“Esther and Mordecai decided to bring about God’s purposes. And in this, they become an example for us of the power of the faithful remnant,” Pastor Peter Tsukahira preached on the power of the faithful remnant on 20th June in the PJ Evangelical Free Church in the SOM Conference 2015.
What did Esther and Mordecai have in Persia? They were exiles, outsiders, and minorities, without wealth, influence, and power. But because they were willing to use the gifts God gave them, they delivered the whole Jewish nation from execution.
The decision Esther and Mordecai made is right yet risky. And because they were willing, the power and authority of the king of Persia who ruled from India to Ethiopia shifted on the beautiful and little shoulders of Esther.
“By making those right decisions and being part of what God wants Esther to do, she and Mordecai actually turned the course of history,” said Pastor Peter, in illustrating the power of the faithful remnant.
In fact, the Bible says that God chose Israel not because they were a mighty nation but rather, He loved them. (Deut 7:7-8)
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
“God loves the small. He looks for the small, the weak, and the humble who has those characters – the willingness to follow Him, the trust in Him, and the willingness to make the right decision.
“And I think being an exile is part of the remnant experience. The more I read the Bible, the more I see it over and over again. God uses people who are exiles. And you are an exile for many reasons,” said Pastor Peter.
Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and ended up as an exile and a convict in a foreign land. Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince, but he became an exile as a shepherd in Midian. And although David was anointed as king, he lived as a fugitive to escape King Saul, surrounded by outcasts and people who had similar troubles. Yet, this is the type of person that God specifically chose.
“God says, ‘That’s a man (David) who’s after my own heart. I am going to give him authority. I am going to establish his kingdom that will never end.’ Again and again, God does not only just choose the small, the weak, and the helpless to accomplish his purpose, but He specifically looked for the exile.
“And Esther and Mordecai? I mean they are the classic exile, they are a remnant and I believe the faithful remnants are exiles in some way,” said Pastor Peter.
In fact, Pastor Peter identified with the feeling of being an exile. Born in the United States, his grandparents emigrated from Japan over 100 years ago. However, they only became citizens after decades. And when World War Two happened, many Japanese were shipped out of California and held custody, due to the war hysteria. And at ten year old, Pastor Peter’s family moved to Japan. While he looked like a Japanese, he spoke like an American.
“I am used to this right now. My citizenship is in Him. And so, I am telling you something that is not far from my own story, and not far from my own experiences as well.
“God definitely in my case, chooses the foolish things to confound the wise and the weak things to confound the strong. And I have seen Him from time and time again, look for the small, look for the insignificant, look for the weak, so that He can be shown to be truly a great God,” said Pastor Peter Tsukahira.
And as a part of a faithful remnant, you need to find your gift and calling from God. You need to get your identity in God. Had Pastor Peter not found his identity in God and settled his citizenship in Heaven, he would be a confused man today.
“You have to understand your calling and find your gift to God because at the end of the day, God says, ‘I will never change my mind about you. I will never change my mind about your gift and about your calling,” said Pastor Peter, based on Romans 11:28.
…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. (Romans 11:28)
“When you get that, you felt that it is true, something that is real, every day in your life, you have something that God will not take away. Your financial system can change, you friends can change, your world can change around you.
“But your gift and your calling will never change. So, when you partner with Him, you need to find that. And that’s what you see in Esther and Mordecai,” said Pastor Peter.
Not only Esther is given the gift of beauty, she has character, courage, and wisdom to make the right decision. Mordecai, on the other hand, had two kinds of wisdom including worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom.
“Listen, there’s nothing second-class about worldly wisdom. It just means that you understand how the world works. You got to have someone around who does. And Esther needed a Mordecai,” said Pastor Peter.
Mordecai knew about the political situation and power struggles in Persia and the position of Haman in planning for the execution. He understood how the world worked and had a practical worldly wisdom. Not only that, he had spiritual wisdom from knowing who God is.
“Friends, if you don’t think that this is an advantage, you need to think again because knowing God and knowing who He is, gives you tremendous advantage in every area of your life if you’re willing to see it as wisdom.
“He says, ‘Listen Esther, you got make life decisions and you got to step out now because God has plans that He will accomplish in our nation with or without us.’ He knew this about God.
For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
“And so, you put that together, you got this worldly understand about the power struggles that are going on in the nation and add to that, the spiritual wisdom he had about God and His Kingdom, Mordecai is the ideal counsellor for the beautiful and courageous Esther,” said Pastor Peter.
Mordecai and Esther make a very powerful faithful remnant. And to be a remnant, you need to learn to work together, so that by using the different gifts and strengths together, they can be maximized.
“This is exactly what we see in Esther and Mordecai. So, they were a chosen combination and the power began to shift. They put their plan and action. And in the end, it results in the deliverance of their people,” said Pastor Peter.
How powerful exactly is a faithful remnant? Pastor Peter shared that our father in faith Abraham, was the first person God made into Israel. In fact, Abraham was not a Jewish person, to begin with before God called him. He was just a man residing in the Ur of the Chaldeans.
“God found Abraham to be a man of faithfulness, a man of trust, and a man of obedience. So, later on in the Bible, it says that God spoke to Abraham the Hebrew. And so, for the first time, we realize that he becomes the first Jew, the first of the people we know as the Jews,” said Pastor Peter.
Abraham is a special example of what it means to be a faithful remnant. Moving out of the Ur of Chaldeans with his nephew Lot, they finally split because of their great flock.
Lot moved to Sodom and Gomorrah, where idolatry, corruption, and lawlessness happened. And while God planned to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?” since Abraham will surely become a great and mighty nation and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him?” (Gen 18:17-18)
“You know when you are part of that faithful remnant, and you have dedicated yourself to obedience to God and following Him, God reveals His Secrets to you. I don’t mean in the latest Christian books, dreams or visions.
“But I think what God gives is wisdom and understanding… God reveals His Secrets to Abraham, just the way the secrets of his plans were revealed to Mordecai who then shared with Esther.
“It’s something about in this remnant of God – listening to Him and being ready to do what He said,” said Pastor Peter.
Hence, God sent an angel down to Abraham to have a conversation with him. And we know that Abraham started to bargain with God in not destroying Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of his nephew Lot and his family.
Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:23-25)
“Abraham was so bold about this. And what made him bold is that he knows the character of God,” said Pastor Peter.
Because of his friendship with God, Abraham bargained from 50 righteous people to 45, to 40, to 30, to 20, and finally 10 people. This was how Abraham approached the Lord one last time in his bargaining, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” (Gen 18:32)
“Actually, those of you who know about the Jewish tradition, they will not start a synagogue service until they have a minion or ten Jewish. ‘Only then, we can start to worship God’ and it’s from this verse. All you need is a remnant,” said Pastor Peter.
He added, “We know from the Bible that Sodom was destroyed. But Sodom as wicked as it was, was not destroyed just because of her sin. God was willing to spare the whole sin in spite of her own sin.
“God was wiling to destroy Sodom because it lacked a faithful remnant. This is the power, the leverage, and the authority you have when you are part of the faithful remnant.”
And although the world may look at the mighty, powerful, rich, and beautiful, God loves the small things. And God has all the might, the power, the richness, and the beauty in this world. But He looks for the faithful remnant to invest His affirming power.
“When the righteous remnant like Esther and Mordecai do the right thing and put themselves on the line, it just moved the heart of God. God says, ‘I am going to fight the battle for you. I am going before them. I am going to stir the whole place for them. I will make them the head and not the tail,’” said Pastor Peter.
So, how do we act as a righteous remnant?
‘You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“It only takes a little bit of salt to change the taste of anything. You don’t want to eat too much. In fact, I think we should be like salt solution, saline solution,” said Pastor Peter, explaining that saline solution is typically the first liquid administered to hospital patients to normalize their blood pressures.
“That saline drop, all of it is water and salt. And it has to be salty enough to do some good. Without enough salt in it, it’s useless, it’s just water. But if you have too much of salt, it’s poison.
“I think in any society, that faithful remnant is to be like that saline solution… We help the wounded, the broken, the battered, we bring to them life and we want to be salt to them in the society. We need to learn to find the balance between too little and too much,” said Pastor Peter.
Besides salt, Jesus wants us to be the light of the world. And it does not take a lot to light up the world but it takes genuine and real light.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
“Let say God found His ten righteous sons and daughters, will we be ready to be the head and not the tail? When Esther and Mordecai got the king’s favour and attention, they were able to say to him that this is what we want to do and this is what needs to happen.
“Not only did they suggest, they have a plan in place. I want to pray for each of you. I believe that God is calling a righteous remnant here. And He wants to impart in each of us to stir up in us that gift and calling,
“Lord, I want to call this church today in a time of great change. You call us together to prophetically look forward and prepare ourselves to be like Mordecai and Esther – to make the right decision, to stir up the courage in us, to step up in our gift and calling.
“I pray that they will understand that it is time for the body of Christ to rise up and to understand the fullness of God’s authority that He wants to invest in His people today,” said Pastor Peter in closing the first session of the SOM Conference.
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Written by Adeline Lum