Big Idea: Human systems of recognition are flawed and will never replace God’s perfect understanding of all we have done and why. Idolatry is a constant battle within our own hearts and in places where we live. We are called to obey government so long as that obedience does not disobey our call to worship and obey God alone.
- Telling the story
- What have you done for me lately? (2:22-23)
- The other guy gets the promotion. (3:1)
- A call to worship your boss? (3:2a)
- Mordecai refuses. (3:2b)
- Mordecai’s colleagues confront him. (3:3-4)
- Haman tests Mordecai and boils over with anger. (3:5)
- Timeless truth and living differently
- Our work and contributions will often be forgotten by man but not by God.
- The desire to be worshiped is the heart of idolatry.
- Systems of idolatry are powerful and have their supporters who perpetuate them.
- New Testament teaching: Submit to God’s delegated authority through government. (Romans 13)
- People of faith will have to disobey governing authority when obedience to God compels it.
- Have you even been in an organization or a family that was quick to forget the contributions of others? What was that like?
Have you seen the opposite extreme—that is, people living on the glory of things long since gone?
How do you walk in balance between the two?
- Have you ever had to deal with someone getting a promotion that by your estimation they didn’t deserve? How did that feel? How did you handle your feelings?
- What role does recognition play in your motivation level? Do you need your work recognized frequently? What is the danger of needing too much affirmation?
Does affirming someone’s work automatically lead to pride?
In church culture, is it appropriate to give praise to people?
What is the difference between thanks and praise? When does thanks turn into praise?
- Does a Christian have to a duty to obey the government? Is that the case if the government isn’t “Christian”? Was Rome Christian?
Is it possible to have our duty to obey government conflict with our duty to obey God?
- Would you get rid of your Bible if there was a law that commanded you to do so? Would that be a law a Christian should disobey?
Would you stop gathering for worship if there was a law that commanded it?
- Do you think we will ever see official persecution of believers in America? Why or why not?
- Why do you suppose that people want to be praised? Why did Haman want Mordecai to bow down to him?
What does that look like today? Can you think of any expression where you can see man’s desire to be praised or worshiped?
- Are you prepared to disobey an ungodly law because obeying God would require you to do so?
How does one express a commitment to refuse to bow down to anyone or anything but God?