Tony Evans — Divine Coincidences
Our world is consumed with the concept of luck, chance happenings that just kind of take place. People will regularly say, "Boy, you sure are lucky." Or the opposite, something is bad luck.
Esther says that "there is no such thing as luck, there is providence." Providence looks like luck, feels like luck. It gives the impression of chance happenings, when reality is, that it is the puppet master at work. God causing or allowing things and events to work toward his purposes.
For the purposes of God cannot be thwarted. And he takes the good, the bad, and the ugly, and makes it look like it just kinda happened, randomly. Providence is God's way of staying anonymous.
If he doesn't wanna be out front and be spectacular God, he will work behind the scenes providentially so that it looks like what I call in the sermon, "A coincidence." Well, if you just must use the word "luck," at least don't say, "Good luck," say, "God luck."
Today, we're going to go on a journey. Yeah, it's a journey because you're going to discover today, as part of this journey in chapters 5 and 6, you're going to discover God being the Author of coincidences.
Now, I use that word simply because it's a word we recognize. The real word is "providence," but it looks like coincidences, looks like things just kinda randomly happened. The reason that this is important is because I want to help me and you and us recognize divine things that look like coincidences.
Chapter opens up, stay with me here, we're going on a journey: "On the third day," 'cause it was a 3-day fast, "Esther puts on her royal robe, she goes to the inner court of the king, the king is sittin' on his throne. When the king sees her," in verse 2, "he extends the scepter," which means it's okay for her to come in and talk to him.
"She comes near, touches the top of the scepter," out of respect, "and the king says to her, 'What is troubling you,'" verse 3, "'Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it will be given you. Just tell me what you want.'"
Esther says, in verse 4, "If it pleases the king, may the king and Haman," who is out to kill the Jews, "come this day to the banquet that I have prepared for him." "I'm gonna tell ya around dinner. We're gonna--I'm gonna fix your favorite food. We gonna lay it out, and I want you to bring Haman, and I'm gonna tell you then what's going on around dinner."
Before we go any deeper, let me explain somethin'. You will never get to see God's providence at work in your circumstances until and unless God sees you move in accordance with his will. The reason she prays first is because she needs to know how to approach this dangerous situation.
She needs some divine insight in a difficult problem. So, she goes to God in fasting, but she couldn't just say, "I'mma fast, I'mma pray, and I'm gonna wait on God."
No, she was instructed to go before the king. She had to take a step of faith. Many of us are waiting on God when God is really waiting on us. Whenever God did, or most of the time, when God was gettin' ready to do something big, the people had to do something first.
The people had to do something first. Moses had to hold out the rod before God would open the Red Sea. The priest had to step in the river before God would open up the Jordan. Mary had to move the stone before God would raise up Lazarus. And God would not move until they moved. He has to see you believe him, not hear you talk about believing him.
Faith is measured by footsteps, by your feet, by your walk, not your talk, by your life, not your lips, by your movement, not your mouth. Let me tell you what fasting measured married to faith does. It allows God to reveal to you a plan.
See, when you don't know what to do, then God has to give you an idea. He has to plant a thought in your mind about something you didn't naturally come up with about how you should approach this problem that you don't know how to fix, on your job, in your relationship, or with your career, or with your money, or with your whatever it is, that "I don't know how to fix this. I'mma move in faith. I'm gonna go before God and pick up my antennas. God, I need you to pour in a signal that I can pick up."
See, the reason why we're not seeing God manipulate things for us, even though he may be manipulating 'em, but because we are not moving as he wants us to move, we don't see what he's doing.