Summary: A sermon built on the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure series "More Than Survivors."
Esther: The Orphan Who Saved A Nation
The story I’m going to share with you today reads like a made for television movie. In it we’ll find, suspense, intrigue, betrayal, conspiracy, and treachery. The cast of characters includes: a king, a queen that loses her throne, an orphan girl who becomes a queen and saves the day, a man of God, of course a villain. Yes, a person could take the story of Esther and make it into a quite interesting TV movie of the week.
Our story begins innocently enough with the King of Persia, Xerxes throwing an elaborate banquet for all his nobles and officials. This was a major shin-dig. There was food, the drink flowed freely, and there were dancing girls. But this was no Saturday afternoon get together. Xerxes and his cadre of friends partied hard for a solid week.
By the seventh day, the king and his guests had been drinking heavily. He was, as the scripture says, “in high spirits from wine.” In other words he was plastered. In his present condition he wasn’t thinking to clearly and he ordered his queen, Vashti (Vash Tie), to come out and display herself before the king and his guests–wearing only her crown. You see she was quite beautiful and the king wanted to show her off. He sent for her but, not wanting to be paraded around before a bunch of drunken men, clad only in her royal tiara, she refused.
Well, her refusal really ticked off the king. He decided it was such a serious matter that he would consult with his advisors about it. They tell him that Vashti has done wrong, not only to him but to all men in the king’s provinces. Why, you ask? Because, if the queen can refuse to obey the king’s command, then obviously, all women will follow her example and disobey their husbands too. They said to the king, “There will be no end of disrespect and discord.”
The advisor’s instruct the king to depose queen Vashti and find a new queen–perhaps one who was less opinionated and defiant. His advisors tell him this will ensure that, “all the women will respect their husbands from the least to the greatest.” So the decree went out that every woman should obey her husband and that every man should be the ruler over his own household.
Now this part of the passage should come with a warning: MEN DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! Trust me, it doesn’t work.
After Xerxes’ gets rid of Vashti, he decides to have his whole kingdom searched for beautiful young women to come and make their bid for the throne. The girls were to be groomed and pampered for several months, then each one, in turn, were to spend some time with the king. From that experience he would decide which one would become his new queen. Sort of like the game show, “Who Wants to Marry A Millionaire?” This was called “Who Wants to Marry A King?”
So, all the land is scoured for beautiful young female candidates to become queen: enter Esther.
When she was just a little girl, Esther became an orphan when her father and mother died. Mordecai, her cousin, raised Esther from childhood, as if she were his own daughter. Esther now a young woman, is selected as one who will be introduced to the king.
Everyone who looked upon Esther was captivated by her beauty. And wouldn’t you know it, when Esther is brought before the king, he finds her more beautiful and desirable than all the other women. The king, completely taken with Esther’s beauty, makes her his queen.
Now there was one man who was one of the king’s closest friends. His name is Haman. He’s a guy with an ego that was bigger than all outdoors. Haman convinces Xerxes to make a decree that whenever Haman is around everyone in his presence should bow down to him. Talk about egocentric!
But Mordecai, is a Jew and he will only bow to God. Mordecai flatly refuses to bow down to Haman. And as you might imagine this gets Haman’s goat.
Rather than just blowing it off, Haman stews about it. So Haman devises a plan to exterminate not just Mordecai but all the Jews in Persia because Mordecai won’t bow to him. The scriptures say, “Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”
Haman tells Xerxes that there are a group of people who do not honor the king’s command–specifically the one about bowing to Haman. He says, “If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued to destroy them . . .” Xerxes tells Haman to do as he pleases with the Jews. So a decree goes out with the king’s seal to “destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews–young and old, women and little children.”