The Queen of the Castle

Mothers are divinely appointed and strategically placed influencers for the Kingdom of God. There is no more important, rewarding, and taxing role than being a mother. Few titles or tasks will measure up to a mother’s role in the family and in the world. The Bible has a lot to say about the role of women in the Kingdom of God and in the church. It especially extols the traits of a virtuous woman. Solomon said that her value was “far more precious than jewels,” a poetic way of saying that a virtuous woman is priceless in a morally dark world (Proverbs 31:10).

Since Sunday is Mother’s Day, I’m going to take a look at one of the great heroines of the Bible. She is one of the ladies after whom only two books in the Bible are named. Her name is Esther. There is no doubt that she shines in a bunch of ways, not the least of which is in her character and example. 

Let me list some of the character traits of her life as an encouragement to all our beloved ladies at City Centre:

  • She was humble without demeaning herself (2:7).

Esther would always remember her modest upbringing, but she would never be ashamed of the plain roots that lined the pathway of her life.

  • She was favoured without trying (2:15).

Esther found herself being widely received by the people of her day without attempting to be. She was apparently able to accept the recent surge of notoriety without losing her head. She was well anchored in the grace of “keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground.”

  • She was promoted without campaigning (2:17).

And promoted she was, all the way to the throne, in fact (never discount God’s ability in the lives of the least likely). She was effortlessly promoted (at least from Esther’s perspective) because she left her station in life to God’s choosing. Esther simply went about her business with grace and dignity, and before she knew it, she was sitting on the throne as the queen of one of the most powerful kings in the history of the ancient world.

  • She was loyal without being patronizing (2:22).

It seems to me that loyalty is passé in our world. Insincere patronizing, on the other hand, is in. But Esther stands in stark contrast to such corrupt thinking. She could be trusted at all costs, even for her own safety. 

  • She was strong without being disconnected (4:16).

Whatever it takes to do the right thing in any given situation, Esther will do it. But in the heat of the battle, she never tried to “go it alone.” She wisely and willingly invited others into the battle that she would face. Her uncle, Mordecai, was her trusted counsellor and friend. Again, I say, she modelled the humility of listening to good counsel. She listened to her uncle’s warnings and feedback. 

  • She was brave without being obnoxious (4:16).

She would risk her very own life without being heroic about it. 

  • She was successful without being selfish.

All the while Esther was faithfully serving God, He was using her successes to bless her people, the Jews. 

The Book of Esther is the story of a heart stopping last-minute deliverance for the Jews. It’s a heart-thumping chronicle of a divine reversal of otherwise certain annihilation for the Jews. Glory to God that His chosen people were spared certain doom. But Glory to God, the ancestral line through which the Messiah would come was held firmly intact, even against the greatest of odds. And Esther played a vital role in the saga. 

Church family, join us on Sunday morning for a closer look at the story of Esther, the Queen of the Castle. I look forward to seeing you at one of our two identical services at 1075 Eglinton Avenue West at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Pastor Deric

Knowledge + Love = FREEDOM

It’s your right to disagree. I’ll go one step further: if you disagree, it is your responsibility to say so; that is to say, your actions need to be consistent with your conscience. That’s freedom, isn’t it? Depending on the matter being disagreed upon, one is not bound to speak up every time one disagrees. There are minor disagreements, and there are major disagreements. I’m sure you are not surprised to learn that Christians disagree with one another like everyone else, and they have since the earliest recorded history of the church. The 8th chapter of 1 Corinthians is Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians on the matters they inquired about, namely, eating meat offered to idols. Some said, “No problem,” and others said, “No way.” Paul offered a 3-part teaching on the matter of the tension between knowledge, love, and one’s personal freedom in debatable matters. 


  1. What do I need to know in order to make the best decision?


In the first part of Paul’s counsel to the Corinthians, he guides them to think clearly about the advantages and disadvantages that come from being knowledgeable about spiritual matters. Recall that he did say of the Corinthians that they were “enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge” (1 Corinthians 1:5). Obviously, it’s a very good thing to be well taught in the truth. But it seems that the Corinthians were running on the arrogant side of their knowledge. They wondered why they should even be bothered with the argument about meat offered to idols since they knew the truth about the power of an idol. Paul warned them that although it was commendable to be well informed, knowledge also has the power to swell one’s head. An inflated ego limits one’s ability to see the needs of others clearly. 


  1. Who will my choice impact?


As an antidote to arrogance, Paul pointed out that love takes the needs of others, especially those who have not yet matured, into account. Love gladly restrains my freedom of choice for the sake of the “weaker brother.” Knowledge must be bounded by love. After all, as Paul will teach later in Corinthians, “the greatest of these is love.”

“It is here that love enters the picture, for “love builds up” and puts others first. When spiritual knowledge is used in love, the stronger Christian can take the hand of the weaker Christian and help him to stand and walk so as to enjoy his freedom in Christ. You cannot force-feed immature believers and transform them into giants. Knowledge must be mixed with love; otherwise, the saints will end up with “big heads” instead of enlarged hearts. A famous preacher used to say, “Some Christians grow; others just swell.” (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary)


  1. Is my conscience clear on the matter?


So far, Paul has cautioned the Corinthians to keep knowledge in the right perspective. He has urged the Corinthians to be motivated by love for the sake of the weaker brother. Now he moves to his third and final argument in this chapter, namely, taking the matter of conscience seriously. He tells the Corinthians that if they only act in solidarity with their own conscience, they may in fact end up sinning against Christ. Here’s how he puts it in verses 10 to 13. “For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”


Church family, I look forward to digging deeper into this chapter on Sunday morning. I’ll see you at either the 9 a.m. or the 11 a.m. service. 



Pastor Deric