Saturday, August 16, 2008

Useful Disobedience

I've been preparing for my Sunday school class and what I am working on are some life applications from the book of Esther. Last week the class began watching "One Night With the King". The week before I gave a historical background setting the story up.

As a child I always had the idea that Esther was a very beautiful and godly woman who was used of God to save the Jews from genocide. She was beautiful and she was used to save the Jews, but as far as being a godly person, I believe she was lacking -- at least in the beginning. Actually, Esther wasn't a very good Jew. Compare her to Daniel and the three Hebrew children.

Daniel and the guys had their names changed by the Babylonians. They did not object because they needed the Babylonian names in order to work for the government (it gave them citizenship) and it did not compromise their spiritual standing. However, Esther was told by her Jewish uncle Mordecai to not reveal her Jewish heritage and to aid this, she changed her name from Hadasaah to Esther. She changed her name to hide.

The Hebrew fellas refused to eat the King's rich diet. The King (Nebbacannezar - a pagan) did not eat Kosher food like the Jews and more than likely, the food had been sacrificed to the pagan gods. Esther ate what she was served, no objection as to whether it was Kosher or not.

The Hebrew guys openly prayed and let it be know who their great God was. Jehovah was the God of the Jews. Esther had to hide the fact that she was a Jew, therefore, she could not openly worship Jehovah.

Esther married a pagan -- a BIG no, no for the Jews!

Esther was a disobedient Jew. But. here's something that stood out to me in this story. Even though Esther did not adhere to the Jewish teachings and in a sense, denied Jehovah, God used her disobedience for His good. She was in the right place at the right time; she won the beauty contest, became the wife of the pagan king, and when the time was right, became bold enough and put her life on the line, she revealed who she really was, revealed the villain's (Haman) evil plan and asked that the lives of the Jews be spared.

God can even use our disobedience. There were others who disobeyed yet were used by God. For example, Jonah, the rebellious missionary; Sampson, the guy with a sexual addiction; Rahab, a call girl in Jericho. Take a look at the Hebrews 11 - faith's hall of fame. There are several heroes NOT mentioned in this chapter; Enoch, Mary, Daniel & and his three friends. Those that are mentioned there were disobedient, yet are recorded to have lived by faith. For instance, Abraham and Sarah: Abraham lied and Sarah laughed; Jacob was a deceiver; Jephthah sacrificed his own daughter. They were far from perfect but God still used them!

This all goes to show how limitless our God is. The fact that He can use our disobedience does not give us a "free ticket" to continue in disobedience -- that's not what I am saying. We must earnestly continue to follow God's Plan and Will for our lives, but if we stumble, we can get back up and keep on walking. He'll be right there with hands and arms outstretched to pick us up.

If you are feeling defeated by imperfection on your journey of faith, be of good cheer! God is patient and sees your heart. He desires to perfect all of us but.... until the day of perfection comes we will continue working and pressing toward it. Once we have achieved perfection, then we will have a new address -- heaven. :)




annie's eyes said...

Esther reminds us there is a way to handle conflict, to not obey when the time comes. I love your last line: when we achieve perfection, we get a new address, heaven. Until then...Love, Annette

Sarah@Life in the Parsonage said...

How wonderfully put, Sherry!

Praise Him for using us even in our disobediance!

This really spoke to me tonight, thank you.