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"Not A Cinderella Story" - Esther 2:1-18 (Larry Malament)

March 24, 2019 Speaker: Larry Malament Series: Esther

Verse: Esther 2:1–2:18

Sermon Quotes:

Karen Jobe: “The divinely inspired author chose not to reveal Esther’s reaction to being taken into the harem or Mordecai’s motives for commanding Esther to conceal her identity. It is natural to pass judgment on the two, whether positive or negative, but in doing so we may miss an important point. This deliberate silence is part of the message. Regardless of their character, their motives, or their fidelity to God’s law, the decisions Esther and Mordecai make move events in some inscrutable way to fulfill the covenant promises God made to his people long ago.” 

Bryan Gregory: “Throughout history, people of faith have always found themselves living in the same tension, struggling with whether to be faithful to their core identity among the people of God or whether to capitulate to the pressures of cultural expectations and opportunities. Who am I? Am I a follower of Christ – a disciple of Jesus – or am I just part of the crowd? Will I adopt biblical standards on sexuality, or will I adopt the messages of the culture around me? Will I be ethical, or will I do what everyone else is doing in order to keep pace? Will I boldly live for God no matter what it costs me, or will I hide my faith in embarrassment? Every Christian like Esther, finds himself or herself in situations where one must choose between doing what is right or doing what is culturally acceptable, between acting with integrity or compromising in order to seize an opportunity, between living consistently out of one’s identity in Christ or living for whatever is desirable according to the surrounding cultural climate.”

Bryan Gregory: The truth is that, at the end of the day, it is very difficult to avoid the most obvious reading of the text, however morally disappointing it is. Esther was a Jewish girl who probably did not follow the dietary laws or observe the Sabbath, and who certainly fornicated with a pagan king. The simple fact is that when she found herself in a hard place, she did not resist. She compromised. Perhaps, however, the trouble is not so much with the bible as with our expectations of it. Scripture is not a chronicle of great moral examples, ethical heroes, or spiritual giants. Instead, it is the unfolding story of humanity’s brokenness, one sinner at a time, and God’s redemptive grace in the midst of it.  Throughout scripture, God’s people morally compromise, ethically fall, and persistently sin; yet, amazingly, God providentially and graciously continues to use them for his redemptive purposes. And the same is true for Esther. She is culpable for her failures. Her compromises cannot be excused, downplayed, or explained away. Yet, in the larger context of the book, this young girl’s moral compromises are used by God to deliver his people from potential extermination.