Skip to main content

"If I perish, I perish."

"If I perish, I perish." These are the haunting words of Esther as she prepares to enter boldly into the presence of King Ahasuerus. Looking at the story we may think this seems like an odd statement because Esther is the queen and she was highly favored by the king. Why in the world would she perish? Well, like Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, she was about to break a law, or at least take a huge risk. The law that she was risking transgressing was that no one was to enter into the kings presence without being summoned. If they did so they would be killed. Now there was one caviat, if the king extended his septer to the person then they would be spared. Now, I shouldn't have to explain the deep imagery of this as it relates to the way we enter into the presence of God and I don't want to spend much time on it because I want to focus on something else, the attitude that Esther has about this risk. "If I perish, I perish." These words are echoed by the aforementioned trio that would ultimately end up being thrown into the fiery furnace when they, in so many words, tell the king that they will not bow to his statue because God can deliver them, and even if He doesn't they still want it to be known that they wouldn't bow to an idol.

Where does an attitude like this come from? Why would people be so willing to forfeit their lives for what they believe in? Simply put, that is the message of the Bible, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our lives are not our own. Jesus tells us that if we love our lives we will lose them and if we lose our lives for His sake we will gain eternity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells is that the call of Christ to follow Him is for Him to bid us come and die.

I think this idea flies in the face of some popular theology in America, and perhaps other parts of the world, today. Some call it "Prosperity Gospel," I would simply like to label it incomplete theology (that is a small effort to be kind to this type of preaching). This theology is marked by the idea of "favor" and that we need nothing more than to claim God's favor in order to have it. Let me pause for a moment and look at the One who was the favored One of God, His Son Jesus Christ. In fact, let me start with His mother, Mary. She was declared to have been blessed with God's favor and what did that bring with it? Yes, it meant that she was blessed to carry and mother the very Son of God and surely this was a blessing. It also meant that she almost lost her relationship with her fiance, Joeseph. Mary was ascended to a place of power and for all we know she never lived a life of royalty and wealth but remained the wife of a carpenter.

Now let me get back to Jesus. There is no doubt that He was favored by God, He was God's Son. He also lived a relatively short life and one that was defined by poverty and ultimately a cruel and painful death. In the end Jesus was called cursed by hanging from a tree. If these are the plans that God has for me, plans for good and not for evil, then most would decline the generous offer.

The words of a certain, famous preacher are that, "we are strong, we are able.," and that we should be "speaking victory over the future." What of Paul who found that when he was weak, then he was the most strong. This is the man who claimed to be the chief among sinners and most unworthy to carry the Gospel to the world. The same preacher said that the congregations "favor was going to rub off," on him and the other congregants. If that were true then it would be wonderful because more people would be dying to themselves and they would see the blessing, not of overflowing bank accounts, but of close communion with the Author and Perfector of our faith.

Finally, Victoria Osteen has written a book, which I have not read but the title tells me what I need to know, "Love Your Life." I don't know what the contents are but with a title like that I can hardly imagine that the message is, "If I perish, I perish." The message of the Gospel is not, "love your life." It is hate you life, deny yourself, get ready for pain and suffering like you have never experienced and then after that is all over and you die, then you can enter into bliss and joy like you could have never dreamed of.


Popular posts from this blog

Characteristics of a Godly Watchman Pt. 1: Vigilance

Most everyone has heard an alarm go off. It may be something as mundane as the alarm clock every morning that tells us it is time to get up and get ready for work, or it may be something as frightening as a fire alarm. No matter what the specific purpose of the alarm they all share one common theme: they are meant to alert people and warn them of impending danger.

In Joel 2:1 the Lord commands the prophet to; Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountainbecause the day of the Lord is coming. That is, God’s judgment is coming upon Israel for their sinfulness. Further along in the chapter, in verse 15, Joel is again commanded to blow a trumpet but this time it is to call the assembly of the people together so that they can, consecrate a fast. This tells us two important things about the role, or the duty, of the prophet of God. First, it tells us that the prophet is to act as an alarm to warn the people of God’s coming judgment. Secondly, the prophet is also to be the mo…

A Letter to Christian Girls.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tonight my wife has been asked to speak to a group of Christian girls on the issues of dating, purity, relationships, etc. As part of that, the youth pastor of this church asked if I would write a letter to the group of young women from a guy's point of view. Now, I can't say as I remember ever having written a letter to a group of teenage girls but I do have some pretty strong feelings about the way our culture has portrayed love, marriage and particularly women. So, what I would like to do in this post is reproduce for you some of this letter. I may add some here and subtract some there but I want this to be my letter to all the Christian, young ladies out there.

What I want to do, through this letter, is share some things from a “guys” point of view because it’s no secret that we see things a little differently than you ladies do. You may think that all we think about …

My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter?

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker? The one that says "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." I certainly have and generally when I see it I quietly agree with the driver and take the encouragement that comes with seeing a fellow soldier in the Lord's army. Just this evening, though, I had a thought as I was driving home from Bible study. "Should Jesus be my boss?" Now before you go casting judgment on the thought let me explain what I mean. I propose that instead if being a "boss" we should be looking at God and Christ as "Master." I'll explain by looking at some differences in the idea of boss and master.

Difference #1: Why were you hired?

When an individual is hired for a job by an employer it is for a specific reason. Perhaps a particular skill, talent or level of education qualifies someone for a particular job. The employer hires the person that is the most qualified to fulfill the task. Granted, this is the way it is supposed to work. …