Esther 6-7 - Unnoticed and Unappreciated

Steve Viars February 5, 2000 Esther 6:

- Unnoticed and Unappreciated...have you ever felt like that?...most of us have.
1.  Maybe you’re here this morning and you’ve really been working on a particular area of growth.
- someone talked to you about it and because of your desire to become more like Christ, you said in your heart...I’m going to work on that...and with the help of God you have been.
- but the person who spoke to you about it doesn’t seem to notice....
- in fact, now they’re harping about something else...and its hard not to conclude that there’s no use to working at change, because its not going to be noticed, or its not going to be appreciated.

2.  Maybe you’ve been working hard at a group project at school...
- and you want to glorify God by doing your work with excellence....
- and you want to pull your part of the load for the group...
- but the problem is, there’s other people in the group who aren’t working....
- and to make matters worse, when you get together as a group....not only are you not thanked for what you’ve done....but all the attention goes to the most attractive girl who couldn’t get around to doing any work cuz she had to get to the tanning bed.
- and you look over at her and all the attention she’s receiving and you’d like to....well, you know....
- but you’re fairly sure that response wouldn’t please God....

- I’m asking you to think about situations where your effort seems to be unnoticed and unappreciated.

- now, let’s push that one step further---what does it feel like when you think you’re being treated that way, and how does it affect your relationship with that person?
- would you agree with me---it hurts, and it puts a real distance between you and them.
- you don't want to talk to them....you don't want to trust them....you certainly are going to struggle with giving any more effort to them.
- when a person will not notice your efforts, will not acknowledge your efforts, will not appreciate your efforts, will not reward your efforts....its hard to keep going the right direction for any of us.

- now, let’s make this a lot more serious.
- what do you do when the person who doesn’t seem to notice your efforts, and doesn’t seem to appreciate your efforts is your God?
- What in the world do you do then?
- what are you supposed to think?
- what are you supposed to say?
- what are you supposed to do?
- and what’s the price of answering those questions incorrectly?

- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible to the book of Esther chapter 6 this morning.
- if you’re new to studying the Bible, you’ll find this chapter on page 367 of the Bible in the pew in front of you.
- we’ve been studying this book verse by verse and chapter by chapter for the last several weeks.
- Esther is the 17th book of God’s Word, and it is describing events that take place right at the end of OT history.
- Assyria has risen and fallen...Babylonia has risen and fallen...and now the dominant nation is Persia.
- at this point in time, a group of Jewish persons have already gone back to Jerusalem to beginning rebuilding the temple...the man leading them is named Zerubbabel...that would have been 538 BC
- you could read about that in what book?....Ezra 1-6.
- after the events we’re studying now, another group return to continue the project...the man who led them was named Ezra, and you can read about that in Ezra 7-12...that would have been 458 BC
- then there was a third group that returned to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem...and the person who led them was named....Nehemiah...that would have been 445 BC.

- the book of Esther is describing what was happening in the lives of some of God’s people who still were living in Persia...and this was happening around 485 BC.
- that history is going to become very important in what we are going to study today.

- now we obviously have a number of guests with us today, but God blesses us with folks that are new practically every week....so let me take a brief moment and remind you of what has already happened....so we can all benefit from what God’s Word says to us in chapter 6.
- like any OT book, there are a lot of names mentioned here, but there are really only five key characters in the book.
- do you know who they are?
1) King Ahasuerus - king of Persia - a very proud man, with a great amount of power and wealth, but it’s very apparent that he doesn’t know God, and so his life is organized around fulfilling his passions, and magnifying himself...
2) Then there’s his former wife whose name was?....[Vashti]
- that’s the way the book started, with the king haven this drunken feast with his buddies, and he commands Vashti to come out and be put on display in front of them, and she refuses....
- so the king banishes her from his presence
3) The third character is a godly Jewish man named.....Mordecai.....
4) And he is the older cousin of our fourth character named.....Esther.
- Esther was an orphan, and Mordecai brought her into his own home and raised her as his own daughter.....and at the end of chapter 2 Esther becomes the new queen of Persia.
5) The fifth character is a sinister man named Haman
- and Haman hated the Jews so much that he offered the king a large sum of money if he would allow an extermination of all the Jews, and after casting the Pur [or the lot], it was determined that all the Jews would be annihilated on the 13th day of the month of Adar, which was about 11 months after the decree was issued.

- of course Mordecai, immediately put on sackcloth and ashes and wept for the people of God, and he also encouraged Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jews.
- at this time, the king didn’t know that Esther was Jewish, and she reminded Mordecai that you didn’t just waltz into the king’s throneroom unannounced and invited, and to do so was risking death.
- and Mordecai replied back, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"
- Esther’s response to that was, please gather the people and ask them to pray and fast for me for three days, because I’m going to speak to the king, and if I perish, I perish.
- and that’s what she did....
- she invited the king and Haman to a banquet...and he king offered to grant her any request....
- her request was, would both of you please come back to another feast tomorrow, which they agreed to do.
- when Haman left, he was higher than a kite with all this special attention he’s receiving from the king and queen....
- but on the way out, he spots Mordecai, and his heart is filled with anger because of his hatred for the Jews....
- so he gathers his family around him, and he starts bragging on all his possessions and honors...but he says....but all this doesn’t satisfy me because I still have to see that Mordecai at the king’s gate.
- so his family says....why don’t you just build a gallows out here next to the house, and ask the king for the permission to kill Mordecai tomorrow morning, and then enjoy the rest of the day at the feast?
- and that’s exactly what he did.

- so here you’ve got Mordecai and Esther, people who have been trying to live for God...and not only are they not receiving notice or appreciation for what they’ve done....they both are facing death sentences right in the face....and in the case of Mordecai, his is tomorrow.

- with all of that in mind, let’s see what happens in chapters 6 and 7.
- Read Esther 6:1-7:10

- with the time we have remaining, I’d like to propose to you that from these verses we can learn three principles about sowing and reaping.
- God wanted to teach the people of that day, both those who knew Him and those who didn’t, some important lessons about living for Him.
- And God wants to teach people like us, living in our day, some important lessons about living for Him.
- see, when you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed and unappreciated...
- by your friends, by your family, by your co-workers, by your God....
- when you feel like your efforts are going unnoticed and unappreciated....remember and act upon these important biblical principles about sowing and reaping.

I. Those Who Sow Righteousness Shall Be Rewarded.


- last week when we left Mordecai, it surely looked like this situation was going to turn out a lot differently.
- here he had been living for God....here he had been a loyal subject to a pagan king, even to the point of saving the king’s life...
- and what did he have to show for his efforts?.....nothing.
- But friends, listen, one of the major themes in the Bible is the principle of sowing and reaping.
- there are present, future, and eternal consequences for the choices a person makes in life...God’s Word is very clear about that.
- Proverbs 22:8 - He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.
- Galatians 6:7 - Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
- 1 Peter 3:12 - For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer: but the face of the Lord is against those that do evil.

- and the bottom line is, if you are here this morning, and you have been trying to sow righteousness...you’ve been trying to head the right direction....but no one seems to be noticing, and you’ve even wondered if God does....I would simply say this to you, “Remember Mordecai.”
- one of the fascinating things about this book is that the name of God is never mentioned but the hand of God is everywhere.
- Those Who Sow Righteousness Shall Be Rewarded.

- now let’s push this one step further....this assumes that you started by sowing someone else’s righteousness.
- the ultimate act of sowing and reaping is what you’re trusting in for your eternal destiny.
- the Scripture is clear that we cannot reap heaven by sowing human righteousness.
- because we’re too sinful and God is too holy.
- that’s why God loved us so much that He sent His Son.
- that’s why Jesus had to die on the cross....that’s why there had to be a payment....
- and when a person admits their sin, and places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, they are not simply having their sins forgiven....they are receiving the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

- that is the ultimate sense in which the point we are making is true....when you sow for you your salvation the imputed righteousness of Christ by coming to Him in repentance and faith, you will reap a marvelous place called heaven.
- and that relationship puts in a position where you can begin sowing righteous acts on a day by day basis.
- you cam be taking steps to become faithful like both Mordecai and Esther.
- you can work at putting off sinful habits and replacing them with godly ones...
- you can work at seeking to become more like Jesus Christ and more pleasing to Him...
- you can work at sowing righteousness in your marriage, and sowing righteousness in your family, and sowing righteousness at the job, and sowing righteousness at your church....

- and the promise of these verses is, those who sow righteousness shall be rewarded.
- now you might say, PV, it doesn’t seem to be happening yet.
- well, that’s one of the key lessons of these chapters....
- we need to add to this point the words “in God’s time.”
- that’s why chapter 6 begins with the words “during that night”....
- after Mordecai had led the Jewish people of Susa to fast and pray....
- and after Esther had led the young ladies around her to fast and pray....
- and after Haman had built the gallows....
- and after Esther had prayerfully begun her plan of obedience....
- “during that night”...
- we have to draw the conclusion from these verses that God’s timing is perfect.
- that’s why the Psalmist could say...Psalm 31:15 My times are in thy hand...

- friend, can you say that this morning....Lord, I’m going to continue to serve you, and continue to trust you, and continue to believe in you...even if my efforts aren’t being noticed by those around me, and aren’t being appreciated by those around me....
- my times are in your hand....and if by nothing else than faith, I am going to act on the truth that those who sow righteousness shall be rewarded.

- that’s why Paul went on to say in Galatians 6, - Galatians 6:9 - And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.
- that’s why the writer of Hebrews said, - Hebrews 6:10 - For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

- we’ve had some great examples of that even recently.
- those who have been around our church are excited about the families who are being raised up from our church family and heading to the mission field.
- one of the couples is Jim and Ruth Hornbrook.
- Jim’s parents are missionaries in Mexico....and his brother Sam serves in Mexico City---and they’re both part of our church’s missionary family
- Jim came back to Lafayette and finished his high school years here....
- then he went off to Bible college, and got married, and then came back here for a year’s internship....
- at the end of that time, we encouraged Jim and Ruth to go to get at least a year’s worth of seminary training.....
- that wasn’t an easy decision for them to make.....
- they wanted to get to the field....
- moving was going to be a hardship....
- but because they are humble people and want to be in submission to their local church...they went and completed a year’s study.....
- they had sown righteousness

- then they came back and we became their first supporting church.....
- normally raising the remainder of the support can take a couple of years....
- but I’m happy to announce to you today that a wealthy family from outside of our church has approached Jim and Ruth and promised to take on the full amount of the remainder of their support for their entire missionary career in Mexico.
- this week we scheduled a commissioning service for them in May and they’re making plans to be in Mexico City by June.

- is there any question in anyone’s mind that those who sow righteousness shall be rewarded from the hand of the God of heaven and earth?
- just because His name is not written in the sky does not mean His hand is not present.


- this point was also driven home to me in a counseling situation this week.
- I’ve been working with a family that is not connected to this church from another state...
- a young seminary student has been sitting in with me....
- two weeks ago, this situation looked pretty hopeless....
- the number of problems and the significance of those problems appeared overwhelming.
- we had to skip a week because of scheduling conflicts and then met again this week....

- as those folks reported what had transpired in their situation in the span of two short weeks, this seminary student and I were stunned....
- and we looked at each other, and we didn’t even have to say it.....but there’s no way those changes could have occurred apart from the working of a sovereign, loving, and powerful God.

- now, it would be nice if this was as far as this text took us, but we would not be doing justice to God’s Word unless we also looked this from the negative perspective.
- yes, from Mordecai’s vantage point, I. Those Who Sow Righteousness Shall Be Rewarded.
- but from Haman’s perspective, our second principle is....


II. Those Who Sow Unrighteousness Shall be Judged.


- many of the truths in the Word of God are two-edged swords, and the way they impact an individual is dependent entirely on the spiritual condition that person brings to the table.
- those who are tempted to become weary in well doing need to remember Mordecai.
- those are tempted to become apathetic in committing sin need to remember Haman.

- a key verse at this point of the discussion is Ecclesiastes 8:11 - Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
- one of the lies of the devil is that you can ignore God, you can displease God, you can sin against God, and there will be no consequences.
- either He’s not smart enough to know....
- or loving enough to care....
- or powerful enough to do anything about it....
- my friend, remember Haman....those who sow unrighteousness shall be judged.

- now, you might say, PV, does God delight in judging people like Haman?
- should we be laughing as we watch these events unfold?
- of course not....God’s Word is clear about that.
- Proverbs 24:17 - Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
- Ezekiel 33:11 - As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways!
- see, if a person said, it couldn’t get any better than Esther 6-7...yes it could have.
- Haman could have thought back historically to the way the God of Israel had shown Himself strong during the days of Assyria through the ministry of people like Jonah.
- or he could have thought about how the God of Israel had shown Himself strong during the days of Babylonia through the ministry of people like Daniel...
- Haman and his family should have seen what was unfolding, and they all should have gone and cast themselves at Esther and Mordecai’s feet, begging to know how they could have a personal relationship with the God of heaven and earth.
- God’s judgment is always redemptive...either for the person being judged or the persons observing the one being judged.
- That’s why the apostle Paul told the church of Corinth to discipline the man in I Corinthians 5 who was living with his father’s wife....and the terminology that is used in that text to describe the process is....”deliver him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh...”
- what does that mean?
- it means that he is to be opened up for judgment from Satan’s hand so that the fleshly desires that led to this sin in the first place would be destroyed....
- God would love to have us live for Him simply in response to His goodness [Romans 2:4 makes that abundantly clear], but if we wouldn’t respond to His goodness and grace, He does have other methods.

- that’s why we’re told in Romans chapter 12 not to repay evil for evil
- we’re to return good for evil, because “vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord...”
- but as we return good for evil, God will heap hot coals of fire on his head, why?
- so we all say, burn baby, burn?
- so the judgment places the person in the best possible position to repent.

- now, how should you and I respond to this half of the equation, remembering from Haman’s perspective that those who sow unrighteousness shall be judged?
1) For one thing, I hope every one of us would look carefully at what we’re sowing.
- if we’re sowing righteousness, these verses ought to fill our hearts with encouragement and hope...if we’re sowing sinfulness, these verses ought to make us shake in our boots.
- another way of saying this is, we ought to avoid the sin of Hamanism....
- the belief that are no consequences for one’s actions....
- God either doesn’t know, or He doesn’t care, or He’s too powerless to do anything about it.

- friend, if you’re here this morning and you’ve not yet trusted Christ, can I invite you [urge you] to do that today?
- the lie of the devil is, you can keep going down the road you’re on and there will never be any consequences.
- and if you say, how much longer do I have?....who knows?, and I don’t believe in encouraging people to make emotional decisions....
- but the way people drive in this town, I wouldn’t pull my car back out on SR 26 until I was absolutely sure that I had a personal relationship with Christ.

- what about your effort at growing and pleasing Him?
- friend, are you harboring sin as if they’re be no consequences?
- I mentioned a couple of positive illustrations earlier of ways that people had sowed righteousness and reaped rewards from the hand of God....
- you might say --- man, that was a pretty good week around here....

- that’s true, but do you know the other side....a week seldom goes by, this one included, where we don't also have to deal with individuals connected to this church who don’t seem to take their relationship with Jesus Christ very seriously....
- and that’s reflected in their lack of growth, their lack of study of the Scriptures, their lack of serving, their lack of solving problems quickly, their lack of giving....

- its an attitude that doesn’t take the Christian life very seriously....as if the principle of sowing and reaping doesn’t exist.
- its almost like its a game, like we’re just playing church....

- after we examine our own lives in the light of this passage, I believe we’d also be helped by evaluating our ministries....our outreach to those the Lord has placed around us.
- when we see what happened to Haman because of His wickedness and unbelief....that ought to motivate us to be aggressively telling others about Jesus Christ.
- the hymnwriter said, rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save!
- friends, do we believe that in our sophisticated age?
- do we believe there’s a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned?
- it would be a terrible thing is we studied what happened to Haman and then thought, I can’t wait until that happens to someone in my life.
- perhaps that’s part of what Paul had in mind when he said, “knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”

- could develop -- not being as evangelistic as we should be because we have a soft view of God --- this passage helps that....
- cf. Lucy / Aslan - Lewis pp. 75-76

- so, what should we think when our efforts are going unnoticed and unappreciated?
I.  Those Who Sow Righteousness Shall Be Rewarded
II.  Those Who Sow Unrighteousness Shall be Judged

- the third principle I’d like us to think about for just a moment is:


III. The Best Guidance for Proper Sowing is the Unfailing Word of God.


- this point comes from backing up and asking the question, how did God want these events to impact the people of that day?
- I believe their attention would have been turned to the authority and trustworthiness of God’s Word.
- we are seeing promises that God made to Abraham back in Genesis 12 come alive....
- God told Abraham in Genesis 12:3 as He was speaking about the Jewish nation....
- Genesis 12:3 - And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse.
- Haman stands in a long line of people who have learned that lesson the hard way.

- that’s why Mordecai knew back in chapter 4 that Haman’s plan would not come to fruition...
- that’s why Esther risked her life in speaking to the king....
- they both sowed righteous acts because of their faith in the unfailing nature of the Word of God.

- that’s why this church has sought to adopt an approach to ministry, and an approach to counseling that is unashamedly biblical.
- we believe that when a person opens the Word of God, and learns direction for how to live....
- when that persons sows righteousness according to the Scriptures, they will be rewarded.
- we don't know how, we don't know when....but we know that the source of righteousness, and the definition of righteousness, and the steps to righteousness are located directly in the Word of God.
- and friend, you can’t say that about the writings of Sigmeund Freud
- you can’t say that about the writings of Carl Rogers
- you can’t say that about the ever changing theories of men and women.

- that’s why Esther and Mordecai ordered their steps by the principles and promises of the word of God
- and for a long time.....it didn’t seem like anyone noticed.....it didn’t seem like anyone cared....
- but these two chapters prove that someone did, and someone does.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video