Kingdoms collide in Esther 2. What happens when God’s kingdom and the world’s kingdom clash? Who wins in the hearts of God’s people? Not every child of God obeys fully, not every child of God is faithful; some compromise, some appear to sell out completely. Esther is the product of her culture. Beloved, we have much in common with Esther for we too are a product of our pluralistic, sexualized culture. While living between two worlds, I see four temptations for the Lord’s people:
To hide your spiritual identity (Esther 2:5-7)
Mordecai and Esther are not their real names. Esther’s name is Hadassah. Mordecai is not a Jewish name. At home he was known as Mordecai the Jew, at the palace he is simply known as Mordecai. Today’s Christians feel the same pressures: Am I a follower of Christ or just part of the crowd? Will I adopt biblical standards on sexuality or will I adopt the culture around me? Am I a Christian who serves in the workplace, or am I a business-person who happens to have religious commitments on Sundays?
When you begin to lose your primary identity as God’s child, that loss of identity unravels one spiritually.
To neglect rhythms of grace
By rhythms of grace, I mean the spiritual disciplines or habits that God expects His children to follow. In the book of Esther, there are no prophets, no priests, and no sacrifices. They do not observe the sabbath, the dietary restrictions of the Old Testament and they do not observe the civil components of the law. Esther does not adhere to the moral aspects of the law. In living between two worlds, we easily neglect the disciplines of grace that give us our Christian distinctiveness. When you begin to lose your spiritual identity, you begin to compromise your spiritual values.
To compromise your spiritual values (Esther 2:12-18)
Esther portrays a beautiful woman who hides her ethnic identity. She welcomes everything that Persian pop culture pushes. She embraces the 12 month long beauty treatments in preparation for her night with the king. While one of God’s chosen people, Esther clearly embraces the values of the Persian kingdom more than God’s kingdom.
To believe your life is of no use to God
Esther will not be the last to live a morally compromised, spiritually estranged life. Peter compromises and betrays his allegiance to Jesus. As Jesus goes to the cross, he did so for moral compromisers and those spiritually afar off. This is good news for us to hear today. How many times, like Esther have we been willing to compromise because we were unwilling to suffer the consequences for doing what was right? The wonderful news of the gospel is that God is able to gather up moral failures and incorporate them into his larger redemptive purposes.
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