Today we walked to the United Church of Lima. This was an English speaking church that was originally started for ex-patriots but now welcomes everyone. We were surprised to see a new amigo named Herman who we met on the street when we first arrived.
Today the church is transitioning to a new pastor but, in the meantime, our sermon was given by a Peruvian missionary from Australia.
Prayer: I am always amazed that prayers and even sermons are spot on to your life. Today the pastor said that Jesus takes our human prayers and translates them to God. I am thankful that I have a relationship the ultimate translator, Jesus Christ.
In 586 BC the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and exiled the Hebrews. Some returned from exile but not all. The ones that remained in Babylon had a normal life but that is not the same as being free.
Esther is a wisdom book to illustrate what God is like. There is a thread in the Bible that God mocks the powerful. In fact, the powerful are often portrayed as vain fools. Basically, the book of Esther is about a thwarted attempt at a Holocaust.
Esther 1 talks about how great Xerxes was. Ahsaurus is the Hebrew name. He was entertaining important people for six months and adds seven days for the whole town. In verses 7 and 8, he was drinking lots of wine. At the same time his beautiful queen, Vashti, was giving a banquet. Xerxes, in his drunken state, calls for her to make an appearance. This illustrated his vanity. She refused the king.
Illustrated in Psalm 2 and in the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar parties until he goes. He remains mad until he acknowledges God’s power.
In verses 10-12, Xerxes does not display humility. Proverbs 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, But a wise man holds them back.
Xerxes controls much but not in his own house. By verse 22, he was outraged and threw a tantrum on an international level. He banished Vashti for her disobedience and started to look for a new queen. Enter Esther.
In 1 Samuel 15 we learn of the blood feud that existed between King Saul and King Agag. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, and Hamann are descended from that feud, and Haman wanted revenge.
Xerxes is easily manipulated. In Chapter 3, he is manipulated by Haman. He speaks of a conspiracy theory that comes with a bribe. Proverbs 29:4 The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.
In Chapter 6, Xerxes remembers that he never thanked Mordecai for saving him from a plot to kill him. This is the crux of the story.
Proverbs 16:10 A divine decision is in the lips of the king; his mouth should not err in judgement.
In chapter 7 we learn that this genocide will include his favorite cocumbine and now queen. Evil is controlled by passions. Xerxes was humiliated, slave to his passions, and manipulated by others.
Peru understands these types of leaders. Currently, there are eight presidents in prison. However, we all still trust in elections even if in reality the leaders are bad. Truly the leaders are just like us.
God mocks the powerful by using the weakness of leaders to further his power.
At this point the pastor asked a question? We were to discuss it and decide our answer. How refreshing for this to take place during a sermon!
1. It would legitimize acts of violence. There would be no consequences.
2. It would illustrate that human power wins. There would be no justice if Jesus had stayed dead.
Thank God that either scenario isn’t how the story ends. He had a perfect plan.
Philipians 2: 8-11 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Hebrews knew kings were not divine. A ruler is not divine. In this case, he is an out of control fool.
God guarantees that there will be a day of reckoning. We are reminded that nothing is more powerful than God. Rulers will have to face the throned Jesus who chose humility.
Earthly authority is God approved. However, earthly authority is evil and will be defeated. However, earthly authority is NOT God ordained.
Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Our elected officials are the government which is us. We elect them. We want them to make good decisions for us and our neighbors. Authority should be grasped with an open hand. A clenched fist will inflict harm on others to keep it. Look for a leader who demonstrates new life and understands the role of authority.
Read often Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2
The pastor referenced a podcast about The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill which is about megachurch pastor, Mark Driscoll, who felt that the end justified the means. He claimed to be working under the banner of the good of the kingdom. I heard that it is awesome so I plan to listen to it some day.
Out-of-control leaders are a reason for elders in the church to provide checks and balance.
Since we walked to church, we saw some unusual sights.