Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Thinking about eternity will give us a lot more patience. Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: “I’ve been waiting forever.” No, you haven’t been waiting forever. It seems like forever. But when we get to forever, we will realize that however long we had to wait here on earth was just a blip on the screen.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It’s Thursday, June 26. We get so upset hearing about leaders who use political power to line their own pockets. Instead of serving the public, they’re serving themselves. When we hear stories like that, we need to check our own hearts. Are we more interested in serving or in being served? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss in a series Esther: God’s Woman at God’s Time.

Nancy: Well, hasn’t this been a wonderful journey together through the book of Esther? I’ve been so blessed, so challenged by her life. One of the great things about teaching the Word of God is I get to spend a lot of time studying it. It’s been such a challenge to my own life. I’ve seen myself in some ways I didn’t like. But I’ve also seen God in ways that were fresh and refreshing and encouraging to me. I hope this has been a really encouraging and challenging study for you.

We’re picking up today in chapter 9, verse 23. The Jews have been victorious over their enemies. The tables have been turned. They’ve gained mastery over those who had planned to have mastery over them. They have now celebrated the victory and Mordecai has established a Jewish memorial day and said that every year on this same day you should celebrate God’s deliverance from your enemies.

So the Jews accepted what they had started to do, and what Mordecai had written to them. For Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast Pur [that’s the Babylonian word for lots] to crush and to destroy them. But when it came before the king, he gave orders in writing that his evil plan that he had devised against the Jews should return on his own head, and that he [Haman] and his sons should be hanged on the gallows (verses 23-25).

So we have seen the final demise of Haman and in that I think we have a little picture of the final demise of Satan himself who is the one who inspired Haman’s insidious plot. We know from the earliest chapters of God’s Word that the day is coming when Satan will be crushed.

Verse 26: “Therefore they called these days Purim, after the term Pur.” Purim is the plural for the word Pur—the word that means lot—and it signifies that in naming this day, this celebration, this feast Purim; God controls the lot, that our lives are not governed by chance, but by the sovereign creator, the Lord of the universe, who is actively and always and, I might add, lovingly involved in the lives of His people.

Therefore, because of all that was written in this letter, and of what they had faced in this matter, and of what had happened to them, the Jews firmly obligated themselves and their offspring and all who joined them, that without fail they would keep these two days according to what was written and at the time appointed every year, that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, in every clan, province, and city, and that these days of Purim should never fall into disuse among the Jews, nor should the commemoration of these days cease among their descendants (verses 26-28).

Apparently God thought this was pretty important to have inspired this lengthy description of the celebration that followed their deliverance. And in fact, it continues in verse 29. We have a second proclamation. We’re not told why, but the first one was Mordecai’s proclamation that they should celebrate this day each year. Then Esther adds her vote to it.

Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces (verses 29-30).

It goes on to say all throughout the land the people were reminded every year you should celebrate this Purim, this holiday, this commemoration of God’s deliverance.

To this day the Jewish people do celebrate Purim. If you’ve heard about that, now you know the story behind Purim. It begins with a fast on the 13th day of the month according to the Jewish calendar. That fast is a reminder of Haman’s decree to obliterate the Jews. Then on that evening the Jews go to the synagogue where the book of Esther is read aloud—the whole story, the ten chapters.

Every time the name Haman is read, which I believe is 53 times in the book, the audience boos and hisses and shouts, “May his name be blotted out!” The children blow horns and they shake rattles. They’re trying to drown out his name. It’s a very dramatic celebration and reading of the account of Esther.

Then on the 14th day of the month, they go back to the synagogue. They read the book of Esther again. Then they go home after the celebration at the synagogue where they have a holiday meal, special foods. They exchange gifts and they send gifts and food to those who are poor and needy, much as we have it described in the book of Esther.

Now as we come to chapter 10, the last chapter, it’s just three verses. It's kind of a postscript to the story of Esther. You’ll notice that Esther’s name does not appear in this chapter. She has disappeared into the background. Her mission has been accomplished. She has fulfilled the purpose for which God brought her into the kingdom "for such a time as this."

She’s not seeking a place of prominence. She’s not seeking a place of position. She just wanted to be faithful to fulfill what God had called her to do. So let me read the verses and then just make a few comments.

King Ahasuerus imposed tax on the land and on the coastlands of the sea. And all the acts of his power and might, and the full account of the high honor of Mordecai, to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia? For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people (10:1-3).

So here we have the end of the story, the last word, the final chapter. And how different is this chapter from some of the previous ones. Remember when you’re living the early chapters of your life story that you don’t know the outcome but that God is controlling the outcome, so don’t despair. Don’t fret. Don’t worry. Don’t envy the wicked. Don’t despair. God has written the script. He is fulfilling His purposes.

Psalm 37—I mentioned it earlier in the series and I would encourage you when you’re discouraged go to Psalm 37. When it looks like the forces of evil are winning, go to Psalm 37, and it will tell you, “Wait on the Lord.”

You say, “I’m tired of waiting. I’ve been waiting forever.” No, you haven’t been waiting forever. It seems like forever. But when we get to forever, we will realize that however long we had to wait here on earth was just a blip on the screen, just a moment.

You say, “I can’t last in this marriage. I can’t last in this job. I can’t last in this situation. How are we going to survive?” You don’t have to know how you’re going to survive. All you have to know is that God is on His throne, that He is the ruler, that He is determining the outcome. All you have to do is wait on the Lord.

The Scripture says in Psalm 37 that those who do will inherit the land (see verse 9). The meek will inherit the earth (see Matthew 5:5). That’s what Jesus said in the beatitudes. That’s what we see happening with Mordecai. Mordecai who at one time had not been allowed to enter the king’s gate, clothed in sackcloth and ashes, now is clothed in royal robes sitting second in command over the entire Persian empire.

Mordecai was a nobody. In the opening scene he wasn’t even on the radar screen. Everything was king this, king that, Ahasuerus. He was the center of the story. Mordecai wasn’t even around. Now he’s been elevated to a position of great influence, not because he sought it. In fact, he made choices that could have resulted in his demise, in his destruction out of fear of the Lord. But because he waited on the Lord, because he feared God more than he feared man, because he lived his life based on convictions, he became great. He became exalted.

To the contrary, think how Haman used his power, his position to destroy life, to oppress others. Mordecai sought to live his life by conviction, sought the welfare of his people, lived a selfless life. As you read this, you think, “O Lord, would that we could have political leaders like this, men like Mordecai who fear the Lord more than they fear man, who live their lives based on conviction, who seek the welfare of the people.

Well, Mordecai demonstrates a different way. It’s a way of humility, a way of service, a way of laying down your life, a way of selflessness. You think you can’t get ahead. You can’t win that way today. But in God’s economy, it’s those who lay down their lives who ultimately are the winners.

You get the impression that Mordecai never aspired to be great in the eyes of men but because of his servant’s heart, God exalted him to a position from which he could serve the people even more effectively. That’s what we read in chapter 10 that he did. He sought the welfare of his people. He spoke peace to all his people. That’s the word shalom. He promoted unity—right relationships with God, with each other, and with outsiders.

Before you’re too hard on our political leaders,

  • What kind of leader are you?
  • What kind of servant are you?
  • How do you lead your children? Do you seek their welfare, or do you seek your own?
  • Do your words promote peace or discord? in your home, in your workplace, and in your church.
  • Don’t exalt yourself.
  • Don’t try to bring others down. God is the one who lifts up. God is the one who tears down.
  • Wait, wait, wait on the Lord.

Leslie: Maybe you always thought the book of Esther was mostly about the courage of a queen. Well, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing us that it’s about a lot more than just that. Esther teaches on practical issues like anger, pride, and selfishness.

That’s why you’ll learn so much by ordering a copy of our current series on CD or mp3. It’s called Esther: God’s Woman at God’s Time. The CD format allows us to include more content from Nancy than we’re able to fit on the air. You can order the in-depth teaching at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Nancy’s back with one final teaching segment in this rich study of Esther.

Nancy: What have we learned from the book of Esther? I want to touch on seven principles that have stood out to me through this study.

Number one, we’ve seen that we are in a battle. We are in a battle. We’ve seen that battle between Mordecai and Haman. We’ve seen that they just represent the battle that is going on between Satan and God. We’ve learned in the book of Esther how Satan has been behind all efforts to wipe out the line of Christ and how Satan has threatened the continuity of God’s redemptive purposes in history by threatening the existence of God’s chosen people.

Haman’s edict was inspired by Satan. It was part of this battle. He threatened the existence of God’s people and the appearance of the Messiah by threatening to destroy the Jewish race.

We’ve been reminded that real battle is not between flesh and blood but it’s a spiritual battle taking place in the heavenlies between two kingdoms—the kingdom of man and the kingdom of God—and actually even more than that. The warfare is between God and Satan.

As we’ve looked at this battle, we’ve seen that the world depends on secular weapons to achieve its purposes in the battle—worldly power, human laws. But we’ve seen that the kingdom of God wages war in a different way. We win the war with humility, with faith, with prayer and fasting, sackcloth and ashes, with reliance on God. We’ve seen that we’re in a battle.

Then remember two, we’ve seen that God has a sovereign plan. God has a plan. God is sovereign, and He has a sovereign plan—a plan for your life, a plan for your family, a plan for His people, and a plan for our world. It’s a plan that ends with Him being the ruler of all heaven and earth. He is. But it ends with people recognizing that God has a plan. Your life is a part of that plan, and your family is a part of that plan.

Then we learned thirdly that not only does God have a plan, but God’s plan will not fail. All through the Scripture you see that God has a sovereign plan and a sovereign purpose. He will fulfill His purposes.

Listen to these couple of verses. First from 2 Chronicles,chapter 20, verse 6: “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” Do you believe that? It’s true. Power and might are in His hand and no one can withstand Him.

Then Psalm 46, verse 10. You’re familiar with this verse. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Over and over again you see the promise in God’s Word that God’s sovereign plan will not fail. He will fulfill His purposes.

Number four, we’ve studied about the providence of God. The providence of God. It means that God is the creator and He is the one who sustains and orders and rules over all of His creation. He’s not a God who just flung universe into existence and then sat back on His rocking chair to see how things would go. He’s still watching over, controlling, managing the affairs of this universe.

He’s a God who preserves and provides and protects and directs all events in this universe down to the most minute details of our lives. So in the providence of God there are no insignificant details. There are no coincidences. Every atom, every event in this universe is controlled by the God who holds the king’s heart in His hand.

So what should that do for us? That’s something we can trust. That’s something we can depend on. That should be encouraging, knowing that in all things God is working for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. It’s a reminder that even when you cannot see God, even when it seems that nothing is happening, God is always behind the scenes, always at work fulfilling His purposes. We have a God of providence.

Number five, through faith and obedience you can be a part of God’s plan. That’s pretty amazing. We feel kind of, in the big scheme of things, like little nothings. And we are except that God says, “I have a plan and I have a purpose to use your life.” Through faith and obedience, we can be a part of God’s eternal redemptive plan.

He’s brought you into His kingdom for such a time as this. You may say, “I’m only 15.” God’s brought you into the kingdom now for such a time as this. You may not fulfill your whole life’s purpose while you’re 15, but God has a purpose for you while you’re 15 or 65 or anything in between—or older or younger. God has a purpose for you now.

You may have little children at home. You think "Well, I’ll really serve the Lord when my children grow up." No, God’s brought you into His kingdom now for such a time as this. The power of influence, the power of one, the power of a woman.

You may feel outnumbered. You may feel helpless. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the powers of darkness and wickedness around us. We think, “I’m just one little pawn on a chessboard.” Don’t think that you can’t make a difference. You put that pawn in God’s hand and you’ll be amazed at what God can do to use your life.

  • Be courageous.
  • Be willing to step out when it’s time to speak.
  • But be self-controlled.
  • Be patient.
  • Be poised as Esther was, waiting on God to direct as to when you should act.

Then number six, there is no situation so desperate that God cannot redeem it. Think about Esther for a moment. Imagine being orphaned as a little girl. Then being raised in a single-parent home by an older male cousin. Then moving from that home into a Persian harem. And then being married to this cruel, arrogant, alcoholic tyrant named Xerxes.

Yet God uses her. Amazingly. Astonishingly. God gives her courage and grace and favor and faith and restraint and poise and all the things she needs to be an instrument of saving perhaps 15 million Jews. You don’t know.

So wait for God to act. Wait on His timing. Remember that you don’t win by pushing, nagging, screaming, yelling, badgering, whining, shaming others. We tend to justify that kind of behavior when our circumstances get tough. But here’s a woman who’s in the most dire circumstances possible, literally faced with death at one point, who is remarkably in control of her tongue, her emotions. There’s no haste, no histrionics, no hysterical outbursts, just waiting on the Lord.

Then number seven, don’t judge the outcome of the battle by the way things look right now. Don’t judge the outcome of the battle by the way things look right now. Don’t despair no matter how hard it is, no matter how bad it gets, no matter how confused your circumstances are. Things will not always be as they are now. God is changing the circumstances and right now we see that sometimes the wicked flourish and the godly suffer. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair.

The wicked party now, but one day they will give account. There will be a final judgment. The righteous suffer now in many cases, but one day they will experience everlasting joy and triumph.

Psalm 58:11 says, “Mankind will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous; surely there is a God who judges on earth.’” Amen? God writes the final chapter. He’s already written it. and He’s given us a glimpse of it in His Word. If you want to read the final chapter, read the book of Revelation. That’s what I do when I get discouraged. I see how it all turns out.

We don’t know how we’re going to get from here and now to then and there, but we know God.

We’ve seen in the book of Esther:

  • a God who is all-powerful
  • a God who is all-knowing
  • a God who is providential and sovereign
  • a God who is wise and good
  • a God who is accomplishing His purposes in this world,
  • a covenant-keeping God who is longsuffering with His people but who is always working for His ultimate glory and the coming of His kingdom and His rule on this earth.

So don’t despair. Be of good hope and wait on the Lord.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray. She’s been reviewing some of the lessons we’ve been learning from the book of Esther. It’s an important story that will affect the way you think about God’s power and plan for your life.

Today marks the final day of our in-depth look at Esther, but it doesn’t mean you have to stop learning from this woman of God. You can order Nancy’s entire teaching on CD or mp3 and catch up on any of the parts you’ve missed. It would be a great investment and a nice addition to your collection. To order Nancy’s entire series visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Women across the country and around the world have come to appreciate the kind of in-depth teaching Revive Our Hearts provides. Over the last few years, you’ve heard thorough, practical teaching, not just on Esther, but on the Biblical characters of Ruth, Deborah, and Abigail, just to name a few.

If it weren’t for the donations of our listeners, do you know how many major series like this there would be? Zero. We’re able to bring solid teaching to you because listeners give. Would you help this ministry continue speaking to the hearts of women? When you make a donation today, we’ll say thinks by sending a devotional booklet called Esther: The Exile Queen. Ask for it when you donate at our website or call 1-800-569-5959.

Don’t you love getting letters and email, not junk mail or spam, but real communication from friends? Tomorrow hear some of that type of communication. Nancy’s back now to close in prayer.

Nancy: Lord, our hearts are strengthened and encouraged and blessed and cheered as we read of Your ways, as we contemplate who You are and what You have done in history, and we see what You are doing in our story. You are writing Your story. You’re writing it in our lives. Thank You for letting us be a part of Your great eternal redemptive plan. So help us to live in faith, in courage, and to wait, wait, wait on the Lord. We bless You in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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