by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Esther 7
I. There is a phrase popular in our culture, “I have become my own worst enemy.”
A. It is the realization that in our struggles against what we perceive as evil or wrong, we end up realizing that we are the source of our greatest problems.
B. I have a comic of a man praying, “Strike mine enemies, Lord! Strike my worse enemy with a plague of locusts!” As a cloud of locusts swarm around his head, we see him saying, “Let me rephrase that.”
II. The wicked are their own worst enemy
A. Sins bind the wicked and capture him - Proverbs 5:21-22
B. Caught by their own wickedness - Proverbs 11:5
C. Wicked people plot violence, but they fall into their own traps - Psalm 7:11-16
D. Wickedness traps the wicked - Ecclesiastes 10:8-9
A. You reap what you sow - Galatians 6:7-8
1. Usually you get a bigger crop than what you plant - Hosea 8:7
2. He’ll get his reward - Isaiah 3:11
B. Evil is dangerous. It causes harm. And like most dangerous things, it isn’t discriminating as to who is harmed.
1. Snared in his own work - Psalm 9:16
2. Evil pursues the evil - Proverbs 13:21
C. The wicked are following lust - I John 2:15-17
1. But the problem is lust has no limits - Proverbs 11:6
2. Thus they tend to keep going and going further until it collapses - II Timothy 3:13
D. Sin is a snare. It is a slave driver - Romans 6:16
1. It appears to be freedom from rules - Romans 6:20-21
2. The sinner is a slave - John 8:34
3. But they don’t see the chains - II Peter 2:19
4. People caught by drugs, pornography, gambling, hatred who are pulled along by their own sins to repeat them and go further.
E. They don’t learn - Hosea 4:6
1. To the wicked, God’s teachings are just a bunch of rules - Isaiah 28:13
2. They are strange things to him - Hosea 8:11-12
3. They hate instruction - Psalm 50:16-17
4. To put it bluntly, they’re stupid - Proverbs 12:1
5. They sin against themselves - Proverbs 8:36
F. They won’t change - Jeremiah 6:16-17
G. Thus, in the end, the sinner reveals himself - Numbers 32:23
IV. The shame is that it doesn’t have to be this way
A. God doesn’t want any lost - II Peter 3:9
B. He pleads with the wicked to change - Ezekiel 18:21-23
C. God’s laws aren’t just rules, they are a benefit
1. For people’s good - Deuteronomy 10:12-13
2. To preserve them - Deuteronomy 6:24
3. To give you and your descendants long life - Deuteronomy 6:2; Jeremiah 32:37-39
4. There is reward in keeping them - Psalm 19:7-11
V. Which is it to be?
A. Apparent freedom while trapped by your own lusts? Or true freedom in guilt-free living while following sensible laws?
B. A life that goes from bad to worse? Or a life that blossoms like a dawning day?
C. Proverbs 4:14-19
D. You have an opportunity this moment to turn your life around and dedicate yourself to serving God. Won’t you take advantage of it?