Summary: 1. A lesson from the urgent pardon (vs. 1-3). 2. A lesson from the unexpected plan (vs. 3-8). 3. A lesson from the uncontrolled pride (vs. 9-13). 4. A lesson from the ungodly plot (vs. 14).
For Such a Time as This
Part 5: Eternal Truth from Esther’s Trouble
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 17, 2012
*Four weeks ago, we began to look at this story that took place almost 500 years before Jesus was born. The Jews had begun to go home after 70 years of Babylonian captivity, but many of them remained in Persia. It was the greatest empire of the day, stretching all the way from Ethiopia to India. And it was ruled by a carnal and often cruel king named Ahasuerus or Xerxes.
*At the end of a 6-month drunken celebration, the king commanded that the queen be brought before that crowd. He wanted to put Queen Vashti on display in an ungodly and indecent way, but Vashti refused. So in a drunken rage, King Xerxes agreed to a plan to take the crown away from Vashti and give it to another.
*In the Providence of God, against incredible odds, Esther the orphan and secret Jew was chosen to be the new queen. Esther’s selection as the new queen turned out to be a matter of life and death for the whole Jewish people. That’s because the new Prime Minister, Haman, hated the Jews and convinced the king to issue an irreversible decree to slaughter them all.
*Esther 3:13 explains that “letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions.”
*Jews all over the empire were devastated when they heard the terrible news. But living in the isolation of the queen’s house, Esther did not know about the slaughter planned for her people, until she was alerted by Mordecai. He was the older cousin who adopted Esther upon the death of her parents.
*Communicating through messengers, Esther first learned of the murderous decree. Then she was persuaded to risk her life by coming before the king to plead for her people. Listen again to the heart of the drama in Esther 4:10-17:
10. Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai:
11. "All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days."
12. So they told Mordecai Esther's words.
13. And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.
14. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
15. Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:
16. "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!"
17. So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.
*Now as we move into chapter 5, we can learn more eternal truth from Esther’s trouble.
1. First: God gives us a lesson from the urgent pardon.
*I am talking about the pardon that Esther so desperately needed from King Xerxes. We read about it in vs. 1-2:
1. Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace, across from the king's house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house.
2. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.
*As strange as it may seem to us, Esther was facing the death penalty for appearing before the king uninvited. But vs. 2 tells us that Esther found “favor” in the sight of the king.
*The word translated as “favor” here also means “grace,” “graciousness” or “acceptance.” It’s the same word used in Genesis 6:8, where “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”