Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The dangers of disconnection

We're working our way through Esther on Sunday morning's and as I prepared for last Sunday I couldn't help but notice how isolated and disconnected from the people of God she has become.  As all the rest of God's people mourn in sackcloth and ashes Esther is not.  And when Esther hears of Mordecai's actions she doesn't join him in mourning instead she sends him clothes to put on.  On the surface it sounds callous.  But the real problem is that Esther doesn't know what is going on.  She knows nothing about the threat to God's people posed by Haman's decree.  Keeping her nationality hidden means no-one knows that this concerns her and Esther's compromise with the world leads to isolation which in turn leads to disconnection from the people of God.  In fact so disconnected is Esther that she seems to feel she'll be OK, shielded by her position and palace life - hence Mordecai's rebuke.  It takes the encouragements and challenges of Mordecai to make her stand as one of God's people.

As I studied the chapter it occurred to me that this pattern is a recurring one in the bible.  In Genesis 38 Judah isolates himself from his brothers and goes to stay with Hiram and basically lives as he likes, sleeping with what he assumes is a shrine prostitute.  David, isolated from his men because he stays at home in the palace, sees, pursues, and commits adultery with Bathsheba and then murders Uriah.  Peter finds himself isolated by the courtyard fire and ends up denying he knows Jesus.

Isolation and disconnection for the people of God is dangerous.  It is hard to live in the world but not be of the world on our own.  Which is why we are not on our own.  Esther needs Mordecai to challenge and encourage her.  Judah needs Tamar's actions which act as rebuke to make him realise how far he has fallen.  David needs Nathan's prophetic challenge.  Peter needs Jesus' loving restoration into the church.

Why would we be any different?  We need one another and God knowing that gifted us the church.  So invest in the relationships you have there.  Connect don't just attend.  Be discipled and disciple others don't settle for being a consumer because disconnection is dangerous for the people of God.

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