Imagine the exasperation of a young piano student who has memorized his piece, he has hit every note with complete accuracy, but his teacher says “you don’t have it right yet.” What’s wrong? His fingers have it right, but his heart isn’t in it. Our boy’s hearts were never in it, so even though they could play the notes, it wasn’t working. You can play all the notes perfect and have it come off boring and lifeless and fruitless. Jesus said this was the problem with the scribes and Pharisees.
I have three Sunday’s left in our summer before we turn our attention to the fall. Since we have been focusing on fruit this summer I have decided, Lord willing, to devote these three remaining summer sermons to three more fruits. The fruit of repentance. The fruit of righteousness. The fruit of our labors. Fruit is a wonderful thing, how does it fit with repentance. Can repentance be fruitful and if so how does it produce fruit? What is the fruit that grows out of repentance and how do we bear fruit that is worthy of our repentance?
We know from verse 16 that we are now four years after the parties in chapter one and the dethronement of Vashti. In that time Ahasuerus raised an army of nearly 200,000 and a naval fleet and went off to fight Greece. He was humiliated in defeat by a much smaller army and now was back home licking his wounds and feeling lonely. Again we see Ahasuerus not making any decisions without consulting others. They devise a plan that pleases the king which is no surprise, as he is clearly a man taken in by excess and anything self-indulgent.
We have spent nine weeks talking about the fruit of the Spirit and how to cultivate this fruit, so we can reap spiritual fruitfulness, which is another way of saying godly Christian character. In Galatians 5 Paul says the evidences of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life are nine things. Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. We are in the middle of fruit season and fruit harvest here in Whatcom County. We more than most people appreciate fruit and the gift fruit is to us from God. And we understand fruit takes time. Bearing fruit takes time and something else.
ueen’s refusal. The first nine verses of Esther serve as a kind of preface or introduction. They are setting the stage for the story that really begins in this evenings text. Now things start happening, the dominos start to fall. For 187 days the greatest king of the greatest empire has been throwing a lavish Bacchanalian feast for hundreds or thousands of guests. The party doubled as a war council to impress all the leaders of the empire of the king’s resources and resolve to pick a fight with the Greeks. Everything so far is meant to impress them and us of his vast wealth, power and authority. But the balloon of the king’s ego is about to be popped. For all his pomp and power, he can’t control his wife or make her bend to his will. The king and his subjects have been drinking for seven days. Everyone is merry with wine, which is a nice way of saying drunk out of their minds. On the seventh day the king commands his seven court officials, “to bring Queen Vashti before the king with her royal crown, in order to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was lovely to look at.”