Summary: 1. We need leaders who love the Lord (1-4). 2. We should avoid the dangers of alcohol (5-11). 3. We should risk doing the right thing (12-15 &19). 4. We have the right plan for family problems (15-20). 5. We’ve found the King worth following (21).
For Such a Time as This
Esther 1:1-22 (Reading vs. 1-12)
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 20, 2012
*For such a time as this. Many of us know Esther as a favorite Bible story, a story of taking a stand to do the right thing, a story of God taking care of His people. And as we begin to take a look at Esther, it’s good to know some of the background.
*The events in this book took place almost 500 years before the birth of Christ. The Jews had begun to return home after 70 years in Babylonian captivity.
*Bruce Wilkinson tells us that the story of Esther’s life fits between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra, between the first return led by Zerubbabel and the second return led by Ezra. So the Book of Ezra deals primarily with the restoration of the Jewish people after the Exile, Nehemiah deals with their physical and spiritual reconstruction, and Esther deals with their preservation.
*Esther is a most dramatic story with unexpected twists and turns. . . It is still read on the Feast of Purim. . . It provides the only biblical portrait of the vast majority of Jews who choose to remain in Persia rather than return to Palestine after the Exile. . . Not all of the godly people left. Some did not return to Israel for legitimate reasons, but most were disobedient in staying in Persia. Nevertheless, God continued to care for His people in voluntary exile. (1)
*God’s hand of providence and protection on behalf of His people is evident throughout the book, though His name does not appear even once. Though the name of God is not in Esther, -- His finger is. (2)
*Well, what in the world does all of this have to do with us?
-We will see that it has a lot to do with us.
-In this passage of Scripture, God gives us 5 lessons as timely as today.
1. The first lesson is that we need leaders who love the Lord.
*Vs. 1-4 remind us of this crucial truth:
1. Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus (this was the Ahasuerus who reigned over 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia),
2. in those days when King Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the citadel,
3. that in the third year of his reign he made a feast for all his officials and servants -- the powers of Persia and Media, the nobles, and the princes of the provinces being before him.
4. when he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the splendor of his excellent majesty for many days, one hundred and eighty days in all.
*We need Godly leaders. But Ahasuerus (also known as Xerxes) comes across as ungodly here. He seems extravagant and vain in vs. 4, by showing the riches of his glorious kingdom and splendor of his excellent majesty for 180 days!
*I wonder how much money was wasted on this lavish feast. Where did he get the money? -- As we look at the governmental leaders in this book we see a huge problem with greed and corruption, waste and extravagance.
*It reminds me of the ongoing GSA Scandal about the big party they threw out in Vegas that cost over $800,000. (3)
*We could talk all night about the scandals of the Obama administration. Much of it has been covered up, but there is no way to cover up what the President did on May 9th. That was the day that President Obama had an interview with ABC News to announce his support of legalizing same-sex marriage. (4)
*We don’t have time to go into great detail about homosexuality tonight, but here are a few important truths:
-All of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
-None of us chooses how we are tempted, but all of us can choose how to respond to temptation.
-And Jesus came to set the captives free! (Isaiah 61:1)
*But when it comes to whether or not homosexuality (or anything else) is right or wrong, here is the bottom line: We can never say that something is right, if God says it is wrong. And God does say that homosexuality is wrong, both in the Old Testament and the New. (Romans 1 gives a clear example.)
*And we need Godly leaders in our country! From the top of our courts to the mayors of our cities, pray for Godly leaders.
*God shows us here that we need leaders who love the Lord.
2. The next lesson is that we should avoid the dangers of alcohol.
*We find this lesson in vs. 5-11, where they continued to party for 7 more days. It was a lavish feast with much drinking, so vs. 7 says: “They served drinks in golden vessels, each vessel being different from the other, with royal wine in abundance, according to the generosity of the king.”