Trust and Obey
Today, we are starting a new preaching series on the book of Esther.
A delightful and succinct video summary of the book can be found at https://youtu.be/JydNSlufRIs
The book is about our faithful God never forsaking His people, and protected them through the trust and obedience of a few of the remnants, in this case, Mordecai and Esther. Their trust and obedience were exercised on each separate situation, not knowing the whole picture or how they fitted into the entire plan of God, but God used these isolated actions of faithfulness to accomplish His plan of redemption for His people.
Last week, there has been much passionate discussion within the Hong Kong church circle about a high-profile church leader. He suddenly resigned as the chairperson of the Baptist Convention of Hong Kong, and left Hong Kong together with his wife and pet dog to take up permanent residence in the UK. He was quoted as saying that he did so on the advice of concerned friends regarding the degrading political situation in Hong Kong, wherein dissidents have been rounded up in recent months. He said that leaving so hastily made him feel like a "deserter", and that he hoped God would have mercy on him according to his weakness. He added that it was not easy for a minister to let go being the church’s shepherd. He explained further that he had to take their beloved dog with them. It was difficult to find a berth for the pet on a plane, so he had to leave in a hurry once that became available. It begs the question: what about God’s beloved flock that is left behind, badly divided since the “Umbrella Movement”, and now facing an uncertain future?
Of course, this is only one side of the story reported in the news, and he might have justification for his action. However, the fact remains that it is morale-destroying for the church when their leaders apparently desert the “sinking ship”. In contrast, this may help us to appreciate more the courage and trust of Mordecai and Esther in obeying the Lord under their prevailing circumstances.
Throughout church history, there have been many Christian leaders martyred or otherwise endured dreadful persecution in staying faithful to God’s truth and His flock. The time is coming when we may find this to be a realistic challenge for us as Christians in Australia as well. Religious freedom is being progressively strangled in the name of “equality” and “inclusiveness”. While we can pray that this will not become reality too soon, we also need to pray for courage and trust to stay faithful as the Lord’s witnesses.
May the book of Esther inspire us to be faithful to the Lord in daily life, and particularly in an environment of hostility. Our simple act of obedience on each occasion may be used by the Lord for much greater purposes of His.