Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Like Esther learn how you can take a risk and do something for God

Message for Sunday March 18/01

Ester, the woman who saved a nation

I saw an interesting news item on Good Morning America this week. A young man by the name of Keith Waters was wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit & was sent to prison for 20 years. His sister, Judy, a high school dropout went back to school, got her law degree & then spent as much time as she could investigating & reviewing her brother’s case. The day came when they found the evidence that proved her brother was not guilty. This past week Keith was released from prison. This woman saved her brother’s life. She has become a hero to her brother.

I think all of us at one time or another dream of doing something big that will get us a lot of attention & make us heroes. We all want to be heroes. We all want to do the right thing. But doing the right thing is sometimes a difficult task or feat.

There is a book in the Bible that some theologians think should not be there. Not once is the name of God, Jehovah, Lord mentioned in its pages. But it is a story of how one person made the difference between life & death. Esther was an orphaned Jewish girl who because of her beauty & grace became queen of Persia or what is now Iraq. Because of the prejudice of one man, Haman, the entire Jewish nation faced extinction. Esther’s cousin Mordecai begged Esther to do something. Let’s open our Bibles to Esther 4:12 & read what was said:

Esther 4:12-16 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

For a long time Esther was an obedient, young woman to her cousin Mordecai. When her parents died Mordecai took her in & cared for her. When King Xexres was looking for a new queen, Esther listened to her cousin on how to win the king’s favor. When Mordecai found out a plot to assassin the king, he told Queen Esther who warned the king. But when Mordecai found out that Haman wanted to destroy the Jewish nation & begged Queen Esther to help, she grew afraid. Because no one in the royal palace knew her true identity. No one knew that she was a Jew. Mordecai was asking for her to do something very risky. Everyone knew that if any man or woman who approached the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that he be put to death. The only exception to this is for the king to extend the gold scepter to him and spare his life. And it has been thirty days since Esther was called to go to the king. For this reason Esther was afraid to approach the king lest he become angry & have her executed.

Sometimes when we want to do the right thing & help someone, it is risky. When I was in El Salvador I was taught to be careful how to approach people who were in need of help. Trying to help someone in El Salvador could cost me my life. The person could think I was trying to take advantage of them in some way. They in turn would fight to defend themselves.

I have heard of people who do not know how to swim diving in to try & save a child. People running into burning buildings to save people. People want to help others. But sometimes it could be risky. Esther wanted to help her people but she was afraid to get involved. Mordecai had to say some things that would help change her mind. Mordecai had to encourage her to get involved. To take a risk. To save herself & her family. Even though Mordecai never mentioned God, he reminded Esther that she was in a place of position where she could make a difference. Each of us in some time of our lives God places us in a position where we can help someone. Someone once told me, “Mike, bloom where you are planted.” This means I must allow God to use me as He has called me to be. I must grow, be fruitful. I must shine the light of God’s love & grace.

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