Summary: The Story of Esther is a story of God’s providence. Esther’s obedience, faithfulness, prayerfulness and self sacrificing attitude made it possible for God to use her. Those same attributes will allow God to use us as well.
Esther: Queen for a Day
Queen For A Day (sympathy contest, hosted by Jack Bailey)(Local Los Angeles TV, 1948 - 1956) (NBC Daytime, 1956 - 60) (ABC Daytime, 1960 - 64)
It was not really a quiz show, since there were no questions or stunts; it was just a relating of the sob stories of women who had many hardships; then the audience "voted" using an applause meter, which was really a volume unit indicator, or "VU Meter" as to which woman was most deserving of help. Presumably the others went away with token gifts...Only the woman crowned "Queen For A Day" got help, and it was piled on her -- many prizes, and of course something to help her most vexing problem.
The story of Esther is a story of courage, obedience, and faithfulness of a young woman in a foreign land. It is also a story of providential care by God of his people in a time of danger.
The story takes place in Persia during the reign of Ahaserus (Xerxes) (485-465 BC). In the third year of his reign, queen Vasti is deposed because of disobedience to the king. Obviously this was before the days of women’s liberation.
The king then sends into all the provinces for prospective brides to be brought to Susa so he could select a new queen.
Esther is taken to Susa where she is selected to be queen. As the story unfolds, Esther uses her position to save the life not only of her uncle but of all the Jews in Persia. The purpose of the story to the Jews was to explain the origin of the feast of Purim (Vss. 3:7; 9:24-32). The name Purim is derived from “the lots” which Haman, cast concerning the Jews’ fate while they were in Persia (Vs. 3:6).
Haman’s hostility against the Jews began to fester when Mordecai, a Jew, would not bow and give reverence to Haman, whom the king had exalted above all the princes of Persia (Vss.. 3:1-2). To avenge his wounded pride Haman got the king to issue a proclamation for all the non-Jews to kill and take the property of the Jews on the 13th of Adar (Vss. 3:8-13).
The Jews initiated the ‘Feast of Purim’ after God miraculously delivered them from an extermination plot (Vss. 9:17-24). Israel celebrated the ‘Feast of Purim’ on the 14th and 15th of the month Adar. The feast of Purim this year will occur on March 14, 2006.
This story will reveal Esther’s obedience, faithfulness and courage. We will see her willingness to sacrifice herself for her people, her recognition of God’s hand in her life, and the power of prayer. Although the name of God is never mentioned by name in the book of Esther, we will see his providential care throughout the story.
I. Background Vss. 2:5-7
Cousin of Mordecai
Hebrew name - Hadassah (Myrtle)
Persian name - Esther (Star or Good Fortune)
II. Obedient Vss. 2:10,15,20
Arabian horses go through rigorous training in the deserts of the Middle East. The trainers require absolute obedience from the horses, and test them to see if they are completely trained. The final test is almost beyond the endurance of any living thing. The trainer forces the horses to do without water for many days. Then he turns them loose and of course they start running toward the water, but just as they get to the edge, ready to plunge in and drink, the trainer blows his whistle. The horses who have been completely trained and who have learned perfect obedience, stop. They turn around and come pacing back to the trainer. They stand there quivering, wanting water, but they wait in perfect obedience. When the trainer is sure that he has their obedience he gives them a signal to go back to drink. Now this may be severe but when you are on the trackless desert of Arabia and your life is entrusted to a horse, you had better have a trained obedient horse. This is the level of obedience that we see from Esther to Mordecai.
A. Vs. 2:10 - Did not reveal her heritage in obedience to Mordecai.
B. Vs. 2:15 - Followed Hegai’s advice when she went before the king.
C. Vs. 2:20 - Obedient to Mordecai even after she became queen.
III. Faithful, Loyal, Committed
A. To her king - Gave credit to Mordecai - Vss. 2:21-23
B. To her people
1. Haman’s plot - Kill all the Jews - Vs. 3:6
2. King’s decree - Vs. 3:13
3. Moredcai informs Esther - Vss. 4:1-9
4. Esther’s reply - “I can’t help.” - Vss. 4:1-9
5. Mordecai’s response - “You can’t escape. You are queen for a reason - Vss. 4:13-14
6. Esther’s reply - Vs. 4:16