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God Remembers and Rewards
Esther 6:1-14 (Pastor Cruz)
1 That night the king could not sleep; so he ordered the book of the chronicles, the record of his reign, to be brought in and read to him. 2 It was found recorded there that Mordecai had exposed Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s officers who guarded the doorway, who had conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. 3 “What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?” the king asked. “Nothing has been done for him,” his attendants answered. 4 The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the palace to speak to the king about impaling Mordecai on the pole he had set up for him. 5 His attendants answered, “Haman is standing in the court.” “Bring him in,” the king ordered. 6 When Haman entered, the king asked him, “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?” Now Haman thought to himself, “Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?” 7 So he answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor, 8 have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden, one with a royal crest placed on its head. 9 Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’ ” 10 “Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” 11 So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” 12 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief, 13 and told Zeresh his wife and all his friends everything that had happened to him. His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.
Guest speaker today from the Philippines. Pastor Cruz.
We are here to celebrate our anniversary. Our story began when my wife entered the staff of Paul Mission – so we thought a good opportunity would be to meet Pastor Park again for our anniversary.
Title: “God Remembers and Rewards”
The story of Esther is very interesting – it tells of the situation of the Jews in Persia – they had been taken in 586BC by King Nebuchadnezzar. If you remember the story of Daniel, this was the taking of the Jews to Persia. Ezra was the story of the taking of the Jews BACK to Jerusalem (on the 70th year of captivity – as prophesied).
Not all the Jews decided to return to their land. Some had adapted to life in Persia. So this book of Esther gives us a good look at what became of THOSE particular Jews.
This story of Esther shows us some things we really need to learn in our walk as followers of Christ. Here are 3 important principles we must follow.
#1 People may forget, God does not
People forget promises – no matter how good their intention, there is a point in time they just forget. Maybe they are getting older, or their situation changes. Maybe they become unable to fulfill a promise they made.
- Ex: After your graduation next year, you will get such and such gift. But, say some things in life happen, situations change, and you can’t get that gift.
This is part of the human limitation – when we put our trust in humans. Sometimes humans forget or become unable to fulfill their promise.
But God does NOT forget.
You know in Esther, the name “Yahweh” or “God” is never mentioned, but we can see him at work behind the scenes throughout the book.
Haman wanted to DESTROY the Jews. He even erected a pole (gallows) on which to hang Mordecai – and he was plotting to have the soldiers hunt down and kill all the Jews.
But… coincidentally… the King couldn’t sleep that night.
You know how kings entertained themselves? “Come to me and read to me ALL my accomplishments.” He was listening – self-satisfied – “I’m a cool dude~”
At one point, they came to an instance where some of his servants were plotting against him – and he found that Mordecai revealed this plot – and the king was saved.
Hmmm, coincidentally… this particular situation was read to the king that night. Only God can do that. Here’s God at work, reminding the king.
He asked, “What’s been done for this guy?” The servant said, “Nothing.” So the king said, “Hmm, who’s outside right now?” Haman! The favorite of the king!
“So, Haman, you’ve been giving me awesome advice…” (But earlier that week he’d made an edict he just needed signed by the king to annihilate all the Jews). He thought the king MUST want to honor him.
But the story doesn’t go that way.
God knows everything – and at some particular moment, he will complete his purpose in your life.
Isaiah 49:15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
So, is that possible? For a mother to forget the baby at her breast? No way. Even more than this, God will never forget you. That’s the kind of God we serve.
Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
You know, if you give your heart to someone, it can be broken. (That’s why Korean novellas are so popular in the Philippines).
That hurts so bad when that happens. So, don’t give your heart to just anyone. Give your heart only to the Lord. Give it to Jesus and he will keep it safe and not break it. (But if he DOES break it, it’s only to give you a better heart.)
In whatever ways you’re serving God right now, – or if you’re not, make the decision to do so now. Your gestures of compassion for your brothers and sisters in Christ are recorded in heaven. He will NEVER forget those acts. And you will NEVER be disappointed when you choose to follow him.
Like in the story of Mordecai. Perhaps Mordecai was grumbling about this – Haman was honored afterward – not him (Esther 3, 4). Probably he was grumbling. “This is terrible – what’s happening to me?” God has a BETTER plan.
#2 God rewards at the RIGHT time
He has a particular point in time when he will act and give you your reward. Imagine if Mordecai had been rewarded at that immediate moment, it would be finished. Years later, with the situation with Haman, there would be nothing left to receive.
It’s as if God purposefully saved his reward for this particular moment – when their lives were at stake.
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
God is hovering and looking over each and every one of us. So, do not TIRE of doing the good deeds God has set apart for you to do. He will reward in the RIGHT time.
I started my ministry at age 18.
In the Philippines, Christians are called “Protestants” because we have a Catholic majority population. In the Philippines, pastors are looked down on (not exalted like in Korea).
Over time, I felt God calling me into full-time ministry and the elders affirmed it and appointed me youth pastor. My salary was quite small. I admitted to myself, “I’ll never be able to support a family – nor even have one.” My salary was only 2000 pesos (40,000 won?) per month.
My father died when I was 8. You can imagine how difficult it was for my mother to raise us.
I can remember walking 4km through the mountains to the church. But in the city, people thought it was strange that I didn’t take public transportation. When I reached the church, I was soaked with sweat, carrying a heavy guitar. I led worship and then preached. I told God I’d just be single forever.
I met my wife in the church. She’s a CPA (accountant). She gets to work and earns our money. And I get to preach. Isn’t God amazing? That’s how God works in our lives.
Whenever airplanes fly overhead, I never took notice. I never thought I would ever fly in one. But God had a better plan. By his grace and goodness, I’m able to travel, see different places, and share the gospel. God is so good.
You see, no matter what you are doing for him, so long as you do it with all your heart and you do it consistently, God is able to give you a reward, at the proper time. And people take notice.
- You come to church early, clean up once, and no one notices. But do it EVERY Sunday, and people notice.
- When you serve others, help the sick, show hospitality, consistently, people notice and God will reward in the proper time.
1 Corinthians 3:12 “12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
It’s not important to just keep doing, you have to do it with your whole heart as well. Put your heart into what you do and the result will show.
If you work in the office and you only work hard when the boss watches you…
One thing I really admired the first time we came here is the “Hurry, hurry” attitude. We even almost bumped someone who was walking and brushing her teeth at the same time.
The people work hard, and give their all for their work.
When we were in Paul Mission, we served missionaries (one was Pastor Park). We would normally hear, “Oh my! So slow! Hurry up!” but we thought we were doing OK… “Hmm, OK, we’ll hop to it! Hurry up! Do it fast! Do it well!” HOW MUCH MORE when you’re serving God?
People are dying, heading to hell, we MUST share the gospel. Where’s your sense of urgency? We must do it fast, and do it well.
Share the Word, share our hearts.
Jesus did that. He only lived 33 years, ministered for only 3 – boy, he was in a hurry. But he came to seek and save the lost – that we might spend eternity in heaven with him.
You see, we NEED to give our efforts to extend God’s kingdom and reach out to the lost. This will please God and he will reward it.
#3 Nothing is more fulfilling than the reward that is from the Lord
Back to our story, Esther 6.
- Suppose the king said to Mordecai, “Let’s ask him what he wants to receive for his deeds.”
- He probably will not even dare to say what Haman said. “Give me your robe, and your horse, and your ring, and proclaim throughout the city what I’ve done!” No way! This is probably the farthest thinking of Mordecai.
- Probably he was only concerned with his own survival at that moment. “King, please, just spare the lives of my people…”
But look what happened. Totally unexpected! He was honored greatly by the King.
God has a way to honor each and every one of us. He has his own special way to do THAT to you. He knows your special circumstances, he knows what matters to you, and he knows how to respond to that. And he can do even more than that. Beyond your expectations, beyond what you ask. Sometimes, something you never even expected to happen – happens. He did it for Mordecai and he can do it for you too.
1 Corinthians 3:8 “8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.”
Each has a purpose and each will receive their reward.
Your faithfulness to the Lord will be rewarded – no matter how small it may seem.
Rev 22:12 “12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”
But even before this, God rewarded us – when we were still sinners – with eternal life through Jesus Christ.
There is nothing we can do to receive this grace. While we were still sinners, he died for us.
He is returning at just the right time, and his reward is plenty.
Keep in mind that we are serving a faithful God. He does not overlook your labor nor sacrifices for him. He hears your prayers. The loudest, the quietest prayers in your heart, he hears them all equally. He has promised a reward and surely he will give it.
He remembers and he rewards.
That’s how generous our God is.
You will never be wrong when you choose to put your faith in Christ and serve him faithfully.