Vashti refuses to obey his command to come to the party.
1. Suddenly the party is thrown into disarray; the queen refuses to obey her husband the king.
2. A hasty counsel is called.
3. The men are deeply concerned about the future.
4. This is the first step in the women's liberation movement.
5. For the sake of all of the men in the kingdom, it is decided that drastic steps must be taken to insure the domestic tranquility.
6. Vashti must be deposed as queen.
C. Enter Esther on the scene.
1. God created her physically beautiful.
a. This can be a blessing and a curse.
b. It must be a blessing to have people admire your physical beauty.
c. But this usually creates great jealousy from other women.
d. Men may spoil and flatter you, but other women are looking closely for your flaws.
e. I told my daughters who are very beautiful, that this was a blessing to be so beautiful, but it would create problems for them for other girls would be jealous, and say cutting and mean things about them.
f. A beautiful woman often has no opportunity to develop true character, for they are so pampered that they become extremely spoiled, and they often are without personality and character.
2. It is sad, but it seems that a certain depth of character cannot be developed apart from suffering.
D. To save Esther from this fate, God brought tragedy into her life very early.
1. Both of her parents had died when she was just a child.
a. No information is given to us as to how they died, but we know that her cousin had to take her in and raise her.
b. She no doubt challenged God as to why he would bring such sorrow into her life.
c. This was God's refining process to create an inner beauty that would match her outer beauty.
d. A calamity such as this can make a person a bitter person or a better person. Look at how close bitter is from better. It is just an I. If you get "I" inserted, it makes you bitter.
2. She was a Jewess. The Jews have always suffered from anti-Semitism. From that day to the present, with many people who are not Christian, there is a hatred and prejudice against the Jews.
a. God had warned them that if they turned from serving Him, that they would be taken captive to other lands and
You shall become a curse, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations wherever the LORD would send them.
b. Prejudice is a difficult hurdle to overcome.
c. She had enough beauty to make her hard. Yet enough hardness to keep her soft.
E. The decision was made to select another queen from the most beautiful women in the land.
1. There was to be sort of a beauty contest, the most beautiful women in the kingdom were to be prepared to come before the king, and whichever one he chose would become the next queen.
2. Because of her beauty, Esther was brought into the competition.
F. According to diving providence, Esther was chosen to be queen in the place of Vashti.
G. Next event in the divine sequence was her cousin who stayed near the gate of the palace to keep close to her, heard two of the king's servants conspiring to kill the king. He reported it to Esther, who in turn reported it to her husband in the name of her cousin. When investigation was made, and found to be true, the two men were excuted.
II. THE RELEVANCE OF ALL THESE THINGS IS NOT YET KNOWN, AND WILL NOT BE KNOWN FOR A WHILE, BUT THE HAND OF GOD IS IN EACH OF THESE EVENTS.
A. When Peter challenged the Lord about washing his feet, Jesus said to Him, you do not understand what I am doing now, but you will understand later.
1. How true this is of so many things that happen in our lives. At the time we do not understand, but later, as we look back they become very clear.
2. As Chuck Girard used to sing, "All things will be shown some day, but you can't know all things now."
3. God is working out in our lives His eternal plan. We may not understand the plan of God today, it may be 20 or 30 years before we understand.
4. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "God is working in you to prepare you for work that He has ordained for you to accomplish for Him."
B. So we walk by faith and not by sight.
1. What I must believe now is that all things are working together for good, because we know God and have been called according to His purpose.
III. HOW GOD WORKED IN OUR OWN LIVES MANY YEARS BEFORE HE EVER REVEALED CLEARLY HIS PURPOSE.
A. Back in 1944, I went to a youth camp at Camp Radford. There I met a wonderful young Christian named Glen York.
B. I had no further contact until 1950 when I was pastoring a church in Tucson, Arizona, and it so happened that he got stationed in Tucson when he was in the air force, and started attending our church, and we became very close friends. He married a lovely girl named Pauline while stationed in Tucson.
C. In 1953, we moved to Corona, California, where Mrs. Ezell, a dear saint of God who was the mother of John Ezell, and a real prayer warrior began to attend the church. Through her we met John and his wife Velma, however they never attended our church in Corona.
D. In 1956, I was pastoring in Huntington Beach, California, and we met up with Glen once again, as he had moved after being discharged from the Air Force, with his wife to Costa Mesa, and they began to attend our church there.
E. Glen's older brother and family also began attending, and I became close friends with his brother Floyd also.
F. In 1960, we moved to Los Serranos where I pastored the community church and John Ezell and a couple other families began to drive over from Corona to attend and became an important part of the fellowship there.
G. We moved from there to Costa Mesa, where we pastored to be near my mother because of her failing health. Here we pastored for two years, but John Ezell and the other couples asked me to start a home Bible study in John's home, and we formed a corporation known as Corona Christian Center. The Bible study grew and upon the death of my mother, they asked me to come to Corona and start a church.
H. We started to meet as a church in Corona in 1964, in the American Legion Hall. This was a fulfillment of a dream to serve the Lord in a non-denominational church. For 17 years I had been serving in a denominational church. It was a good denomination, but I just did not fit their mold.
I. While starting a new church in Corona, I needed to work to supply the needs of the family, so I started to work in Idyllwild building a motel with Floyd York.
J. Floyd told me of the new, little church in Costa Mesa that he was attending and how the pastor was resigning to go to work for Farmer John's, and suggested that I try out for it.
K. Basically that is how I came to pastor Calvary Chapel.