Summary: Lessons from Esther about working with God
“Esther: God and Man work together”
Intro: One of the favorite stories I have heard Tim Brown tell frequently since I’ve been here is the story about the man isolated in the flood. As the waters rose, he prayed for God to deliver him. A man in a rowboat came by as the water was up to the steps: he said, God will save me. Two men in a motorboat came by when the water was up to the first floor: he said, God will save me. A helicopter came by when the water was up to the roof: he still said, God will save me. He finally died in the flood and went to heaven. He asked the Lord, “Why didn’t you save me?” to which the Lord replied, “What did you want, I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
Often as we look at our circumstances it is easy to forget to look for God’s hand at work in our lives. Often God works in the ordinary day to day affairs of our lives to accomplish his will. I think we see a perfect example of this in the book of Esther.
Read Esther 4:7-14
Esther is a book about how God works through our lives. God desires to partner together with us to accomplish his purposes in the world.
I. The Instruction of Esther
A. God had been active preparing events for the day of Esther.
As we look at the nation of Israel, we see a people who had rejected their God. Yet he has not rejected them. He punished them, sending them away into captivity. Yet he maintains his love for them. Let’s see how he had been at work.
*Esther 2:5-7 - We see God’s care for an orphan girl - providing her a home
*Same - we see God’s provision of beautiful form and features for her
*E 2:8 - we see the opportunity for Esther to be considered as the queen
*E 2:9 - we see Esther provided with cosmetics, food, housing, and servants
*2:17 - we see Esther gaining the king’s favor
B. Esther chose to partner with God in saving her people
Esther is confronted by a plot to assassinate all the Jews. Let’s look at her response. She could very easily let all the Jews perish, trying to save herself, but she refused to do that.
She knew, as she was reminded by her cousin Mordecai, she had been placed in her position for the purposes of God. So, what did she do?
*4:16 - she gathers support - all the Jews is Susa fast for three days
*same - Esther makes a commitment: she decides she will act
*5:1 - she makes preparations - she puts on her royal robes to appear before the king
*5:4 - she makes a careful presentation - asking first for a picnic, then another, then her life
C. God honors Esther’s faithfulness
*6:10 - God honors Mordecai
*7:6 - Haman is denounced
*8:8 - Haman’s plan is overthrown
*8:17 - Many become Jews
*10:3 - Mordecai becomes second in command to the king
Think of how God works! He takes his people into captivity because of their sin, but then while in captivity, he places his people as the queen of the empire and the second in command over the whole realm.
God works in response to Esther’s willingness to realize her part in God’s plan and her obedience in doing her part.
II. The Application of Esther
A. God has worked in our past
Whoever we are today, God can use our past experiences to glorify himself. If you are crippled, that does not mean that God crippled you. But God can use any handicaps to bring glory to himself. Whatever culture or environment or situation you have experienced, God can use it for the good of the kingdom of God.
Look at the person you are today. Can you see how God has worked in your past?
Are you willing to let him use you as you are for his glory?
B. We must choose whether to work with God
Once we see who we are, we have a choice to make as to whether we are willing to serve God. Maybe God has you in the job you are in because he needs someone with your experience and skills there to speak out for him. Are you willing to be used for him?
Often we see what God wants us to do, but we hesitate to go through with it. We might know that God wants us to speak out, be we become fearful or timid or ashamed.
Esther was willing to put her life on the line to speak out for God. Are we?
C. God will honor our efforts to honor him